Contemporary, edgy, and soulful, Cynthia Sayer breaks all the banjo player stereotypes as she single-handedly brings the 4-string banjo to the forefront of jazz. Celebrated as the top 4-string banjoist in the world today and praised for her “drive and virtuosity” by the New York Times, Cynthia is a founding member of Woody Allen's New Orleans Jazz Band with whom she played and toured for over 10 years. Her solo career has taken her well beyond these New Orleans roots as a dynamic performer, instrumentalist and vocalist, and whose eclectic, swing-based shows embody the rarely heard range and versatility of the 4-string jazz banjo. Sayer receives standing ovations at nearly every concert she performs.
Sayer appears regularly in concert and at festivals worldwide with her several bands and also as an individual guest artist. She has played with a variety of leading jazz, popular, & roots artists, including Bucky Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Wynton Marsalis, Les Paul, Bill Cosby, Marvin Hamlisch, Kenny Davern, Charlie Giordano (Springsteen’s E Street Band), Milt Hinton, Marian McPartland, Jon Weber, Wycliffe Gordon, John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Scott Robinson, Randy Sandke, Kenny Davern, Tony Trischka, Andy Statman, and many others.
Cynthia began playing the banjo at age 13, when, after begging her parents for a drum set, she one day discovered a banjo on her bed, clearly intended as a more peaceful substitute. Years later, after Cynthia chose the banjo over law school, her banjo teacher, Patty Fischer, would apologize to Cynthia's mother whenever they crossed paths at the local grocery store. Her mother always kindly reassured the woman that it wasn't her fault: Cynthia was bound to find her way into music one way or the other.