Saturday, August 09, 2014

The New England Jazz Banjofest

The New England Jazz Banjofest is coming up fast— October 24-26, 2014.  The same

terrific hotel, good room prices, and great banjo jazz music.  What more could anyone want !

 Here is a link to the website with all the details.

We have recently posted links to videos from the last few years.

Hope to see you there.

Allen and Alice

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Banjo in Japan

On tour in Japan.

March 2014 I flew from Heathrow to Narita, Tokyo with my wife Miyuki and our daughter Kiki to introduce our little girl to Japan. It was my forth trip to Japan and each time I have played banjo concerts each time there. I have found the Japanese banjo scene to be very lively and of a high playing standard and always enjoy meeting my fellow banjo players there. My daughter was also going to meet her Japanese Grand Parents for the first time.

My initial concert was organized and shared with the Banjo Stompers of Tokyo, led by Hiroyuki Hasebe. The concert was held in Shibuya, Tokyo at the Back in Town club. They are musically tight, rehearsed and smart and they put on a really entertaining show with plectrum and tenor banjos backed with drums, tuba and washboard. It is easy to find yourself drawn into the fun the band creates on stage and musically it is really very high standard with good arrangements holding the program together. A good “on monitor stage” sound system also helped me perform as I was using my backing tracks to present my one man show at this one. It is customary after such an evening for a trip to the local Izakaya, (Japanese version of a Tapas bar) and this rounded things off nicely.

Next on the list was a lobby concert for Sakura town hall, 45 minutes playing solo (with my backing tracks) for lunchtime. My Father in law, Yasuhiko san had organized this one for me and it was also filmed and shown on local cable TV. It was lovely to have my Japanese family along to this one. It was also another opportunity for my limited Japanese language to get a try out on stage. I can at least introduce things, all be it in brief phrases. Playing for the general public on this concert once again demonstrated the attraction of the music of the 20s and 30s and the fun that can be had playing it on the banjo.

Yasuhiko had also been busy fixing a job for me at a graduation party for senior students of a university and we travelled to Narita Mercure hotel to entertain the graduates after a splendid lunch, Japanese style. I enjoy Japanese food very much and the buffet style lunch was only limited to time and appetite. Delicious and well worth the trip for that alone. Once again my wife and daughter were able to attend my concert and Kiki is showing signs of becoming a star in her own right by joining me on stage and dancing to the music, quite charming. The students were extremely enthusiastic and joined in the singing and frivolity by requesting an encore of “When the Saints Go Marching In” and buying plenty of my CDs after the event.

One of the many highlights of the trip was to be invited to play at the first Tokyo Banjo Festival which was put together by Hiro Hasebe and virtuoso banjo player Ken Aoki. Ken is among the best banjo players in the world in this genre and it was a real pleasure to listen to the Banjo Stompers, a trio called The Pietsch Banjos (who play matching Pietsch banjos) and Ken before I doing my 40 minute set. The location was in Shibuya, central Tokyo, at a large up market restaurant called Tokyo Main Dining to a capacity audience. The finale and smiling faces of the audience, musicians and restaurant staff hopefully secures this an annual event. It was interesting to see the demographics of the audience who are generally a little younger than European and American counterparts and a fair smattering of younger faces makes the future a little brighter for this style of entertainment.

Ken Aoki had also invited me to join him for another of his Banjo on Stage shows in Nagoyama and after a 40 kilometer journey in heavy Saturday traffic, Yasukio, Tomie (my mother in law) and myself arrived at the civic hall for an afternoon of rehearsal before the start of the concert at 1800. Although it was Ken’s show, he had another job to play in the afternoon and would arrive later to finalize the show. The backing musicians of Masato Kobiashi, Hajime on piano and Hiro on drums made life easy for me as they all read the arrangements I had brought along with no problems. Showtime and Ken played three tunes before inviting me on stage to join the show. American Patrol, Mr. Sandman, Dream a little dream of me and into some extremely creative playing of ragtime, novelties and ending the first half with Chick Corea’s “Spain”. After the concert Ken and I were busy signing CDs for the audience and it is amazing that although we both speak little of each other’s language, music breaks those barriers down. A truly memorable evening and thanks to Ken san for including me.

