May 22, 23 & 24, 2014
Tucson, Arizona U.S.A.
Budd and Debb Johnson
Omni Tucson National Golf Resort
Member of Global Hotel Alliance
2727 West Club Drive
Tucson, Arizona 85742
Phone: (520) 297-2271, Fax: (520) 297-7544
For a full tour of the accomodations,
To Register For The AZ Banjo and Ukulele Blast 2014:
Catalina State Park, just 10 miles from the Resort offers overnight camping in 120 sites, 95 with electric and water hookups and 25 without hookups.
Each campsite has a picnic table and BBQ grill. Roads and parking slips are paved. Campgrounds have modern flush restrooms with hot showers. RV dump stations are available in the park. No limit on RV length. Stay limit is 14 nights. Campgrounds are open all year. Camping fees start at $20.00."
All Stars Youth Banjo Band
Sagemont Church is the home base
to the “ALL STARS” Youth Banjo Band which is directed by Buddy Griffin,
a nationally-known banjo performer/instructor. 60+ members (ages 7 – 17
years old) make up this band. Their programs feature a wide variety of
music from oldie-goldies, waltzes, pops, gospel tunes and more;
using the 4-string tenor banjo, bass, drums, keyboard, guitars, mandolins and ukuleles. The band performs frequently at a variety of events and venues in Houston and the surrounding area.
The “ALL STARS” are guaranteed
“to put a smile on your face, a song in your heart, a snap in your fingers
and a tap in your toes!”
For bookings or additional information, call Buddy Griffin at 281-481-8770, ext. 2308 or 713-557-2541.
Playing the banjo is somewhat thought of as
a novelty; Kurt takes that
in stride, proving, through his performance, that the banjo is nothing
short of an instrument in a class by itself. Throughout his 35 year
career, music has woven its thread into a tapestry upon Kurt's hands.
His pedigree includes playing at the Red Garter Saloon in San Francisco
in the early 70's, television and movie appearances, a 10 year
relationship with the Washboard Wizardz, Headlining Banjo Shows from
coast to coast, performing as a jazz musician in Europe and Asia,
banjoist at numerous festivals and jazz events nationwide, and guest
artist for the Modesto Symphony during their Holiday Pops series in
He has over a dozen albums still in print,
as well as a newly released
solo CD, Solo Expedition, January 2009. In addition, his newly formed
ensemble, Kurt Abell and his Rhythm Knickers released their first CD,
Out of Bounds, in March, 2009.
He is currently touring with the Catsnjammer
Jazz Band, Kurt Abell and
his Rhythm Knickers, The Creole Jazz Kings, and Galen Drake & Athens
Abell~LIVE. He continues to wow audiences as Headliner at various Banjo
Shows nationwide, as well. He also volunteers his time to local
musicians in an effort to support the arts. His technique of teaching
banjo artistry is close to his heart, but performing is his passion.
JOHNNY BAIER - Biography, Spring 2007
Since he began his career as a professional banjo player in 1971 (just two weeks after he picked up the instrument), Johnny Baier has been developing an admirable reputation as one of the worlds most ardent performers on, and promoters of Americas only native musical instrument - the banjo. From the beginning, playing banjo for the sing along crowd at the Shakey's Pizza Parlor in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Baier maintained a goal of keeping his performances both musical and entertaining. The varied musical influences he absorbed as a youngster (from jazz to polkas to classics), coupled with inspiration, guidance and instruction from many great banjo artists of the past, have resulted in a contemporary banjo artist with a unique sound and style.
A Johnny Baier performance always demonstrates his eagerness to attempt to add new textures and colors to the banjos perceived repertoire and sound. Ragtime, Jazz, Bluegrass, Folk, Classics, Pop, and, of course, traditional banjo favorites are all given Baier’s unique touch. A certain highlight of his career came in 1983 when, after a participating in a banjo competition held in Ontario, Canada that featured some of the finest banjoists in North America, Baier was named the North American Banjo Champion. Following this success, he was asked to represent a division of the Sara Lee Corporation as a musical goodwill ambassador. In this capacity, he had the opportunity to travel throughout the United States performing at trade shows, fairs, parades and special events.
