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Attractions: With Bucky Pizzarelli

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Album Review

Cynthia Sayer, best known for her work with Woody Allen's Dixieland band, is now fully recognized as a leader in her own right. On this, her eighth recording, she mixes up traditional jazz with an occasional Latin element, country or classical asides, and a fun tune here and there. Her lead and rhythm banjo playing is prominent in the instrumental numbers, while her vocals take center stage on the other half of the selections. Clearly a skilled player and performer, her singing is pleasant enough, at times a bit strained, but it is on the banjo strings that she truly shines. Think Elmer Snowden meets Banu Gibson. With top-notch help from saxophonist and clarinetist Scott Robinson, trumpeter Randy Sandke, violinist Sara Caswell, and especially legendary guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, Sayer has a band that can challenge her to be better. Of the vocal numbers, the sly, Latin tinged "Viper Mad," and whimsical "Aba Daba Honeymoon" work best, while the more old-timey "Shakin' the Blues Away" and "You Are My Sunshine" sound a bit trite. The best material lies in a cover of The Hot Club of France's "Swing de Paris," a straight but well rendered version of the famous pop tango classic "El Choclo," and Sayer's original "Banjo Tango." The Tiny Grimes evergreen "Romance Without Finance" is a delight but a tad stiff, while the most heartfelt interpretation comes in the traditional gypsy anthem "Dark Eyes." The CD concludes with Sayer playing solo on Franz Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody #2." There are several high points on this program for sure, a few that rank unmemorable like the sappy "Over the Rainbow," but generally Sayer's skill and playful demeanor come through for those who might be interested in this revisit of vintage jazz. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

attractions:with bucky pizzarelli

wonderful jazz banjo playing


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Once the favorite of traditional New Orleans Jazz, players of ragtime, minstrel shows, and music halls, the banjo's popularity had receded, at least as a jazz instrument. In recent years, while not coming all the way back, it has gotten a significant push by the likes of Bela Fleck, along with Cynthia Sayer who has successfully combined her plucking with her singing. While Sayer is adept with both the tenor guitar and piano, she focuses her attention on the banjo as well as her vocalizing. Sayer...
Full Bio
Attractions: With Bucky Pizzarelli, Cynthia Sayer
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 07, 2007

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