Next it was off to the middle of Japan for a concert organized by professional clown and excellent tenor banjo player Mashu in his home town of Iida. An early start into central Tokyo meant a packed train from Sakura and I met with Mr Najima en route at a Tokyo subway platform, before heading to Hasebe-sans house for early breakfast and then on the road for 3 hours to the venue. From Tokyo the countryside changes to mountains and it is a little cooler there. Upon arriving we meet Mashu and his committee who greeted us warmly. I have learned that a Japanese stage performance is rehearsed to the very last detail and this was no different. Hiro, Mashu, Mr Najima and Gin performed as “The Pietsch Boys”, featuring banjos made by Germany’s Norbert Pietsch. They played a very good set opening with Billboard March, Blue Room, Lollipops, Flight of the Bumble Bee (Mashu has entered the realms of virtuosity with this piece) before introducing me on stage to play a forty minute show and rounding with all the musicians for an encore. The show was a big success and sold out to a very enthusiastic audience. An early rise for a wonderful day of lunch time Soba noodles, a hot spring bath, a visit to the mountains for breath taking views and back to Iida, on to Tokyo to drop the guys and finally to Sakura.

Two days recording with top player Ken Aoki in Tokyo produced some excellent duel banjo tunes of which I am very proud. To be able to communicate with music when language is difficult is one of the most amazing experiences. The CD is a “work in progress” and should be ready later this year.

My final concerts were for Harley Davidson Motorcycles in Chiba and Narita City who thought it would be a nice opportunity to tie in American music with American motorbikes and have a lobby concert in the showrooms. To be surrounded by so much chrome and great looking machines is different to the usual concert room and was a great setting for my show. I have never been a biker but these are more than simply machines, they are works of art.

My sincere thanks to Hiroyuki Hasabe and the Banjo Stompers of Tokyo, Mashu, Ken Aoki and my many friends in Japan for an opportunity to perform so many fantastic concerts to such lovely, appreciative people. Arigato (thanks) and Kampai (cheers)!!!

Sean Moyses.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jazz Banjo Live!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Very Best Of Sean Moyses - a new compilation CD is for sale and download

To celebrate my return to the United Kingdom with my family I have released a selection of some of my favourite tracks from the start of my solo recording career over the last fourteen years. The CD is for sale via my website or and available to download from all major digital platforms. I'm very happy to have such a nice bunch of tunes and I am in debt and honour to the many musicians, past and present, who have appeared on my recordings and their contribution to helping me to achieve my dream of playing banjo for a living and appearing all over the world is immense.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Eddie Peabody has a new CD out!!!

Banjo Boogie Beat", Eddie Peabody Double CD, Jasmine records 762 Released December 9, 2013.

To my delight I am able to review a "new" CD offering by "The King Of The Banjo", Eddie Peabody, who has at last been included on a modern CD label. "Banjo Boogie Beat" is a double CD of Eddie’s DOT albums "The Man With The Banjo", "When You’re Smiling" "Me And My Banjo" and ""Favourites By Mr. Banjo Himself". The albums, originally recorded from 1955 onwards, kick off with Eddie’s signature "St. Louis Blues" and to my relief the original acoustic sound of the recording have not been tweaked or tampered with by the digital transfer process. I have all of these albums on LP vinyl but it certainly is nice to have these without surface noise, without having to keep changing over sides and with the benefit of modern CD playback quality.

Eddie was on top of his musical game in the 50’s and was, unlike many of his 1920’s Vaudeville contemporaries, still earning a good living entertaining live audiences, doing TV and Radio shows and churning out album after album for DOT. His Electric Banjoline also makes appearances on this album and it is notable that the backing musicians are playing in (1950’s) "pop" style, rather than trying to recreate the sounds of the 1920’s and 30’s so one could guess that either Eddie, or the record producer, was also aiming at the modern market of the day rather than retro nostalgia. When one thinks that Elvis was making his first records in the mid 1950’s it is interesting to listen to the sounds of the day that they both embraced – for example lots of echo on the lead voice/instrument, a heavy back-beat snare drum, a Rock ‘n Roll style piano, incorporating electric instruments etc. For a man in his mid 50’s, Eddie was certainly trying to keep up with the music tastes of the day and his later albums of Latin rhythms and his "Smoothies" (what would become known as Easy Listening) was a quantum leap from his early recordings of the 1920’s with vocalist Arthur Hall!

