Born: April 17, 1890 | Died: 1966 Primary Instrument: Banjo
Johnny St. Cyr is one of the masters of early blues-jazz. His recordings with Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven feature some really impressive solo and rhythm player where St. Cyr explores the extended range of the guitar-banjo. St. Cyr used a special made banjo with an extra large pot for additional volume.
St. Cyr had his own bands in New Orleans as far back as 1905. He played with A.J. Piron, the Superior, Olympia and Tuxedo bands, played on the riverboats with Fate Marable and was with King Oliver when he went north to Chicago in 1923.
St. Cyr recorded with King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and with Louis Armstrong as a key member of the Hot Five and Hot Seven sessions. He also performed with Doc Cook's Dreamland Orchestra.
In 1930 he returned to New Orleans where he made his living as a plasterer but still played with local groups including with Paul Barbarin and Alphonse Picou.
In 1955 St. Cyr moved to Los Angeles and returned to music full time, leading the Young Men from New Orleans at Disneyland (which also featured Barney Bigard) from 1961 until his death in 1966.