Mr. B’s Annual Birthday Bounce Mr. B’s Annual Birthday Bounce

Mark Braun, a.k.a. Mr. B

Mr. B’s Annual Birthday Bounce

"Champion Jack" by John Pappas





Mr. B’s Annual Birthday Bounce

Boogie Woogie with Mark Lincoln Braun and drawings by John Pappas

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Call to get on the waitlist!

  • $15 General Admission
  • $10 Student
  • Mark Braun, piano
  • John Pappas, visual artist

Event Details

SOLDOUT - To join the ticket waitlist please call 734-769-2999

This year Mr. B and visual artist John Pappas have collaborated to provide an evening of boogie woogie and blues piano combined with visual art depicting some of the blues greats.  During the evening Mr. B will play selections from the musicians Pappas has portrayed, and offer some stories and anecdotes relating to each (some of whom he knew personally).

John Pappas"After volunteering to do some design work for Mark Braun's (a.k.a. Mr. B) Joybox Express, I've had the good fortune to become friends with him. After discussing a possible collaboration and in an effort to combine Mark's musical prowess with my drawings, we decided to "illustrate" Mr. B's Birthday Bash. Mark chose work from several blues and boogie woogie greats and asked me to create a portrait for each player.

Inspired in part by religious icons, the portraits have been drawn in ink on hinged, three-pieced wood panels. Incidentally, Mark supplied the woodworking that was needed to prepare the panels. When open they are roughly 24" wide and 21" tall."

What is Mr. B's Annual Birthday Bounce? The Michigan Daily also wanted to know more during their last interview with Mr. B:

“(Boogie woogie) came from the Deep South. As it relates to pianists and piano-playing, there was a huge movement of pianists in the late 1920s and 1930s that took the blues, and took elements that they liked of it,” Braun explained. “They were influenced by the way they traveled from job to job in the deep South, (which) was on freight trains.

“It became a very effervescent, outgoing, extroverted and happy way of playing the blues, and it became what we call boogie woogie,” Braun added.

As the performance approaches, Braun is excited to bring his extraordinary energy and talent to the Kerrytown Concert House stage.

“My birthday falls in mid-February. It’s just a way for me to celebrate. It’s a chance for me to play at one of my favorite venues locally. I don’t have to be halfway around the world.”

As he prepares for his "Birthday Bounce" performance, Braun hopes more people will want to experience the musical styles he holds so close to his heart.

“It’s just a reality that there are not many people left who play this style of music anymore. Even around the whole world, there aren’t a lot of people,” Braun said. “I would say if you’ve never heard it before, it’s a chance to hear something that is a little rare and unusual from someone who’s been doing it their whole life, loves doing it and loves showing that I love it when I play (Arumugam, 2010).”

Read the full article here



Mark Braun

Full of vitality and soul, boogie woogie piano has a rich legacy.  Steeped in the tradition, but not hemmed in by it, MR. B. has earned the reputation as one of the best there is in this dynamic style.  Learning his craft first-hand from masters like Little Brother Montgomery, Boogie Woogie Red, and Blind John Davis has given B. a passionate commitment to this vanishing art and a maturity beyond his years.  But, he's equally determined to express his own ideas, thereby giving the tradition new life and transcending rigid categories.

Mr. B was born and raised in Flint, Michigan.  He gravitated to Ann Arbor in the 70's where the Blind Pig was an important venue for boogie and blues piano.  While learning the tradition and developing his own approach, B. was also listening to a variety of jazz pianist, especially those with strong blues roots such as Ray Bryant and Horace Silver.  This broad range of interest enables his to feel equally at home playing boogie woogie classics with authentic fervor and expanding the tradition into a lively new setting with a jazz orchestra.

Mr. B's diversity is much in evidence in a live performance, which can include electrifying solo piano, soulful vocals, lyrical whistling, and occasional stories about the music and the masters that have touched his life.  He has performed from coast to coast and throughout Europe, Canada, and Mexico in roadhouses, festivals and concert halls.  He has also appeared on numerous National Public Radio broadcasts, including "Mountain Stage," "Good Evening," "Our Front Porch," "The Flea Market," " At the Bride," and "All Things Considered."

Mr. B.'s seven critically acclaimed recordings also demonstrate his breadth and originality.  There are three solid releases as a soloist, a remarkable session with legendary jazz greats J.C. Heard and Marcus Belgrave (Partners in Time Blind Pig Records), and one featuring B.'s own trio and duets with world-class drummist Roy Brooks (My Sunday Best, Schoolkids Records).  B.'s recent collaboration with the 15 piece Bird of Paradise Orchestra (Hallalujah Train, Schoolkids Records) has produced an original and explosive blend of boogie, blues and big band jazz.  Most recently, he appears on John Hammond's Found True Love and Duke Robillard's Dangerous Place, among many others.

"Today there are not many devoted to playing boogie and blues piano.  Fortunately, Mr. B's passion for showcasing and extending the tradition makes him a major exponent of an essential form of American music.  He should be taking care of business for many more years."  (George Klein)

John Pappas


ART EXHIBIT: January 31 -  February 26, 2012: Drawings by John Pappas

John Pappas is a graphic designer and art director working in Ann Arbor. He enjoys drawing in his free time, primarily for his own amusement. He lives in Chelsea, is married to an artist, and has two college-aged children.

Exhibits are available for viewing Monday – Friday from 9:30 am to 5 pm, during public concerts and by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment, call 734-769-2999.