I also noted that the sound of his banjos were slightly different on these albums. I’m guessing that his earlier album "Man With The Banjo" had a Vega Vox with a calf skin head and was set up a little differently to his later instruments, as he is playing cleanly with very little plectrum slap on the head. My personal favourite was "When Day Is Done", a favourite of Paul Whiteman, and which Eddie includes the beautiful verse. One thing that does become clear is that Eddie always clearly stating the melody. I remember Earl Scruggs saying in his book that his mother told him to always do the same when he played banjo.

Jasmine Records has included 52 titles on this double album and they must be applauded for offering this style of banjo to a modern audience. It takes money to produce such an album - and you never know where one of these re-issued tracks may end up to create a renaissance...a TV or Radio advertisement, background in a film score, a popular ringtone etc, stranger things have happened! In general it does present "our" style of banjo music to the general public who has very little idea of what a banjo without that fifth string actually sounds like.

Well done to producer Sam Hick and Jasmine Records for faith and investment in Eddie Peabody and his music.

(c) Sean Moyses, December 2013. and

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Banjo World comes to Norfolk Lodge.

I'm really enjoying my daytime solo show called "The Banjo World of Sean Moyses" which is aimed directly at care homes and more and more reservations keep coming in. This lovely picture was taken one morning last week at Norfolk Lodge, Hunstanton where the staff treated me very well and had a nice cup of coffee waiting. I did spy fish-fingers were being served for lunch, my favourite, but had to race off to do another two concerts that day. Next time.....!
Thanks to Shelley for you help!
Best wishes,

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Banjos ringing in Punta Gorda

Dear Banjo Associate


Attached is an information flyer designed for those musicians who wish to attend the 2014 Punta Gorda Banjo Bash, as a player or participant. The basic banjo theme for the Bash will be expanded to include Bluegrass, Dixieland and Jazz ensembles, provided banjos are used as a “main ingredient”.


The dates for the event are February 14 - 15,  2014. We have again contracted the Charlotte Harbor Event Center for performances and have also contracted the beautiful Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, located directly across the road from the event center.


The event will be managed by the Young Musicians Education Foundation Inc. The YMEF is a local 501(C)3 corporation with a dedicated mission to help youngsters that can't afford music lessons and/or instruments. All donations are completely tax deductible and corporate sponsors are always welcomed. Confirmed headliners are Tim Allan, Johnny Baier, the Myakka River Bluegrass Band, The Southwind Bluegrass Band and the All American Banjo Team. We will be contracting many more individuals and groups.


All registered participants, will enjoy free workshops, admission to all shows, venues and jam sessions. Please visit our web-site at to obtain detailed information.


It should be mentioned that foundation personnel or volunteers are not compensated for their time or their expenses. As such, all profits will go to the children and maintenance of the foundation. Thank you!


John Wildeman, President

Young Musicians Education Foundation



John Wildeman

30504 Holly Road

Punta Gorda, Fl 33982


Home 941-575-0244

Cell     941-916-4085

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pietsch Banjos on TV.

German banjo builder Norbert Pietsch was featured on TV recently. Here is the link to the 4 minute video, which was shown on German TV.

Friday, October 11, 2013

New England Jazz Banjofest update

New England Jazz Banjofest
A strange (good) thing just happened. Because of a cancellation at my hotel for the upcoming banjofest, they are offering a special room rate to attract customers.  They have lowered my room rate from $104 to $87.


Wednesday, October 09, 2013


SAVE THE DATES - JULY 16-19, 2014
Please mark your calendars and start planning to attend the ALL FRETS 2014 CONVENTION which will be held from July 16-19, 2014 at the Marriott East Hotel in Louisville, KY.  This brand new, four diamond hotel is perfect for our convention needs.  Ample meeting, jamming and concert space, free parking, free in-room internet, refrigerators in all rooms, and discounted breakfast buffet.  And, with over 100 nearby restaurants and many interesting attractions, there are many options for dining or exploring.  Best of all, Louisville is a a five hour or less drive for almost 80% of our membership and boasts a major airport for those traveling by air.  There are several fun and exciting tours in the planning stages as well.  Don't miss THE event of the year...ALL FRETS 2014 LOUISVILLE.  SEE YOU THERE! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New England Jazz Banjofest

Hi everyone,


We haven't been in touch for a while.  It is hard to believe we are almost into Fall and that means the

New England Jazz Banjofest isn't far away.


We have several important items to tell you all about.