After three years of touring (accumulating over 150,000 land and air miles per year), Baier decided to “settle down” in Orlando, Florida where, in 1988, he began an incredible run at the world-famous Rosie O’Grady’s in Church Street Station. In the years that followed, Johnny, combining masterful musicianship with crowd pleasing entertainment skills, performed over 15,000 solo shows.
In 2000, Baier become the Entertainment Director and featured performer at Rock Crusher Canyon - an entertainment attraction located on Florida's Gulf Coast. In this position, he produced hundreds of shows including Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Three Dog Night, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and many more. In addition to his own headline performances at RCC, Johnny opened shows for legendary show business notables such as The Kingston Trio, Pat Boone, Mickey Rooney and Roy Clark.
Always ready to take his act “on the road”, Baier has been a headline performer in the showrooms aboard the luxury cruise ships of the Crystal, Radisson, Princess and Holland America lines. His ease with an audience also makes him a favorite at community and corporate events as well as musical festivals and concert venues throughout the world.
On the traditional jazz scene, in addition to leading his own popular "All Star" Dixieland jazz band, Johnny, playing both banjo and guitar, appears in clubs, festivals, concerts and on recordings with many notable classic jazz groups including “Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band”, “Allan Vache and the New Delta Steamers”, “Rosie O’Grady’s Goodtime Jazz Band”, “The Bob Crosby Bob Cats”, and “The Walt Disney World Rhythm Rascals”.
Another recent highlight in Johnny's career came with his partnership with fellow banjo master Buddy Wachter. Their destined to be historic recording, entitled Side By Side, received rave reviews from both critics and banjo enthusiasts from around the world, being hailed as "quite possibly the best banjo recording ever!" The duo is currently working on a follow-up CD which will be recorded in Spring of this year.
In addition to performing, Baier is a serious journalist and banjo historian as well. He is internationally known as the editor of All Frets magazine - the official publication of the Fretted Instrument Guild of America - an international nonprofit musical organization. In addition to existing artist endorsement relationships in place with both RICHELIEU BANJOS and GHS STRINGS, Johnny has recently contracted with MEL BAY PUBLICATIONS to write, publish and distribute two instructional publications for the tenor banjo to a world-wide market.
As a further testimonial to his commitment to the music and heritage of the banjo, in 2004 Baier was offered (and accepted) the position of Executive Director of the National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame Museum located in historic Guthrie, Oklahoma. The Museum is home to a massive collection of ornately decorated Jazz Age banjos - the largest collection on public display anywhere in the world.
The highest compliment a musical artist can hope to receive usually comes from fellow musicians. When banjo players gather, they often refer to Johnny Baier as “the best”. While such high praise is certainly a matter of personal opinion, it is clear that his love for the banjo and the music it is capable of creating has allowed Johnny Baier to evolve into exactly what he'd hoped to become...THE BANJO MAN.
See more on Dave here
Banjoist and author Dave Frey has been playing
plectrum banjo for over 30 years. During that time, he professionally recorded
over 300 tunes with nine different bands making him one of the more prolific
banjoists performing today. Dave is also a banjo instructor at the International
Banjo College in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Dave is experienced in playing both the banjo band and Dixieland/traditional jazz styles of the instrument and is listed in K.O. Eckland's book Jazz West 2, a history of traditional jazz performers in the western United States. Dave is also the banjoist for the San Francisco Starlight Orchestra (a 1920's style hot dance orchestra that recently ranked fifth in the world in a Mississippi Rag newspaper's readers poll, as well as numerous other jazz and banjo bands, including the Southtown Strummers, The Three Plectrums, the Fourth Street Five Jazz Band and Eldorado Syncopators Jazz Band.
Buddy Griffin is an entertainer who has spread the happy sound of the banjo and his unique style of playing and humor across the USA, Canada, Europe, the Orient and made guest appearances on the Lawrence Welk Show, in Branson MO. as a “headliner” at the IMPROV comedy clubs on Christian Comedy nights and many, many venues in between. He is the founder and director of the 100+ piece “ALL STARS” Youth Banjo Band in Houston, Texas and was the founder and director of the Jubilee Banjo Band for 25 years.
