My Sunday Best album cover
MEGAWAVE Records MEGW 0182
iTunes link

Blues and boogie-woogie pianist Mark Lincoln Braun (a.k.a. Mr. B) has become one of the premiere purveyors of a vanishing art. Having learned his craft first-hand from the early masters, he is a rare living link to the first generation of blues and boogie pianists. Steeped in the rich legacy of this tremendously exciting music, Mr. B learned directly from blues and boogie legends like Little Brother Montgomery, Boogie Woogie Red, and Blind John Davis. In demand for both educational programs and concert performances, he has performed coast to coast and throughout Europe, Canada, Mexico, and South America. He has also appeared on numerous National Public Radio broadcasts.

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This writer had the good fortune to be born, raised, and educated in Southeastern Michigan, traditionally a mecca of culture and music, particularly jazz and blues. Somewhere just North of Flint, Mark Lincoln Braun, was raised and educated. Our mutual love for piano brought us together in the mid-70's, and since the first boogie lick I heard him lay down, he has been a musician that has been a constant source of admiration and fascination, as well as a guaranteed good time.

Braun, a.k.a. Mr. B, works in an idiom ignored by many. He has released four solid documents of recorded work, the most recent with the late, great jazz drummer J.C. Heard. When J died, B felt his loss deeply, and I felt for him more than myself. B has overcome that numbing sensation, teamed with yet another great Detroit drum master in Roy Brooks, gained new perspective, and a renewed energy in producing this, his fifth album.
The site for these historic recordings is the Kerrytown Concert House, a small but mighty venue in Ann Arbor, Michigan that has been filling a void for piano mavens like myself. The extraordinary Steinway grand has been fingered by some legends as of late &endash; Jay McShann, Ralph Sutton, Dave McKenna, Red Richards, Ray Bryant, Oliver Jones, and other heavies and locals too numerous to mention.
In that tiny L shaped living room atmosphere these sessions were taped, unique to any recording venue you'd care to name. There B, Brooks, and bassist Kurt Krahnke made some memorable music, at times stopped midpoint to get it right, other times rambling onward with the knowledge that what was taking place bordered
magical. For me as a listener, in that wonderful room, I couldn't help but marvel at the progress B has made. He plays boogie like nobody else. His style now incorporates shades of the original funk/jazz masters like Brooks' former boss Horace Silver. His left hand, now more pronounced, echoes McCoy Tyner or even Gerri Allen. Touches of Randy Weston, Cedar Walton, or Ahmad Jamal occasionally creep in.
But it is the incessant groove that hits home, for B, me, and hopefully you. Perhaps infectious is too mild a term, for the music wakes you, grabs you by the rear, and
shakes your soul. You cannot help but feel joy and purpose.
Dig the urgency of "Thunder and Lightning Boogie," like a juggernaut that can't be stopped, or the introspective Columbian folk song "La Piragua," or the souful "My
Sunday Best" dedicated to the Ann Arbor D.J./historian/poet/florist Dr. Arwulf. Note the great empathy B and Brooks feel in the music you hear. And check out the
pianist's heartfelt singing, an aspect of his show for which I feel he does not receive enough credit.
This is a project worthy of the general public's attention, but these liners only speak to the informed and the converted. To the world at large, the immense talent of Mr. B is a closely guarded secret. Hopefully, this recording will let the cat out of the bag, for good.
Michael G. Nastos
Jazz & Blues Writer: Ann Arbor News, Downbeat,
Cadence / Program Host: WEMU-FM, Ypsilanti, MI
Why did Mark Braun employ the extraordinary hard bop drummer Roy Brooks for this recording? Listen to "Blues for the Carpenter's Saw" and "Swanee". Roy hammers the sure'nuff blues right out of a saw. He uses his invention, the breathe-a-phone, to make his drums sing. Gimmicks? No &endash; just unusually direct, physical means of expressing emotion. That's what the blues, and Roy Brooks, are all about. He's been at it since the early 1950's, first as a mainstay of the Horace Silver band in the late '50's, then as a ubiquitous, diverse sideman with Abdullah Ibrahim, Dexter Gordon, Pharoah Sanders, Wes Montgomery, and Charles Mingus, recording over 50 albums. This sly, ferocious drummer writes music that captures the personalities of his jazz heroes, his own bands, The Artistic Truth and the Aboriginal Percussion Choir, throw great balls of bop fire, jungle colors, and primal rhythms into the air. Braun says that playing boogie with a good drummer is like flying. With Brooks stoking the pots, it must resemble being strapped to a quiet, agile rocket.
Jim Dulzo
Frog Island Festival Director
Blues and Jazz Writer for Detroit News
The Mr. B Trio
Mark Braun &endash; Piano
Kurt Krahnke &endash; Bass
Andrew Conlin &endash; Drums
Roy Brooks &endash; Drums
Pete Siers &endash; Drums on Thunder & Lightning Boogie
Mark Hynes &endash; Sax on My Sunday Best
Dave Koether &endash; Tambourine on My Sunday Best
Photography &endash; David Smith
Engineered by Jonas Berzanskis
Produced by Jean-Michel Creviere
Executive Producer &endash; Stephen Bergman
MEGAWAVE Records Re-Issue:
Remastered by John Palmer at Andro-Media
Jean-Michel would like to thank Mark for giving me a chance, Steve for giving me a break, everyone at Schoolkids' for inspiration, crowd, Mom, Hazen, Keith, Deanna, Paul, Wendy, Bill, Greg, Randy, Jim, Al Nalli's, Zingerman's, Sony, Tascam, Digidesign, and Eltekon.
© 1991 Pen-Tone Music, BMI;
© 2007 Mark Lincoln Braun & Megawave Corporation, P.O. Box 15219, Lansing, MI 48901-5219
1. My Sunday Best (Braun), solo 6:13
2. Deep Excavation (Braun), trio 8:50
3. Little Brother (Braun), trio 6:41
4. Swanee River Boogie (Foster/arr. Braun), RB 5:31
5. La Piragua (J. Barros/arr. Braun), RB 4:13
6. Blues for a Carpenter (Brooks), RB 5:40
7. Thunder & Lightning Boogie (Braun), Siers 3:45
8. When I Lost My Baby (Blind John Davis), RB 7:30
9. New 44 Blues (arr. Braun), solo 4:30
10. Roll'em Pete (P. Johnson/J. Turner), RB 4:44
11. Deep South Blues - To Sunnyland (Braun), RB 7:09
12. My Sunday Best (Braun), trio 4:32


Mr. B Bio



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Last updated February 25, 2013.
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