We are really lucky this year.  Those who have come of the festival know that this is a terrific property at the current festival rate.  But, the hotel is running a special on rooms this fall.  They have offered us a reduced room rate of $87.  With this new price, how could anyone not want to come for the weekend?  


If you have already made your reservation (cutoff is date is October 17). the new rate will automatically be applied so you do not have to call the hotel.  If you haven't made a reservation yet, please be sure to mention the New England Jazz Banjofest when you make reservations.  This is really important because it is the credit for the rooms sold that defrays the costs helps us keep this festival free.


If you need a flyer to send to a friend or relative, you can get it here



Through the tireless efforts of Lynne Rock, we have posted some more videos from last year's festival.

Check them out.   




The NEJBF has been growing every year.  That itself is a feat in these days of economic turmoil and the declining number of banjo players.  Those of us who love this music are

to be credited for the festival's success. Get the word out.  Invite your friends and relatives to come by and see the shows.


We have even more activities planned for this year.  There is a great show lined up for the Friday night festival opener, two lobby sets on Friday afternoon and two more on Saturday morning, a workshop by Steve Caddick (recent Banjo Hall of Fame inductee) on Saturday morning, and a new format Sunday morning organized jam.


We are looking forward to seeing everyone on November 1st.



Allen and Alice

- - - - - - - - - - - 

see you at the New England Jazz Banjofest

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Banjo World of Sean Moyses meets Nigel "Boy" Syer!

Friends. I'm pleased to be promoting a show alongside a very funny chap called Nigel "Boy" Syer on November 23rd, 2013, at West Walton Village Hall, Cambs. Tickets are selling quickly so please get yours now by calling 01945 880959. The show starts at 20.00 and should be done by about 22.30. If you've not seen my solo show yet, here is your opportunity to hear some banjo music - and have a good laugh with Nigel too!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Peter Mezoian's Banjo Boot Camp.

Peter Mezoian, one of the best plectrum banjo players in the world is offering a banjo workshop over several days. This is a unique opportunity to learn from a top pro. Read on.....

We need six students to make it happen, as it is set
up as group lessons. The six week course would meet once a week for a 2 hour
lesson. Naturally, with the way my schedule can change, there are
possibilities for make up lessons, re-scheduling, and even doing this course
next semester (like February). Right now if we have enough students it would
start the week of September 30.
The intensive, 3-4 day 'banjo boot-camp' is an idea I've had for 2 years.
Preferably for students who have an intermediate - advance level of experience,
I think should be limited to 4 people, based on sleeping space at the camp, and
getting one on one level teaching, and practicing, and repeating of that process
to get the student truly immersed in a particular, focused concept of their
choice. This would be at my father's camp and not structured like a class
room, but more like my own world: eats, sleep, breath banjo for a few days to
really get motivated, focused and charged up again about banjo playing in
general, and your technical interests in particalar.
I'll let you know the response, and you can always call me. I'm around home
for awhile.
Thanks and hope to make this happen,

Monday, August 19, 2013

Banjo Weekend in the UK.

Attention UK banjo players!
There is a Banjo Weekend in Hitchin, Hertfordshire - 20-22 September, 2013 where the main subject is "Licks & Tricks" but any banjo subject can be requested during the weekend?

Contact the college direct or contact me if you have more questions.

Good luck. 

David Viscount Price A.L.C.M.
Exchange House


Tel: 01277 824 616 or 07885 423 393

Saturday, July 27, 2013

New England Jazz Banjofest - coming soon!!!




NOVEMBER 1-3, 2013


Doubletree Hotel

44 Middlesex Tpk, Bedford, MA  01730


ask for N.E. Jazz BanjoFest rate $104

(cutoff date 10/17)


                           Friday Night Opening Concert                     Continuous Jam Sessions
                           Saturday Afternoon Show                             Vendor Space Available


Info: Allen Padwa  508-754-7918;;







Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Punta Gorda Banjo Bash

Join us in beautiful SW FLORIDA for our FIFTH annual

Punta Gorda Banjo Bash

  ragtime            dixieland

         bluegrass             jazz

                                                                            presented by the

          Young Musicians Education Foundation


                   February 14th and 15th, 2014

  LODGING                              SHOWS

  Four Points By Sheraton                       Charlotte Harbor Event Center

   33 Tamiami Trail                                    75 Taylor Street

   Punta Gorda FL 33950                         Punta Gorda FL 33950

   (941) 637-6770                                     (941) 639-5833


·        100 blocked rooms at $134 per night. Please reserve early and mention “BANJO BASH” for the discounted rate until Jan.15, 2014.