Buddy has been inducted into the Banjo Hall of Fame and has received the prestigious Canine Award from the American Banjo Museum for his promotion, teaching and advancement of fretted stringed instruments.
With Nathan Hanna, music became an interest
in 2003 at just 7 years old after seeing the film School of Rock (about
a rock and roll band consisting of kids). He began to pick up the guitar
learning classic rock tunes by ear. Guitar and rock and roll were the only
musical territories Nathan would tread until he met Buddy Griffin around
2005. Nathan joined Buddy’s band in Houston: the All-Stars Youth Banjo
Band, where he was introduced to tenor banjo. He learned how to play banjo
enough to get by but stuck primarily to guitar. In 2009 Nathan became the
guitarist for the All-Stars which is still his current position.
By 2009 Nathan gained a personal interest in jazz. Django Reinhardt and
Benny Goodman became favorites of his. Banjo was still something he rarely
touched. It wasn’t until he received the gift of a tenor Vega Vox IV from
founder of the American Banjo Museum, Jack Canine, for him to start practicing
banjo fully under his will. After discovering the music of banjo greats
such as Paul Buskirk, Paul Erickson, Tyler Jackson, and Buddy Wachter,
he began to lean towards jazz and improvisation where he found a love and
“obsession” for the music and the instrument. Along with the obsession
came the determination to learn as much as he could. One such determination
was learning how to play the plectrum banjo from continually listening
to recordings of Buddy Wachter. Hungarian Dance #6 was the first piece
he learned on plectrum banjo which served as enough to be able to fluently
play the new instrument. In 2010, Nathan recorded his
first album “Just A Closer Walk With Thee”. Studio work became something
he enjoyed. In 2011 he recorded another album called “At Home”, an album
with jazz vocalist Kate Freeman called “Positively Swingin’”, and a duet
album with Hall of Fame banjo player Greg Allen called the “Fort Meyers
Sessions”. Nathan is also featured on young New York banjoist Jesse Rock’s
debut album “Without A Paddle” recorded in the summer of 2012.
Nathan has played all over the United States with his banjo and also played guitar in a college jazz orchestra as a freshman in High school. He played jazz regularly three nights a week at Cullen’s in Houston and with his punk rock band he has played at the legendary Fitzgerald’s in the Heights of Houston. Nathan has played in the beautiful Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans with the Charlie Fardella Trio and has also made an appearance with the famous Smoking Time Jazz Club on Royale Street in the French Quarter. He has performed in Texas, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Indiana, Arizona, New York, Maine, Louisiana, and Missouri and is proud to make his second trip to Tucson Arizona!
“…The average banjoist must wonder what mysterious neurological thing has happened when a youngster of fourteen (2010) has already acquired an amazing understanding of complex single-note phrasing, and can so easily play improvised renditions of both traditional and non-traditional pieces.”
-Jim Riley, The Resonator
VIDEOS: Live in St. Louis, MO.
Tyler Jackson is a true musical talent with
decades of history fused into his banjo style. Evidence of Tyler's
natural ability can be seen in both is banjo technique and sense of musicality.
He studies the instrument and its history, analyzes the great masters,
and approaches his craft with a passion seldom seen in the youth of today.
In late 90's teenage rock and hip-hop influenced world, it is unlikely
that a twelve year old from Houston, Texas would become interested in the
tenor banjo and, it is slimmer still that his playing would develop so
quickly. Yet, at a church sponsored ukulele class, where the banjo's
infectious ring caught Tyler's ear, he was hooked. After spending
two years under the wing of Buddy Griffin and the Jubilee Banjo Band, Tyler's
natural talent came to the attention of Buddy Wachter, who mentored the
young Jackson and helped steer him towards learning different styles of
music and instruments. Although they lived 1,200 miles apart, the
phone conversations they would have about music and instrument history
would continue to inspire Tyler to strive for more. Wachter encouraged
Tyler to learn upright bass and keep pursuing new and exciting ways to
play the tenor banjo. Tyler went on to major in jazz studies at the
University of North Texas where country legend Ray Price heard about him
and asked Tyler to play upright bass in his band. Tyler jumped at the chance
and began travel the country playing in venues ranging from old texas honky-tonks
to radio city music hall in New York. When the band wasn't performing or
sound-checking, Tyler would be jamming on the banjo with other members
of the band, playing hot jazz of the 1920s and 30s.
