Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo


I'm curating a new volume of the Recorded Anthology of American Music and I'm looking for a minstrel banjoist to play in one number which will recreate James Bland's 1870s band. 

The player needs to be in the New York City area, since the session will be there on June 1 at the American Academy of Arts and Letters. 

I'd be very grateful to hear from anyone with player recommendations, including self recommendations. 

The recording is part of a series of albums featuring neglected African-American composers, performed by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra & friends using original scores and antique instruments. 

Please e-mail me at benjamin@paragonragtime.com or call my office at (570) 524-9511. 


Rick Benjamin



The Recorded Anthology of American Music (aka New World Records)

Paragon Ragtime Orchestra

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Now that would be a treat! I have a couple of the PRO's recordings, all 'top notch'!

What tune are you planning on having your "minstrel banjoist" play?

Hello Trapdoor:

It's great to hear from you. I'm glad you're enjoying our recordings.

This time we're recording the original 1879 arrangement of James Bland's "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers!," using a recreation of his minstrel show band, which included clarinet, cornet (in "A"), tambourine, pianoforte, banjo, violin, and bass. I'll attach the p/v score below, if anybody wants to see it. 

Well, I still am looking for a player in/around New York. I have roped in a real celebrity to produce/engineer - this year's Grammy Award winning "Producer of the Year - Classical" - Judith Sherman. 

All the best, 

Rick Benjamin

James Bland (1854-1911), banjoist/songwriter:

Cool idea. Great tune.

Have you contacted Tony Trischka? He is a NYC based professional banjoist who would fill your bill quite nicely. http://www.tonytrischka.com/index.htm He played on the seminal recording "Minstrel Style Banjo" (see the last few tracks) http://www.amazon.com/Minstrel-Banjo-Style-Various-Artists/dp/B0000...


I suspect the short notice may be the biggest issue for someone of his caliber. He might have an alternative banjoist in mind though.

I suggest Paul Draper- see my post in your other thread:


What's more, Paul may be able to get there and do this in time if he's interested.  He's a very good player and can pick up a tune fast.

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