Cynthia Sayer – banjo, vocals, arrangements
Charlie Giordano – accordion
Mauro Battisti – string bass
Larry Eagle – percussion
Sara Caswell – violin
Adrian Cunningham – clarinet
Jon Herington – electric guitar
Randy Sandke – trumpet
Scott Robinson – tenor sax & tarogato,
Marcus Rojas – tuba
Mike Weatherly – string bass & backup vocals
Cynthia Sayer, the internationally celebrated banjo player and vocalist praised for her “drive and virtuosity” by the New York Times and 10+ years performing in Woody Allen’s New Orleans jazz band, has confirmed the release of JOYRIDE, her first album in five years. Fretboard Journal describes the album as “pushing the four-string banjo into new, uncharted territory.” Downbeat Magazine says “Sayer’s singing is as nuanced as her banjo playing, [which] makes Joyride sparkle with energy.”
Inspiration for the groundbreaking project came from Sayer’s unlikely 2011 introduction to featured accordionist Charlie Giordano, a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. “When I met Charlie,” Sayer recalls, “our styles struck me as a perfect fit. The banjo-accordion sound is incredibly cool.” Sayer’s singular & striking arrangements show off the rest of her top-tier personnel. Tracks include two originals, jazz standards, tango, blues, roots, and favorites from the Great American Songbook.
The album opener, Sayer’s “Banjo Blues,” is a cheeky rebuke to banjo stereotypes and sets the tone for the album. Song selections cover a wide range of jazz styles and musical eras, all delivered with an unmistakably current sensibility. Cynthia single-handedly connects us to the unexpected versatility and power of the 4-string banjo.
SPECIAL RESERVICE: May 7, 2013
Artist: CYNTHIA SAYER
Label: Plunk Records
UPC Code: 884501795333
Release Date: Jan 22, 2013
Track listing, track times and composer:
1. Banjo Blues 3:13 (Cynthia Sayer)
2. Move It On Over 3:24 (Hank Williams)
3. I Get Ideas (Adios Muchachos) 4:44 (Sanders & Cochran)
4. Ella Miriam’s Blues 3:45 (Andy Statman)
5. You Talk Too Much 3:05 (Cynthia Sayer)
6. The Man On The Flying Trapeze 5:06 (Leybourne & Lyle,
alt. lyrics by Cynthia Sayer)
7. I Love Paris 4:11 (Cole Porter)
8. Getting To Know You 4:00 (Rodgers & Hammerstein II)
9. El Irresistible 3:30 (L.Logatti)
10. Goody Goody 3:44 (Malneck & Mercer)
11. Honey 3:25 (Simons, Gillespie, & Whiting)
12. Under The Bamboo Tree 3:05 (Cole & Johnson)
13. When You Wish Upon A Star 4:23 (Harline & Washington)
Artist’s Home Market: USA
About Cynthia Sayer
Cynthia Sayer is regarded as one of the top 4-string banjoists in the world today. A member of Woody Allen’s jazz band for over 10 years, Cynthia’s solo career has taken her well beyond these New Orleans roots to become an internationally acclaimed bandleader and guest artist. She has a unique and expansive approach to the instrument which is all her own, and she is also a dynamic vocalist and engaging performer. Her eclectic repertoire ranges from swing and hot jazz to tango, western, classical, and more.
Sayer has worked with a variety of leading jazz and popular artists such as Bucky Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Wynton Marsalis, Marian McPartland, Bill Cosby, Les Paul, Warren Vaché, Wycliffe Gordon, Milt Hinton, Marvin Hamlisch, John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), and many others. She has also played with top bluegrass/roots/country artists, including Andy Statman, Tony Trischka, Eric Weissberg, Mike Marshall, Odetta, and John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band).
Cynthia began playing the banjo at age 13, when, after begging her parents for a drum set, she one day discovered a banjo on her bed, clearly intended as a more peaceful substitute. Years later, after Cynthia chose the banjo over law school, her banjo teacher, Patty Fischer, would apologize to Cynthia’s mother whenever they crossed paths at the local grocery store. Her mother always kindly reassured the woman that it wasn’t her fault: Cynthia was bound to find her way into music one way or the other.
Cynthia’s extensive career includes performances in New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, playing for two U.S. Presidents (once at the White House), appearing with The New York Philharmonic, feature film and TV soundtracks, TV commercials, radio jingles, and numerous national TV and radio show appearances in the USA and abroad. She was filmed for the 2011 PBS TV documentary “Give Me The Banjo.” On the lighter side, she is the subject of a Trivial Pursuit game question and was the official banjoist for the New York Yankees. Sayer appears at music festivals in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Cynthia’s performances and recordings have accumulated numerous awards and honors, including induction into the National Banjo Hall of Fame. Upcoming national broadcasts include NPR’s “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz,” airing next month, and “Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour.”
Cynthia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ithaca College. She endorses Ome Banjos, GHS Strings, Blue Chip Picks, and The Realist Banjo Pickups by David Gage.
Upcoming Live Appearances
Fri & Sat, May 10 & 11: NYC
Knickerbocker Bar & Grill, 33 University Place, NYC. (212)228-8490. Music starts at 9:45 PM. With: Jon Weber (piano).
Sat, May 18: NYC
Taste Of Tribeca, Noon – 3:PM, FREE! Outdoor fair, stage location & further info TBA. Fundraiser for Tribeca public schools, music sponsored by City Winery. With Cynthia Sayer’s Sparks Fly Quartet: Adrian Cunningham (clarinet/sax), Jim Whitney (string bass), Larry Eagle (drums).
Sun, May 19: Madison, NJ
Shanghai Jazz, 24 Main Street, Madison, NJ. “Jazz Social” Music + Q&A. 1:00 – 3:30 PM, $10. With: Conal Fowkes (piano). Sponsored by the Jersey Jazz Society. 973-822-2899.
Fri, June 21: Brooklyn
Barbes, with The Ghost Train Orchestra, 376 9th St., Brooklyn, NY. 10:00 PM.
Thurs – Sat, Aug 1-3: Mansfield, MA
Headliner for All Frets 2013 Convention. Holiday Inn Mansfield, MA. For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thurs – Sat, Aug 1-3: Mansfield, MA
Jazz Banjo/Fretted Instrument Jazz Workshop, Noon – 2:PM, $50. Holiday Inn, Mansfield, MA. Email Cynthia for further info.
Fri & Sat, Aug 9 & 10: NYC
Knickerbocker Bar & Grill, 33 University Place, NYC. (212)228-8490. Music starts at 9:45. With: Conal Fowkes (piano).
Tues, Aug 13: NYC
City Winery’s “First Annual Picking & Strumming Fest” behind City Winery at 155 Varick Street btw Vandam and Spring Street. FREE! 5:30 – 7:15 PM. Headliners: Cynthia Sayer, Michael Daves, Tony Trischka, & Andy Statman. Part of the Annual Hudson Square Music and Wine Festival.