His work with Price took him all over the world and gave him the chance to hang out with some pretty interesting people some of which include Willie Nelson, Billy Bob Thornton, Merle Haggard, Woody Harrelson and Peter Wolf. Occasionally Ray would ask Tyler to bring out the banjo and play something for them. Tyler was always amazed at how much they enjoyed hearing the banjo!
Living in San Antonio Jackson gets to play with various jazz groups under the 'South Texas Jazz' name, as well as the Jim Cullum band. Although currently most of his professional work is on upright bass, Tyler will always consider the tenor banjo to be his his favorite instrument. He hopes to keep pushing the limits of what can be done on the tenor banjo, but at the same time keeping a smile on the audiences faces and a tap in their toes.
Click on the link below to hear TJ on You Tube
Dave Marty Inductee - National 4-String Banjo Hall Of Fame
We're happy to welcome Dave Marty back to the Arizona Banjo & Ukulele Blast. Dave is a native of San Francisco, now living in Novato, CA.
His professional musical career began in beer halls and pizza parlors in and around the San Francisco Bay Area playing the banjo while sitting on top of upright pianos.
Dave's interest in music began at age 12, teaching himself the ukulele. For his 16th birthday his father got him a banjo. He had so much trouble adjusting to the size of the neck that he put it away for the next three years and kept on with ukulele.
At 19, he was in a pizza parlor when two guys appeared –one with a banjo and the other who sat down at the piano. After hearing a couple of tunes, Dave decided he was as good as or better than the banjo player, who was making money doing that! Then and there he knew what he wanted to do with his life. Shortly thereafter he took the banjo out of the closet, where he had put it three years earlier, and started practicing. Several months later he joined the musician’s union in late 1959. One month later he got his first professional job playing with a pianist in a pizza parlor!
Dave Marty’s musical style has routinely been compared to those of “Van Cliburn” & “Liberace”
After appearing as the headliner at San Francisco’s RED GARTER nightclub, He drove to New York to perform at the New York World's Fair for the RED GARTER nightclub chain.
He has played at State and County fairs in California and Oregon as soloist and trio; Performed at nightclubs in Chicago; Kansas City; New Orleans; New York; Atlanta; Dallas; Ft. Worth; San Francisco; Hollywood; Palm Springs, CA and Florence, Italy. Featured Intermission Solo Banjoist at Turk Murphy’s EARTHQUAKE Mc GOON'S in San Francisco for 8 years. He also performed with Turk Murphy's Traditional Jazz Band nightly.
For the last 13 years of his 53-year career, Dave has been a solo act entertaining in all settings of senior facilities. The variety and selections are instantly recognized. His musical genres include classical, jazz, nostalgia, lunch & dinner shows, Russian, Jewish, Greek, Spanish and Italian selections, tangos, cha-chas, foxtrots and waltzes, sing-a-longs, and musical requests – plus well-liked Broadway show tunes from: Show Boat, Oklahoma, Fiddler On The Roof, Porgy & Bess, Cats, Dr. Zhivago, Phantom Of The Opera, Annie), plus Standards.
Dave's repertoire contains over 900 songs that spans over 100 years of hits (from 1752 through the 1990’s.) Dave was inducted into the National 4-String Banjo Hall of Fame for Performance in 2010. We're looking forward to once again being entertained by "Mr. Smooth".
Hall of Fame Tribute to Dave Marty
Limehouse Blues on Uke
Duet with Dave Frey
Peter Mezoian Outrageous Banjo!
Stop everything and see and hear Peter Mezoian.
With influences such as Les Paul, Irving Berlin, Eddie Peabody, Harry Reser, Bing Crosby, Stevie Wonder, Don Reno, Django Rheinhard, broadway showtunes, bluegrass, swing, ragtime, and early American popular song you'll understand why this guy isn't normal.
Or maybe it's from 2 decades of touring the world on the main stage of over 50 different cruise ships, as well as theaters and music festivals in England, and the U.S.
