Mr. B (Mark Braun)
The legacy of the blues piano has recently lost some of its greatest creators with the deaths of Little Brother Montgomery, Blind John Davis, Roosevelt Sykes and James Booker- but there is a gentleman in our midst who not only pays grand tribute to the original masters but is embellishing the rich tradition with a style and voice all his own.
Mr. B has already established himself as a force to be reckoned with. He is an electrifying performer and creative individualist who puts it all on the line with every show, using his knowledge of seven decades of boogie to good advantage. This hard working pianist has been playing his infectious brand of blues and boogie for audiences coast to coast and all over Europe, Canada and Mexico - from roadhouses to the Pianissimo Series at the National Center for the Arts in Ottawa.
Mr. B was born Mark Lincoln Braun in Flint, Michigan in 1957 and moved to Ann Arbor as a teenager to get closer to his idols. There he encountered keyboard masters Blind John Davis, Boogie Woogie Red, and Little Brother Montgomery, who became a special favorite. Following a lengthy stint with Steve Nardella Band, Mr. B struck out on his own with a pair of solo albums before cutting Shining The Pearls for Blind Pig in 1986. His second Blind Pig album, Partners In Time, was released in 1988 and also featured veteran jazz drummer J.C. Heard. Mr. B cites Otis Spann, Sunnyland Slim, and the more modern blues-based jazz pianist Gene Harris as his favorite influences.
While being a skilled and far reaching pianist, Mr. B. is also an adept storyteller, taking his cues from the bluesmen he has hung out with - Blind John, Little Brother, Sunnyland Slim and Champion Jack Dupree, among others. His great spirit and big singing voice, combined with his lyrical whistling have thrilled audiences worldwide.
Mr. B has become one of the top performers of this classic genre. His unflagging sense of history and his joy of playing will assuredly guarantee that he will carry on this heritage for many years to come.
The future of blues piano is in good hands with Mr. B.