[Dixielandjazz] Jimmy Mazzy

John Mumford john at jazzbanjo.com
Sun Mar 6 12:17:07 PST 2005


You are correct in saying that there is only one Jimmy Mazzy but there is 
also only one Brad Roth, Steve DiBonaventura and Patrick Dinneen. These are 
three younger player that all play great jazz lines in their solo's. I 
almost forgot another young player, Tyler Jackson at age 18 is an up and 
coming star. I had the opportunity to interview Jimmy, a few years ago, for 
an article in Jazz Banjo Magazine and asked him about his solo techniques. 
He told me that he never liked the tremolo that much so he patterned his 
style after piano players. They use a lot of fill notes in their playing and 
that's how Jimmy developed his style. Another older banjo player, from New 
Orleans known for this technique is "Father" Al Lewis. His moniker came from 
the similarities noted in his banjo style that were similar to Earl "Fatha" 

What makes the four above different is that they all have studied or studied 
with jazz guitar players.

This style seems to have been lost to a whole generation of banjo players 
that grew up listening to Eddie Peabody. Just about all new banjo players 
want to learn chord melody. I also wouldn't say that chord melody is easier 
than playing hot lick single string solos either. If the banjo survives 
another generation it will be players like the four I listed above that will 
keep the banjo alivet. There is a lot more that could be said on this topic. 
Why people think the banjo should only be a rhythm instrument bewilders me. 
Listen to player's like Ikey Robinson with Jabbo Smith in Jazz Battle or Lee 
Blair with Wilbur DeParis.

Enough Said.  If you want to learn more about these different banjo players 
go to http://www.jazzbanjo.com/

John Mumford

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "anichols" <anichols at gis.net>

>I realize that there is only one Jimmy Mazzy and I wonder why. The banjo in
> Jimmy's hands can't be anything but a front line instrument. Chord solo's
> are nice, and easier also, but Jimmy's blazing speed single note
> improvisations are to die for. Why aren't there more banjo players trying
> for a fraction of that technique. So when I read that, "If you wish to use
> the banjo as a front line instrument, then by all means use a five 
> stringer
> picking single notes", I had to ask myself, You mean there are people out
> there that haven't heard or heard of Jimmy Mazzy!!
> Norm Nichols
> anichols at gis.net

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