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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
- * * * *
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
- 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
- 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,
- 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
- 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
- pianist's heartfelt singing, an aspect
of his show for which I feel he does not receive enough
- 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
- Cadence / Program Host: WEMU-FM,
- 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
- Blues and Jazz Writer for Detroit
- The Mr. B Trio
- Mark Braun &endash; Piano
- Kurt Krahnke &endash; Bass
- Andrew Conlin &endash;
- Roy Brooks &endash; Drums
- Pete Siers &endash; Drums on Thunder
& Lightning Boogie
- Mark Hynes &endash; Sax on My Sunday
- Dave Koether &endash; Tambourine on My
- Photography &endash; David
- Engineered by Jonas
- Produced by Jean-Michel
- Executive Producer &endash; Stephen
- MEGAWAVE Records Re-Issue:
- Remastered by John Palmer at
- 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,
- © 2007 Mark Lincoln Braun &
Megawave Corporation, P.O. Box 15219, Lansing, MI
- 1. My Sunday Best (Braun), solo
- 2. Deep Excavation (Braun), trio
- 3. Little Brother (Braun), trio
- 4. Swanee River Boogie (Foster/arr.
Braun), RB 5:31
- 5. La Piragua (J. Barros/arr. Braun),
- 6. Blues for a Carpenter (Brooks), RB
- 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
- 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
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Last updated August 2, 2021.
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