Boogie-Woogie in Bryan Park
A promise comes to life in Bryan Park when two exalted piano players arrive in Indiana next week. Local pianist Craig Brenner was recently awarded a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission to study with Bob Seeley and Big Joe Duskin -- among the greatest boogie-woogie and blues piano players, ever.
"I promised to use what I learned and help stage a large, outdoor concert and bring the artists to Bloomington, and to collaborate with other local organizations to make it happen," Brenner says.
Support came from Bloomington Parks and Recreation, which has made this the kickoff concert in its summer series. Parks and Rec recruited Canine Companions as a sponsor, while Brenner obtained additional support from the Bloomington Community Arts Commission and the mayor's office.
"They all have been 100 percent supportive since the very beginning," Brenner says.
Duskin died earlier this month. "He was an inspiration to me, and taught me to play 'Pinetop's Boogie-Woogie,'" said Brenner, who is dedicating his part of the concert to Big Joe. Brenner recruited Mark Braun, a.k.a. Mr. B, to play alongside Seeley.
"Bob Seeley is the best at what he does in the world, boogie-woogie and Harlem stride piano," Brenner says. "Mr. B has been hosting similar blues and boogie-woogie festivals in Michigan for over 10 years.
"We hope the community will recognize that this is a great opportunity for Bloomington to see some of the world's best piano players. I hope to do something like this annually."
Seeley will travel from Detroit and Mr. B from Ann Arbor. But the biggest logistical feat?
"It is challenging to obtain and move a grand piano in Bloomington for an outdoor concert," Brenner understates.
For more information contact Brenner at 334-0415 or , or visit www.craigbrenner.com.