·        Registration is $30 and $5 for an accompanying spouse or guest. This  permits admission to all shows, venues, workshops and jam sessions.


·        Registration forms for all participants and performers available at


·        Notable entrants include Tim Allan, Johnny Baier, Myakka River Bluegrass Band,

         Nathan Hanna, Mike Gentry, The All American Banjo Team, Naples Jazzmasters


·        Workshops will be scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Please email Mike Currao at, if you are interested in conducting a workshop.


·        All day jamming and rehearsal rooms will be available throughout the hotel.


·        Please direct any concerns or questions to the event chairman John Wildeman, at

866-422-2656 or


All profits will benefit national youth groups administered through the

Young Musicians Education Foundation, a local 501(c)3 organization

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Banjo in Bronnbach


Mit Jazz Open-Air war nichts am vergangenen Mittwoch in Bronnbach, wegen 
der schlechten Witterung.
Aber auch im Bernhardsaal kamen die zahlreich erschienenen Jazzfans 
ebenso voll auf ihre Kosten. Denn natürlich heizte die Band ordentlich ein.
Und was für eine Band! Sie präsentierte "Traditional Jazz", aber wie und 
mit welchen Musikern!
Zuerst Sean Moyses, zweifellos der Star des Abends, wohl einer der 
Besten überhaupt auf seinem Instrument, dem Banjo, war extra aus 
Cambridge angereist. Sein überaus anspruchsvolles, virtuoses Spiel und 
der lockere, von britischem Humor gewürzte Umgang mit dem Publikum, sein 
Kokettieren mit der deutschen Sprache, kamen bestens an. Allein schon 
mal seine Interpretation eines Ungarischen Tanzes von Johannes Brahms, 
sowas von hinreißend dynamisch filigran strukturiert und souverän 
serviert - die macht ihm so leicht keiner nach.
Mathias Grabisch aus Hamburg, der hinter seinem Sousaphon beinahe 
verschwand, sorgte dessen ungeachtet stellenweise für äußerst groteske, 
abgründig komische Laute, die das gesamte Programm burlesk aufmischten.
Und Jürgen Hahn, der das Konzert vornehmlich moderierte, wie Grabisch 
auch in Würzburg studiert hat, aber mittlerweile in Berlin lebt, 
brillierte als zupackender Trompeter voller Elan.
Als Gast kam der Würzburger Klarinettist Matthias Ernst hinzu, der 
dieses Konzert vermittelt hat. Er glänzte besonders mit seinem 
phantastischen Part in "Petit Fleur". Ohne Frage, ein großer Könner.
Wenn man bedenkt, dass diese Band in dieser Zusammensetzung noch nie 
aufgetreten ist, kann man nur staunen über das nahezu perfekte 
Zusammenspiel. Aber wie sagte Hahn: Da können wir in Südafrika sein oder 
sonstwo - das klappt immer.
Klassiker wie "When you`re smiling", "Wabash Blues", "Way down yonder in 
New Orleans" oder "Mr Sandmann", dazu noch auf diesem Niveau, lösten  
bei einem überwiegend in die Jahre gekommenen Publikum natürlich 
freudig-wehmütige Wiedererkennungseffekte aus. Und flapsige Anmerkungen, 
etwa zum "Royal Garden Blues", derart, dass vielleicht gerade die Queen 
mit ihren Hunden im selbigen "Garden" Kaffee trinken ginge, rundeten 
dieses sehr vergnügliche Jazzkonzert ab.
Wolf Wiechert

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Goin' Home.

Goin‘ Home


                                My yearly musings of gigs in Germany over the past twelve months conclude with my „end of year report“.  Different situations dictate changes in one’s life and I have long since learned that you have to change with them.  Sometimes when you just know it is time to do something different it simply means taking a deep breath and taking the plunge. After sixteen years in Germany, ten years in the same band, the financial crisis, changing audience demographics, marriage and fatherhood, I wanted to return to England.

