Cynthia Sayer: Joyride (2013)
Joyride from celebrated jazz banjoist and vocalist, Cynthia Sayer, lives up to its title. And, while the jazz here is more traditional than contemporary and there's a limited amount of extended improv, this is an exhilarating excursion via an artist's and her supporting musicians' talents that results in a funhouse of good music.
Sayer, a Banjo Hall of Famer and mainstay in Woody Allen's jazz combo and on his film soundtracks, has performed and recorded with a diverse Who's Who of jazz, popular music and the cinemaMarvin Hamlisch, Bruce Springsteen, Wynton Marsalis, Bucky Pizzarelli, and the New York Philharmonic. At that world-class level, Sayer and her 4-stringed buddy are no novelty. She's the real deal and this recording reinforces that standing.
Joyride is a terrific combination of Sayer's pluck, the wonderful sounds of Springsteen accordionist, Charlie Giordano, trumpeter Randy Sandke's Pops-like rides, and a Baker's Dozen of shrewdly selected offeringspast and presentperformed by fine musicians who play with vigor. Sayer pens two interesting originals ("Banjo Blues," "You Talk Too Much") and re-lyrics another ("Man On the Flying Trapeze"). Overall, it's an eclectic hoot performed with sass and smarts.
Sayer's vocal chops fit the material well and add a saucy dimension ("Banjo Blues," "Getting to Know You," "Move It On Over"). She's got a slick way with words and can shine new light on time-worn lines ("Goody,Goody," "I Love Paris," "When You Wish Upon A Star").
While banjo-centric jazz might not be everyone's cup of tea, Joyride is an entertaining effort from a truly gifted talent. It's a "'joy ride" indeed.
Track Listing: Banjo Blues; Move It On Over; I Get Ideas (Adios Muchachos); Ella Miriam's Blues; You Talk Too Much; The Man On The Flying Trapeze; I Love Paris; Getting To Know You; El Irresistible; Goody Goody; Honey; Under the Bamboo Tree; When You Wish Upon A Star.
Personnel: Cynthia Sayer: banjo and vocals; Charlie Giordano: accordion; Mauro Battisti: string bass; Larry Eagle: percussion; Sarah Caswell: violin; Adrian Cunningham: clarinet; Jon Herington: electric guitar; Randy Sandke: trumpet; Scott Robinson: tenor saxophone, tarogato; Marcus Rojas: tuba; Mike Weatherly: string bass, backup vocals.
Record Label: Plunk Records
Style: Dixieland/New Orleans/Swing