The American Song Book gets updated when plunk meets funk and Peter Mezoian jumps in leaving you wanting more and wondering just how outrageous one banjoist can be.
John Mumford John has been playing music professionally since his High School days when he played guitar in a rock band in Southern California. After college he played banjo at Shakey’s and Your Father’s Mustache. In 2002 he received a BS degree in Music using the banjo with an emphasis in performance. In 2006 he was asked to be the music director for the Denver Ukulele Orchestra. In addition to arranging for the group John also played many of the lead parts. John also frequently conducts ukulele workshops in Denver and has held workshops at The Swallow Hill Uke Festival and conducts “Ukulele Blues” workshops for The Denver Ukulele Community. Currently he plays ukulele and Hawaiian steel guitar with the “Hala Kahiki Band.” The band plays both traditional and pop Hawaiian music.
Del Rey is virtuosic on both ukulele and guitar in just the right way-in order to realize her musical ideas. Her influences merge to make music that is slightly nostalgic, but fresh and thoughtful.
“Rey is one of the greatest modern players of the metal-bodied resonator guitar.”
Acoustic Guitar Magazine
"The 'ukulele taken to a new level of musicianship" CD Baby
"Whilst known for her amazing instrumental skills ... it should not be overlooked that she always provides a very entertaining show, full of variety, drama and humour." Blues In Britain
The Tucson Ukesters
When Fred was 3 and half, his
mother had a model 3 Martin ukulele. She kept telling him to keep
his hands off of it. But a
3 year old is really curious, especially when he was told not to touch the ukulele.
He kept at it, humming and strumming, until he could actually play some simple tunes. His mother gave up and showed him a few chords and he was on his way. Newport, Rhode Island was not the hot bed of ukulele players, in 1937. So, he developed an unusual style that has stayed with until this day.
He started entering talent contests.
In the ‘30s, they would show one movie and then have a talent show or vaudeville
acts, followed by another movie. Since talent shows were cheaper,
in the depression and at the end of vaudeville, Little Freddie and his
ukulele became regulars in the 3 movie houses, in Newport. His first
prize was $5.00. It was so easy for him. Here was this little,
5 year old, very chubby kid, playing his ukulele and singing, “My Mothers
He could not lose. Soon, he was playing bigger towns around Newport. At the end of the talent show era in his life, he was making more money in a month, than his father made in a year. His dad was in the Navy and it did not pay much. After a run in New York, his mother decided that school was more important.
So, until he graduated from San
Diego State University, the ukulele, took a back seat to grades.
Then, he gave his diploma to his mother and took off for Los Angeles.
He paid his dues and soon he was playing on the road in bigger and better
hotels and casinos. He had a swing at the movies, but he liked live
performances a lot better. He was a second banana to such stars as
Dale Robertson, Ann B. Davis, (Alice, the maid in the Brady Brunch,) and
Maury Wills, Captain of the L.A. Dodgers. Altogether, he spent over
30 years on the road. Now he plays more ukulele than guitar and has
a ton of fun at ukulele festivals.
1. Motion pictures, 3
2. Recordings, CD’s and albums, 8
3. Casinos, 28
4. Nightclubs, over 1,000
5. World Fairs, 2
6. Countries, 30
7. State Fairs, County Fairs 12
8. USO Tours to active war zones, 6
We welcome Georgette Twain, "The Queen of The Banjo",
and her daughter, Cecilia Yale to this years Blast.
Georgette overcame Polio to become a Banjo Hall of Famer who was coached personally by Eddie Peabody and continues his style of playing.
In her lifetime of performing, Georgette has worked with a veritable Who's Who of stars.
She now performs as a Mother/Daughter team with Cecilia on Violin.
Cecilia Yale started out on banjo and from the age of 12 performed with her mother on stage in California and Nevada.
In later years she returned to the violin which she has mastered and put herself through college playing music.
She has done some recordings & played with other groups and string quartets through the years and is one of the founders of the Caron Valley Pops Orchestra.
Presently she plays at weddings and conventions in Nevada and still gets her biggest joy playing with her Mom.
DON VAN PALTA
Welcome back Don!
We're happy to welcome back Tom Stuip!