The year began with a pub job with Rod Mason and his Hot Five in Neuss. I remember visiting the town with Bob Kerr and his Whoopee Band about twenty years ago to play at the week- long fair, the “Kirmes”. In those days a different jazz band played each night to over 300 people in the main marquee. A local band then decided to take all those nights, thereby reducing costs for the promoter. It backfired, the audience did not want it, stayed away and now the whole event is now just a memory. The pub job is a distant echo of those days, organised by the same guy. A similar job a few weeks later with the Hot Five was also another one I had done with Whoopee’s, in fact we once played for New Years Eve in the Storkshof jazz club near Dortmund. They too, like many others here now, struggle with getting customers through the door and one wonders “how long” before Euro and Fan collide.

My short time spent living in Denmark is now ten years in the past and to celebrate the event, Paul Harrison, the Yorkshire Clarinet-ist now living in Haderslev with his Danish wife Betina, invited me back for a short but gig packed tour. Paul and I have an instant musical rapore and it is always a lot of fun to be with him on stage. Denmark is a cool place in January (cool as in cold!) but to my delight I found that Paul lived near to an Indian restaurant, one of the very few in Denmark, so a good Vindaloo was just the thing. Flying from Germany to Denmark is a story itself. The game of “getting the instrument case of the ‘plane” is always a tough one. The Air Berlin check-in girl at Düsseldorf Airport told me to buy another seat for the instrument case (nearly two hundred Euros) and after asking to kindly speak to her superior she relented and said “well, check with the cabin crew if there is space onboard”. She was operating the knobs and dials on the computer to check people in - surely she should know these things?? Anyway, the case came on board and nobody said anything further.

              On the way back to Düsseldorf the instrument was passed through the security X-ray machine at Copenhagen Airport. The lady operating it said “Who owns the banjo?” Oh no, here we go again, “I do”, I replied. “My Dad used to play banjo, may I have a look at it?” she enquired. I opened the case and lifted my Pietsch MasterVox #7 ArtDeco  out. It is a stunning instrument, crafted by Norbert Pietsch in Bremen and has an ArtDeco dancer inlaid in the resonator, gold engraved metalwork, pearl, diamonds – it’s a real showpiece. She was equally impressed and explained that her Father (Jan) had a number one hit in the 1960’s with his brother (Kjeld) singing a tune called “Play a song little banjo boy”. I know this song, it is still popular in both Germany and Denmark, plus my hero George Formby had recorded it, in fact it was his very last recording. I promised to let her know next time I am in Denmark so she and her Dad could come along to see me play. I got a nice email a few days later saying she had told her Dad about the banjo and she had “Googled” me on the internet. It was nice to see the more human side of the security people at airports for a change.

                Rod Mason’s Hot Five have been making annual trips to the UK for as long as I’ve been in the band and what turned out to be the final such tour was a well planned and enjoyable trip. Ingrid, Rod’s wife and band manager, invested many hours making sure that as soon as Travelodge motels offered the “special price” they so often advertise-but seldom actually have- she was right there at the computer, credit card poised. Our concerts were mostly sold out and included Shipston on Stour, Plymouth, Hereford, Nottingham, Acle, Little Witley, Minehead, Carshalton, Wantage, Harlow, Wickham Bishop and three well organised jobs initiated by our clarinettist, Andy Leggett. I love playing to an English audience and having a chance to play my uke-banjo on a Formby number or two. I cannot do that in Germany, as George was not such a “hit” here in the Fatherland of the 1940’s!

          During the summer I had a couple of opportunities to do some more concerts with The Pasadena Roof Orchestra. I love their music, playing the arrangements and being part of a big 1920’s style dance orchestra. The management had organised a hotel room for me the night before the concert,  so I set off by train from Erkelenz, our local station, to Bern in Switzerland fully loaded with banjo case, guitar case and suitcase. The guys flew in from London the following day, having had an early start. From Bern we travelled to a small five star hotel in Thubingen, the Hotel La Casa. What a beautiful hotel, friendly and welcoming. It must be one of the nicest concerts I have had with the orchestra so far and even the 0500 start the next day for a mid-day job with the Hot Five in Solingen did not dull the experience.

