Musicians who travel the countryside by bicycle are rare, but not unheard of. It’s relatively easy to stash a cornet into a saddlebag or sling a banjo over one’s back.
Mr. B’s Joybox Express takes this a gigantic step forward by rolling an upright piano up on a bicycle trailer and hauling ass down the road.
Today the five athlete-musicians (musician-athletes) are just beginning the second week of a 2,000-mile bicycle road tour along the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca, MN, to New Orleans.
They’ll be stopping in at schools along the way to share their message about the American art forms of the blues and jazz. They also demonstrate the importance and fun of keeping fit.
Mr. B is pianist Mark Braun, an accomplished jazz, blues and boogie-woogie performer from Michigan. His 350-pound piano is carried on a trailer designed by bike-builder Mark Nobilette of Longmont, CO. Three cyclists are attached to the trailer and power it along.
The group expects to stop in dozens of cities for school concerts and other gatherings on its 95-day trip to New Orleans. If you’re on the route, this would definitely be worth a visit. And a ride-along.
You can follow their travels on their blog, or check out the upcoming concert dates. Although these are scheduled, it sounds like Mr. B’s Joybox Express will rip the cover off the piano and play just about anywhere there’s an audience along the route.
Speaking of cornets and bicycles, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum is wrapping up a 1,800-mile musical tour of the West Coast. He performs Sept. 29 with bassist Mark Dresser at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.