Here is a list of 10 great tenor banjo players who play jazz or early 20th century American pop music that you should check out if you haven't already. Of course there are many more artists that deserve to be on this list, but this is just a place to start. These artists are in no particular order.
Ryan Cavanaugh's innovative ideas of how and what is played on the 5-string banjo are occupied by few musicians alike. Hailing originally from North Carolina, Cavanaugh's first appearances as a child featured his hard-driving styles on WPAQ radio and with Doc Watson, Doug Dillard, and John McEuen. Cavanaugh is a champion of premier traditional banjo contests RockyGrass, MerleFest, FiddleFest and Renofest.
Adrian Raso is a respected guitarist/composer from Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Adrian has recorded two instrumental EPs and six full‐length instrumental albums. Black Mamba (2005) showcased Adrian’s stunning versatility and musicianship over a variety of styles, ranging from Gypsy to Mediterranean flavours. Adrian’s work is a fine example of the balance between commercially accepted music that is also readily embraced by the technically minded musician.
Austin Davis was fortunate enough to have been able to study basic to very advanced techniques with both Kerry Jones and Alan Munde. From single string practices to jazz in bluegrass a form, he soaked in as much as he could before joining the Josh Abbott Band. As a founding member, he has enjoyed trying to incorporate different styles of banjo into country music.
Seva is active in the New Orleans music scene and can be found performing on banjo and/or guitar with Lionel Ferbos and the Louisiana Shakers, Treme Brass Band, Greg Stafford and the Jazz Hounds, Dr. Michael White, Tommy Sancton, Clive Wilson and Lars Edegran as well as leading his own band the Storyville Stringband. He has played in numerous festivals and concerts in New Orleans and abroad and toured in Europe. In addition to performing Seva also composes music and teaches music and music integration in the New Orleans public schools. Since Katrina he's had 100's of public school students many of whom have performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Detroit Brooks, famed session and touring guitarist of the New Orleans music scene, has the most recognizable face in the city. An evening of his musical prowess, music critics, affection ados, or novices are testiment of his smooth yet infectious stroke based in solid fundamentals. Often admired by banjoists and guitarists world-wide, Brooks’ laid-back demeanor masks one of the most heralded and sought-after performer, songwriter, and session men of our time.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a contemporary swing revival band from Ventura, California in 1989 by their band leader Scotty Morris, player of a Deering Maple Blossom Plectrum banjo. These hep cats in classic 40’s style threads produce good-humored, foot tapping swing revival!