         I had another chance to meet with the PRO guys in Berlin later in the year, this time to achieve a boyhood dream - singing and fronting the Pasadena Roof Orchestra. I have to say that in my twenty five years of playing professionally, this one job was the most probably one of the most rewarding. Duncan Galloway, the singing band leader/owner of the orchestra had a prior engagement and could not attend so this was my “try-out” as his understudy, live, no rehearsal, in front of a 600+ concert audience. After the first initial butterflies passed it was simply just a joy to be on stage. On the last job with them as banjo/guitar player in Ingoldstadt, Southern Germany, I met up with Ian Bateman, who was in the trombone seat. Ian is a top musician who adapts to almost any style brilliantly and was also with Rod Mason’s Hot Five 20 years ago. He now runs his Bateman Brother band.

                A special treat this year was to be invited over to the AllFrets Annual Convention in St. Louis, USA. The extra added bonus was that George Peabody, son of my banjo hero, the late, great Eddie Peabody, had agreed to attend. Flying from Frankfurt to Dallas and then on to St. Louis was stressful. The inefficient check-in system for American Airlines (even though I was two hours early and had checked in online) meant that, unbeknown to me, my suitcase did not make the flight. Coupled with having to transfer it yourself to the connecting flight at Dallas and waiting for a bag that was not there - I only just made the St. Louis flight by the skin of my teeth. Once at the hotel I had only my banjo as luggage but they had a back-up plan for such moments, so at least I could keep fresh and clean. The case turned up two days later. The standard of playing was extremely high and it was great to be re-united with some friends I had previously made on earlier trips to the States. George Peabody was a member of the audience during a special programme  I was very honoured to be part of, “The Peabody Parade”, during which friends, students and fans of the great man presented a half hour special. It was quite an emotional moment when he entered the stage and spoke about his Dad who has been gone now 42 years. Before I left I got him to sign the inside of my VegaVox 4, one that Eddie had once owned. I also got to play on a riverboat on the Mississippi. Very memorable.

                Another excellent Trombonist whom I have known and often worked for since I first moved to Germany is Joe Wulf. His band “The Gentlemen of Swing”, are mainly younger guys, all top readers and fun to be around. Joe is a real grafter for work, has a very uplifting positive outlook and his terrific band is one to watch in future. As one of “The Gentlemen” I did several memorable concerts this year including St. Goar, Remagen (just behind that remains of that famous bridge), Mayern and an overnight drive to Dresden. That one was my fault.  Sometimes a late night after a gig and then early morning start with very little sleep between just happens. The job was a wedding reception in a castle overlooking the city and was welcoming, relaxed and bathed in sunshine. We had the bass player from the Dutch Swing College Band on that job, Adrie Braat chatting about the DSC and the plan to keep the band’s name alive in the future by nurturing young Dutch jazz talent. Jazz has a future and is fun to play but it needs forward thinking or it will die out when the older generation wants to pass the mantel on - someone has to grasp that mantel. The night was rounded off by a huge firework display for the wedding guests, not the first big bangs and flashes have been seen in Dresden.

                November was life changing month for me. I finally married my sweetheart Miyuki. That was not an easy bureaucratic procedure here as we have both be married before, she is Japanese, I’m English - and we live in Germany. Everything needed translating and of course the famous German “Ordnung muß sein”. The close examination of each single word by the authorities delayed our wedding plans by six months, meaning we received our most wonderful wedding present, our beautiful daughter Kiki Mae Moyses, just a few weeks later.

The usual end of year concerts playing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and similar crowd pleasing nonsense in Kevelaer, Menden, Neukirchen, Moers, Duisburg and Düsseldorf were briefly interrupted by Ralf Wagemann’s excellent European Top 6 Concert in Gelsenkirchen. Taking part was another brilliant musician to watch for, Nils Conrad, who has styled his drum technique on the late, great Huub Jansen. Nils is fun to watch playing and is a really excellent drummer. We rounded our year out in Werne and a very long journey to Potsdam.

And so back home to England. I shall be actively looking for as many gigs as possible and it will not be easy starting over again but I have a nice solo show which is affordable for almost any club and I will enjoy playing music with my English colleagues. To my many music friends in Germany and especially my colleagues in Rod Mason’s Hot Five I say “Dankeshön und Tschuß”, thanks for the memorable times and companionship on the road. It has been a great experience but all good things come to an end. I return to England with an open calendar so if you can help me by offering me a gig, please get in touch!  I look forward to meeting you along the way. It’s nice to be home.

Sean Moyses, 2012.


Friday, February 22, 2013

BMG Magazine and Radio BMG goes online!

BMG Magazine and Radio BMG goes online!

