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Cynthia Sayer

Multi-award-winning instrumentalist/vocalist/bandleader Cynthia Sayer is acclaimed by musicians, critics, and fans alike as the top 4-string banjoist in the world today. Praised for her “drive and virtuosity” by the New York Times, Cynthia enchants audiences with her electrifying, swing-based performances and captivating stage presence wherever she appears.

An inductee into the American Banjo Hall Of Fame, and winner of the 2019 Bistro Award and 2018 Global Music Awards, Cynthia garnered cheering crowds and her usual standing ovation at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival. Other USA festivals include appearing as a Special Guest at the prestigious 2019 Django Reinhardt Festival in NYC, headlining at the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival, the 2017 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, and numerous others. Multiple international jazz festivals have honored Cynthia as "Festival Favorite" and readers polls have named her “Favorite Living Banjo Player,” “First-Choice Headliner,” and “Best Banjo Player.” Cynthia has appeared as a guest and performer on CBS, FOX & ABC network television shows, including Good Morning America and The Morning Show, as well as on NPR's Piano Jazz, Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour, BBC Radio, and elsewhere. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, DownBeat, Fretboard Journal, International Musician, People Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and countless other local, trade, and foreign media outlets.

Sayer first rose to international prominence as a founding member of Woody Allen's New Orleans Jazz Band, all the while exploring her wider musical interests and playing with such legendary jazz, popular, and roots music artists as Bucky Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Andy Statman, Les Paul, Marvin Hamlisch, Wynton Marsalis, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, Charlie Giordano (with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band), and John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), as well as leading jazz contemporaries such as Vince Giordano, Scott Robinson, Wycliffe Gordon, Anat Cohen, and many others.

A multi-instrumentalist heard on distinguished feature film and TV soundtracks and comfortable in many genres, Cynthia’s fun, family-friendly programs present the unexpected musical diversity of the banjo in the hands of a master. She tours extensively with her bands and as a guest artist across four continents, including her second smash hit tour in China in 2018. At home in New York City, she performs at leading venues like New York City's Lincoln Center, Birdland, Joe's Pub at The Public, and City Winery NY.

Her feature CD's, nine in all, have received rave reviews and multiple "Best of" nominations and awards in various categories, including two Jazz Journalists Association best pick lists. Sayer has played for two U.S. Presidents (once at The White House), performed with several symphony orchestras including The New York Philharmonic, was the official banjoist for The New York Yankees, and is proud to be the subject of a Trivial Pursuit game question.

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

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

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

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

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

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Plunk Records



Plunk Records


CYNTHIA: Reissue...

New York Jazz records


String Swing

Jazzology Records


Jazz At Home




Plunk Records/Yerba Buena Jazz



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