Saturday, August 09, 2014
The New England Jazz Banjofest
New England Jazz Banjofest is coming up fast— October 24-26, 2014. The
hotel, good room prices, and great banjo jazz music. What more could
anyone want !
have recently posted links to videos from the last few years.
to see you there.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Banjo in Japan
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 www.CDBaby.com
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
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.
www.seanmoyses.com and www.eddiepeabody.com
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!
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Banjos ringing in Punta Gorda
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 www.banjomusic.org
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!
Young Musicians Education Foundation
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
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
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
ALL FRETS 2014 CONVENTION
THE DATES - JULY 16-19, 2014
FRETS 2014 CONVENTION
EAST HOTEL - LOUISVILLE, KY
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
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.
have several important items to tell you all about.
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?
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.
you need a flyer to send to a friend or relative, you can get it here
the tireless efforts of Lynne Rock, we have posted some more videos from last
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
be credited for the festival's success. Get the word out. Invite your
friends and relatives to come by and see the shows.
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.
are looking forward to seeing everyone on November 1st.
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
possibilities for make up lessons, re-scheduling, and even doing this
next semester (like February). Right now if we have enough students it
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
Thanks and hope to make
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.
David Viscount Price A.L.C.M.
Tel: 01277 824 616 or
07885 423 393
Saturday, July 27, 2013
New England Jazz Banjofest - coming soon!!!
The NEW ENGLAND JAZZ BANJOFEST
44 Middlesex Tpk, Bedford, MA 01730
ask for N.E. Jazz BanjoFest rate $104
Friday Night Opening
Concert Continuous Jam
Afternoon Show Vendor
Info: Allen Padwa
508-754-7918; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.nejbf.com
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Punta Gorda Banjo Bash
us in beautiful SW FLORIDA for our FIFTH annual
Young Musicians Education Foundation
February 14th and 15th, 2014
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)
100 blocked rooms at $134 per night. Please
reserve early and mention “BANJO BASH” for the discounted rate until Jan.15,
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 www.banjomusic.org
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
email@example.com, 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
All profits will benefit national youth groups administered
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.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
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
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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!
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
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 www.bmgmagazine.net 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 www.bmgmagazine.net
. 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!