CD-273 Brennen Ernst "and His Hot Piano"
Brennen Ernst is a multi-instrument, multi-genre phenom who studies and performs music composed and recorded in the first half of the twentieth century. His interests and expertise include bluegrass, country, jazz, ragtime, western swing, old time Appalachian music and classic banjo.
Brennen’s first instrument, which he started on at age five, was piano. From the beginning, he was drawn to the older American styles on the instrument. He performed ragtime pieces at the Takoma Park JazzFest in Maryland at age thirteen. A year later, Brennen took up the five-string banjo, immediately homing in on the styles of Earl Scruggs, Don Reno and Dock Boggs, innovators of their respective days. Next came guitar, Django firat, of course, then Eddir Lang, George Barnes and many more.
Brennen doesn’t imitate any of the above named musicians. He incorporates all of their styles, plus a whole lot of other music that has come to his ear, into a unique brand of his own. I have heard him play Benny Goodman licks on the banjo, as well as a Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith tune on the Piano (Fiddler’s Dream on this album).
Already working full-time in music, Brennen plays five-string banjo in The Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show, a Texas bluegrass band. He also plays jazz guitar with Seattle based pianist Solomon Douglas.