"As Emeril would say, BAM - The essence!" - Hell's Kitchen 1998
"Classically trained with a doctorate in music from Columbia University, Mark Birnbaum graduated into keeping ragtime alive and serving as staff pianist on the popular Joe Franklin television show. This Manhattan based pianist can play everything, and continues to do so throughout the New York City metropolitan area."
Edward Jablonski, Official Biographer of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin & Harold Arlen. 2003
"As anyone who's caught one of his several hundred appearances on Joe Franklin's television show will know, Mark Birnbaum (who has a Ph.D. from Columbia) is the consummate ragtime piano specialist. He knows all of the classical rags by Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, Jelly Roll Morton - he can take any song you name (from "Sh-Boom" to "Amazing Grace") and convert it to ragtime."
Chip Deffaa, The New York Post, September 2, 1994
"Mark (Birnbaum) is Jerry Lee (Lewis) with a Ph.D! Ragtime jazz piano, Jelly Roll Morton, Debussy, Mozart - he plays it all"
Captain Lou Albano
"Elements of Gershwin on drugs."
Seconds Magazine: "The Art of The Interview: Mark Birnbaum - This Is Entertainment" (MJB)"
"Virtuoso piano styling is a lost art these days of inexpensive samplers and grade-school Electronica. Praise hail MJB for Mark Birnbaum, a New York City ivory-tickler with notable degrees of panache and finesse. Many of you are already familiar with Mr. Birnbaum's talents from his work as the staff pianist on Joe Franklin's long-running television show. Now he softly slips onto your stereo with "This Is Entertainment," a tasty offering of lovely and proficient renditions from the repertoires of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton and J.S. Bach. Birnbaum is to the Steinway what Yankee Stadium icon Eddie Layton is to the Hammond organ - and he's a Mephistophelian lounge lothario deserving of your easy listening. In Hip Hop parlance: yo, he's got mad skillz.
Hell's Kitchen Productions, 1998: Review of "Mark Birnbaum - This Is Entertainment"
Some Musical Reflections: Mark Birnbaum (MJB)
O.K. now, this is real music. Mark Birnbaum was the staff pianist on Joe Franklin's delightful and eclectic TV show. He might shush me if he knew I was going to tell you he holds a Doctorate in Music from Columbia University. He'd get shy if he knew I were going to tell you what a brilliant and accomplished musician he is, what a passionate and talented artist he is. He'd probably say, "Enough with that - listen and enjoy!"
'This Is Entertainment' is bold and brash, suave and subtle. There are wonderful Ragtime classics, blues numbers, classical selections and even a few original compositions. This truly is entertainment. As Emeril would say "BAM - the essence!"
I don't pretend to fully appreciate the genius of Dr. Birnbaum - I just enjoy any opportunity I have to experience it. Mark has a warm smile and a razor wit in a velvet demeanor. He is the consummate gracious entertainer and gentleman. This collection will stir you up in the way that great fun music ought to. If it doesn't, no offense, but you don't know music!
Influences: Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Art Tatum, Billy Joel, Elton John, Eubie Blake, Debussy, Scriabin, Glenn Gould, Count Basie, Cole Porter, Richard Rogers, Jerome Kern, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Scott, Vladimir Horowitz, George Gershwin, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, Billie Holiday, Louis Prima, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Merman, Kurt Weill, Berthold Brecht, Zez Confrey, Bing Crosby, Liberace, Al Jolson, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Bach, Mozart, Bessie Smith, Jule Styne, Earl Hines, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Cab Calloway, Josephine Baker, Harold Arlen, James P. Johnson, Lena Horne, Maurice Ravel, Delius, Beethoven, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Sammy Davis Jr., Benny Goodman, Max Morath, Cyril Scott, Dean Martin, Willie 'The Lion' Smith, Jospeh F. Lamb, King Joe Oliver, Little Richard, Anton Lavey, Bill Schimmel, Marvin Hamlish, Randy Newman, Sarah Vaughn, Fred Astaire, Xavier Cougat, Eddie Cantor, Leonard Bernstein, Rachmaninoff, Richard Rogers, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra.
Check out the artist's website:
2. Tiger Rag/ain't She Sweet
3. 12th St. Rag/Joe & Lou Talking
4. Happy Days Are Here Again/Take the A Train
5. Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue/California Here I Come
6. Primrose Lane ( Vallender)
7. The Entertainer
8. Poem op. 32 #1 (Scriabin)
9. Kitten On The Keys (Confrey)
10. Mr. Jelly Lord (Morton)
11. A Mexican Serenade (Joplin)
12. Kansas City Stomp (Morton)
13. Sidewalk Blues (Morton)
14. Maple Leaf Rag (Joplin)
15. Pineapple Rag (Joplin)
16. Black Bottom Stomp (Morton)
17. Toccata In D Minor (Bach)
18. Sonata #9 op. 68 (Scriabin)
19. Froggie Moore (Morton)
20. Henry's Rag (Birnbaum)
21. Lucifer Rising
22. Temple Of The Evening Star