Tom was born in Rotterdam in 1944, and started playing the tenor
banjo at age 12.
He was soon playing in skiffle and dixieland bands, and at age 17, switched to plectrum banjo.
In 1968, he moved to California, where he lived for over three years. There,he started visiting the Red Garter, met Dave Marty, and discovered that the banjo could be more than just a rhythm instrument in a jazz band.
He listened to great solo players such as Eddie Peabody (a chord-melody player) and Elmer Snowden (a single string player), and decided that his favorite style was somewhere in between.
Tom started playing professionally in California but he didn't find much of a jazz-minded audience there, so he returned to Holland in the seventies.
He has lived in the Hague, in the Netherlands, and has performed all over the world with many different bands.
Tom has played in the U.S.A., Canada, Japan, most European countries, including the former USSR , Australia, the Caribbean, Egypt, Pakistan, and the Gulf States.
Tom has been playing on Vega, Bacon, Epiphone and Ome banjos.
Rob Wright, the founder
of the Arizona Banjo Blasters and original host of the Arizona Banjo Blast
Rob returns as a headliner, after turning the reins over to the Blasters to do the planning and hosting of the 2014 Arizona Banjo & Ukulele Blast.
He has been playing ukulele at 4 string events the past couple of years, and was instrumental in combining the Ukulele with the Banjo for this event.
An accomplished, energetic touring musician, Rob is a former member of the famed folk ensemble The New Christy Minstrels. Now a financial consultant by profession, he has played in all fifty states and extensively throughout the western U.S.
Rob’s banjo playing is often compared to the late great Eddie Peabody, and his engaging vocal stylings add a special touch to many of the tunes performed by the Wildcats.
Rob also enjoys playing as a guest soloist with symphony orchestras, and exploring different styles of music in the recording studio with the plectrum banjo in non–traditional musical settings.
Rob has also performed and recorded with Tyler Jackson, "Old Fashion Fellas" and with Ray Templin, a Sing-along Pizza Party CD available online at:
2014 Arizona Banjo & Ukulele Blast Workshops
"Tin Pan Alley Tales and Tunes" - Judy & Michael Muldawer (Ukulele Thursday Afternoon)
"How to Play in a Band" - Rob Wright (Banjo/Ukulele Thursday Afternoon)
Ukulele Play Along (Thursday Afternoon)
Banjo Play Along (Thursday Afternoon)
"How to Improvise the Blues on the Ukulele" - John Mumford (Ukulele Friday Morning)
"The Gig: - Dr. Jeffrey Grosser (Banjo Friday Morning)
"Ukulele Jugband " - Del Rey
(Ukulele Friday Morning)
or "Regional Blues Styles: The Piedmont" - Del Rey (Ukulele)
"Parlour-style Plectrum Banjo" - Ron Hinkle (Banjo Friday Morning)
"George Formby Uke Style" - Sean Moyses (Ukulele Friday Afternoon)
"Performing for the general public in 2014: - Peter Mezoian (Banjo Friday Afternoon)
"Ukulele, Hawaiian Style" - Michael Crownhart (Ukulele Saturday Morning)
"Stop Me When You Hear Something You Like" - Johnny Baier (Banjo Saturday Morning)
"Beginning Ukulele" - Buddy Griffin (Ukulele Saturday Morning)
"My Method of Chord Melody & Accompaniment." Dave Marty (Banjo Saturday Morning)
"Ukulele Blues Party" - Del Rey (Ukulele Saturday Morning)
"The many strums you are not using." - Fred Thompson (Ukulele Saturday afternoon)
"How to get the most out of your banjo playing"
- Tyler Jackson (Banjo
PRINTABLE ORDER FORM ....Click on the link below
Blasters from left to right:
front row: Elaine Calloway, Lulu Nicolosi, Doug O'Brien,
Emmett Gundy, Jill Sooy & Debb Johnson
back row: Arlene Tomlinson, Rudy Jimenez, Michael
Crownhart, Rick Blackmar, Bud Johnson
AFTER THE BLAST INFO
Thank all of you so much for attending and making this event a memorable occasion!
Bud and Debb Johnson and
The AZ Banjo Blaster Crew!