PRESS

QUOTES:


“Cynthia Sayer is a rarity; a woman who plays banjo with drive and virtuosity.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES

"She's pushing the four-string banjo into new, uncharted territory."
FRETBOARD JOURNAL

"Sayer is considered to be among a small group at the top of the jazz banjo world."
CHICAGO TRIBUNE

"Sayer is not only one of the best banjo players around, she's also a sincere vocalist who effectively puts across songs."
NEW YORK POST

“She takes us into places where you’d never expect the banjo to be admitted and makes herself completely at home.”
DICK HYMAN, NEA Jazz Master

“Some of [the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest 2017’s] best moments...Cynthia Sayer and her Joyride Quartet was a fresh breeze.  Power banjo and tango on banjo, very cool..”
OFFBEAT

"A dazzling evening, a capacity crowd... Nobody wanted it to end."
GUARDIAN NEWS (England)

"She can really play. It's nice to see somebody with such a fresh approach."
MARIAN McPARTLAND

"Pioneering musician introduces hot jazz to China...The audience gushed about how much they enjoyed her show."
GLOBAL TIMES (China)

"Breaking the mold is New Jersey-born Cynthia Sayer who plays hot, swinging jazz on the plectrum banjo and performed with Woody Allen's band."
PBS ARTS

"Jazz just doesn't sound the way it used to. Cynthia is out to reclaim the banjo's place in the genre."
SOUNDCHECK, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

"Her approach is to bring it alive in a fresh, modern way."
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH (Australia)

"Cynthia is a knowledgeable and fantastic musician."
WOODY ALLEN

"Nothing and nobody compares to Cynthia Sayer ... The concert hall went wild. The audience cheered her as a star."
SÄCHSISCHE ZEITUNG (Germany)

"The American banjoist Cynthia Sayer was one of the great attractions of the festival."
DE STEM (Holland)

"Cynthia Sayer almost made the applause meter explode ... Her swingy playing catches you from the start, and her sense of showmanship is present at every second."
LA DÉPECHE (France)

"One of the best jazz banjo players in the world."
THE GOLD COAST BULLETIN (Australia)

"And then she was there, the one everyone was waiting for ... the lady from America with unbelievable finger and speed mastery on the strings."
NORDERSTEDTER ANZEIGER (Germany)

"Cynthia Sayer [is] the superstar of jazz banjo."
LA BROYE (Switzerland )

"Cynthia Sayer bewitched the public."
NORDERSTEDTER ZEITUNG (Germany)

"The audience loved the concert, gave them a standing ovation and stamped for an encore. Her music is always of the highest caliber..... The audience left smiling and raving. It was perfect."
CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION (Marty Merkley, Director of Programming)

"Cynthia Sayer's performance was remarkable... The entire audience fell in love."
ODESSA NEWS (Ukraine)

"The highest point of the festivals was the New Yorker Cynthia Sayer."
GOTTINER TAGEBLATT (Germany)

“Banjo Bravo… A whirlwind of pure jazz joy.”
SARASOTA OBSERVER

"One of the most respected banjoists in jazz ... a master entertainer."
THE AMERICAN RAG

"One of the best musicians on the banjo."
MELODY MAGAZINE (Czech Republic)

"An unbelievable inspiration."
WESERKURIER (Germany)

"A true jazz-woman."
LE BULLETIN DU HOT CLUB DE FRANCE (France)

"Cynthia has great tone and touch and a scorching solo style."
FRETS MAGAZINE

"Sayer displays the creativity, diversity and originality that continues to define her as a unique musical identity."
ALLFRETS MAGAZINE

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FAQ:

Photo by sgpond.com

8 THINGS YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BANJO:

  • The banjo is an indigenous American instrument.
  • The banjo was wildly popular in jazz until about 1934, when the guitar came into fashion.   
  • The banjo evolved from gourd instruments brought over by Africans who were captured for slavery. 
  • It was once commonplace for white women to play banjo as parlor entertainment for their guests.    
  • In the late 1800s, there was an effort to “elevate” the lowly image of the banjo by playing classical music on it.
  • Early banjo strings were often made from catgut – i.e. sheep or goat intestines, not kitties.
  • There are huge bass banjos, standing as tall as a string bass, overgrown-looking cello banjos, and even tiny piccolo banjos.
  • If you played in a banjo orchestra or banjo club in 1890, then you were extremely cool. 
ALL ABOUT MY BANJO:

My main banjo is an Ome Juggernaut Standard Jazz model, with engraved black chrome, made from curly maple. It is a 4-string plectrum banjo (a different creature from a 5-string or tenor banjo).

The beautiful armrest on my banjo was made for me in Germany by Norbert Pietsch.

I also have another Ome Juggernaut Standard Jazz plectrum, made from mahogany. It came with nickel plating, but I added gold hooks and a gold armrest so now it has a nice two-tone look. 

Tuning:
I use standard plectrum tuning:  C-G-B-D (low to high)

Resonator: 


Though my banjos look like open back models, they’re not -- each has a clear plexiglass resonator.  They originally had wood resonators and metal flanges, which I removed to make them a bit lighter and smaller, a better fit for me.  The plexiglass resonator sits on 4 small plexiglass legs that keep it about ½” from the rim. 

Strings:
I use ball-end strings because I find them faster to change than loop-ends if I break one while performing.  My banjo tailpiece accepts both ball-end and loop-end strings, as is common.

My gages are: .012, .015, .020w, .028w.  w = wound.  I prefer to order bunches of strings by the gages, not by the pack, since I don’t use them up evenly.  
    
Pick:
I use Blue Chip picks, the TD 40 with a “speed bevel.”  I think they are fabulous.  I used to use Tortex 1mm picks (the blue ones) – also good.   

Pick-up:
I finally found a pickup that has the natural acoustic sound and response that I want – The Realist by David Gage.  This is the best banjo pickup I have ever heard on my banjo.  I’m not saying this because they asked me to endorse … I would use it no matter what.