Hammering on the Street- The John Brothers Piano Company

Apr 19, 2016

Credit John Brothers Piano Company


Credit Andrew Lorien / Flickr

It’s not always easy for street musicians, but on rare occasions they get a break.  In many cities, busking is not only a tough way to make a living, it’s also illegal.

The John Brother Piano Company was founded when two men… both named John… began dragging second hand pianos onto street corners to perform in their native Oakland, California.  They quickly developed a musical style rooted in the ragtime jazz of the 1920’s.  To add to the performance, they stripped the casing off their pianos, exposing the hammers for the audience to see.

In recent years they’ve added drums, a clarinet, and sometimes a trumpet to thicken their sound.  The clarinetist often climbs to the top of the piano, to amplify his instrument as well as be seen.   The sight of an exposed piano being played on a public sidewalk usually pulls in enough tip money for survival.  On rare occasions… it can earn them a bigger gig, or this week… a show in Hawai‘i.  Jimi Marks plays drums in The John Brothers Piano Company. 

 The John Brothers Piano Company plays INSIDE this evening (Thursday)….at the Blue Note Hawai‘i