The banjo, originally brought from Africa, has always been prominent in jazz music, but it was the exact intention of this album to document the use of the banjo as a featured SOLO instrument in the traditional jazz ensemble. Emmanuel Sayles was certainly a perfect selection for the task.
Born in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, in 1907, he was playing professionally at age 17, and, by 1926, he was with the Bebe Ridgeley Band and Emma Barrett. Sayles always received very wide acclaim, and in 1963, he was featured on national television (the TODAY show) shortly before this album was recorded.
Narvin Kimball (second banjo) and Jerome Green (string bass) renowned in their own right, played long-term engagements in every conceivable venue from steamboats to some of the most famous and legendary jazz bands in the world – Kimball with Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman, and Green with such notables as Johnny Handy and George Lewis (as well as a bandsman for the U.S. Air Force).