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At A Glance
BanjerDan (Dan Mazer) is a banjo player and multi-instrumental performer based in the Washington, DC area. His style is an Americana mix, rooted in straight-ahead bluegrass and branching wherever the muse leads. Since taking up music in 1974, Dan has performed in almost every imaginable situation, in the U.S. and overseas, from busking, coffeehouses and bar gigs to musical theater productions, children’s shows, studio work and solo strolling appearances, and even symphonic concertizing. Dan became interested in banjo as a teenager, and learned his craft in the Washington, DC area’s hot 1970s bluegrass scene. He got his first theme park job (King’s Dominion, near Richmond, VA) in 1982. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory from George Washington University in 1984, Dan played in numerous bluegrass bands, notably D.J. and the C.B. Pickers and Rockcreek, and in productions of The Robber Bridegroom, Chicago, Dark of the Moon and Cabaret. He performed in Europe and had the honor of playing with bluegrass legend Buzz Busby on programed taped by Maryland Public Television. From 1991 to 1995, Dan lived in Nashville, freelancing as a musician and writer. He put in three seasons at Opryland, U.S.A., played in productions of The Robber Bridegroom and Pump Boys and Dinettes, and established his own band, The Guys in the Suits and Ties, which performed at The Station Inn, Nashville's bluegrass hotspot. While living in Nashville, Dan went on the road for revues at the Fireside Dinner Theater in Fort Atkinson, a concert with the Owensboro, KY Symphony Orchestra in a performance of music by Kurt Weill, and six weeks as a strolling banjo player aboard the Lady Luck Riverboat Casino in Natchez, MS. In November 1995, Dan moved to San Diego to work with The Jackstraws, a group that presents costumed, themed acoustic music all over Southern California. He toured and recorded along the West Coast, and was hired by SeaWorld of California as a strolling entertainer in the Spring of 1999. In November 2000, Dan returned to the Washington, DC area to be near his family, and to re-immerse himself in the East Coast acoustic music world. By the end of 2001, he was working steadily as a solo performer and sideman, had toured cross-country twice, and was nominated by the Washington Area Music Association for Bluegrass Instrumentalist of the Year. In early May 2002, BanjerDan earned an enthusiastic response when he toured in Israel for two weeks, against the advice of friends, family, and the U.S. State Department’s official warnings. After headlining at the Jacob’s Ladder Folk Festival on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Dan travelled extensively in Israel, playing at folk clubs and house concerts at a time during which most American tourists and performers cancelled their travel plans. The Summer 2002 tour included stops at the Oregon Country Fair and Dan’s 4th consecutive appearance at the High Sierra Music Festival. Another highlight of 2002 was the PBS TV taping of “The World’s Largest Concert” at which Dan accompanied the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in an uptempo arrangement of “Wildwood Flower,” for broadcast in March 2003. BanjerDan’s first CD, “Old Stuff,” was released in January 2001. Among its 14 cuts are four of Dan’s originals. “Old Stuff” features some of the finest pickers and singers in the bluegrass/acoustic field, including Mike Auldridge, Jimmy Gaudreau, Pete Kennedy, Dave Giegerich, Tom Gray and Moondi Klein. Dan’s banjo, mandolin and dobro work appear on CDs by D.J. and the C.B. Pickers, Tim Flannery, Teagen McClain, James Durst, Joe Ross, and Honky Tonk Confidential. In addition to performing music, Dan is a journalist and music teacher. His articles have appeared in Bluegrass Unlimited, Acoustic Musician, Banjo Newsletter, and other magazines.
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