In March, after seventeen years of playing banjo for a living in Germany I finally said goodbye. When I first moved there in 1996 I had an abundant amount of work as a professional banjo player and I was working with the numerous jazz groups around Düsseldorf and Cologne. The first job I landed was three solid weeks, playing eight hours a day in the Cologne Exhibition Halls (Köln Messe) at a staggering rate of pay. It was an eight piece band and money seemed no object to the booker. I thought I had landed in banjo heaven! One of the world’s leading authorities on all things banjo, Günther Amend, was about a quarter of an hour away from where I lived and the group he organised, Düsseldorf Banjo Club, met every Tuesday. They were enthusiastic and welcomed me with open arms. There were three jazz pubs in Düsseldorf and once I had learned a little bit of Deutsche other bands called from out of town. The amount of sixty-fifth birthday parties I played at were a sign of things to come though. Fast forward seventeen years - party jobs with Dixieland music are rare. Those same people I played for in the late 1990’s are (to put things politely) advanced in age and, like the song, “Don’t get around much anymore”. All things change of course and we decided that it was time for us to change too - and head back to my native England.

When one door closes another opens - enter Clem Vickery and the Clifford Essex Music Company. Clem was an employee of the original Clifford Essex firm in the 1960’s. They had been in business since 1904, founded by Mr. Clifford Essex, a famous banjo player of the Victorian era but had ceased to trade in the early 1970’s. After a thirty year sleep over Clem re-started the company and the publication it produced, BMG Magazine (the oldest fretted musical instrument publication in the world) and both the company and magazine are going from strength to strength. The other specialist banjo publications in England were now sadly defunct- Julian Vincent’s “Banjo Broadsheet” and David Price’s “Banjo Times” are regretfully gone, so BMG Magazine now stands alone in our specialist musical corner. The magazine is published four times a year and is also offered by e-mail in digital pdf. file version, offering a full colour copy for a bargain price of ten British Pounds per year.

 I am flattered and proud to have been asked to work for the Clifford Essex team. The first thing I did was launch a dedicated website for BMG Magazine. The internet is vital to our survival and on we offer a comprehensive platform for Banjo, Mandolin, Guitar and kindred fretted instrument fans.  Among the links on the website are back-copies to be purchased, a list of teachers, news, a chat-group forum, a picture gallery, videos, advertisements, artistes for hire and a link to the next project I had in mind - a dedicated internet radio station called Radio BMG. We also have a page on the world’s biggest social media site, Facebook. This is linked via the webpage and we plan to take advantage of all new technology to keep up to date and be in contact with both seasoned players and newcomers to the world of acoustic fretted instruments. Young and up-coming enthusiasts of acoustic stringed instruments say that a paper magazine is something that belongs to the past and that Facebook is now equally, if not more important than a website as it can be updated by our members all the time and information is instantly transported across the world. Like it or not, we move with the times.

Radio BMG is “work in progress” with music being added to the playlist all the time. It functions rather like a juke-box. Random selection of music files are picked for a playlist and broadcasts twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, so you can always be sure of finding BMG music whenever you fancy tuning in. If you wish to hear a particular piece of music or would like your recording played simply send me a CD to the main office Radio BMG, c/o Clifford Essex,  7 Rose Walk, Fakenham, NR 21 7QG (England). We are also offering advertising at affordable rates and also offer to produce your audio advertisement. The link to the radio station, which operates on the live365 platform, is via . If you wish to email an MP3 file please drop me a line first. Be sure to take a listen to Radio BMG and help spread the word.

We are determined to cement a solid community of banjo, mandolin, guitar and ukulele players in the UK, Europe and around the world in a similar way that AllFrets has done in the USA.  I hope that next year we can announce our first Clifford Essex BMG Festival. Having experienced how our American friends produce their festivals I have some thoughts on how, where and when we can stage our meeting. I have met some really talented players on my trips to the USA who have seldom, if never, have had the opportunity to play a banjo event in England so maybe it would be nice to see some new musical talent coming over to the UK. We are keen to make ties to our American friends at AllFrets and Resonator Magazine and offer a nice holiday destination for American players and their families to meet with like minded people across the Atlantic.

There are a few other projects I have in mind that will come to fruition in due course but more of that later. In finishing up, please take time to have a look at our website, listen to Radio BMG and (hopefully) join our growing ranks at BMG Magazine!

Best wishes,

Sean Moyses.

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