Called "a fine and funky pianist" by Living Blues, pianist and composer Craig Brenner is a three-time recipient of Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist Program grants. A resident of Bloomington, Indiana, Craig has been voted "Best Musician" in Bloomington numerous times in the Bloomington Independent, and Craig & The Crawdads has been chosen best band.
A graduate of Florida Southern College who grew up in North Miami Beach, FL, Craig attended the Indiana University School of Music from 1976 through 1980, studying with composer John Eaton, pianists Joseph Rezits and Enrica Cavallo Gulli, and jazz educator David Baker. Prior to moving to Indiana in 1976, Craig studied with jazz pianist Wally Cirillo and classical pianist Elizabeth Fishbein. Craig has also studied with and performed multiple times with boogie woogie and stride master Bob Seeley and with the late blues pianist Big Joe Duskin through one of the grants from the Indiana Arts Commission.
Craig performs solo and with his groups at blues, boogie woogie and jazz festivals and venues around the world. He has performed with Bo Didley and opened shows for B. B. King, C. J. Chenier, Queen Ida, Buckwheat Zydeco, Gary Burton, Richard Thompson, Wayne Toups, Honeyboy Edwards, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, the Radiators, Duke Robillard, Jimmy Rogers, and Terrance Simien, among others.
Backstage Boogie (1990), Craig's first recording, is all instrumental, with Craig on piano and Dan Hostetler on drums. Play it Again, Professor! (1995), includes conga drummer and Professor Longhair collaborator Alfred "Uganda" Roberts, members of Craig & The Crawdads and guests, including drummers Kenny Aronoff and Tim Brookshire, guitarists Gordon Bonham and Stuart Norton, bassists Brian Lappin and John Huber, tenor sax-man Dennis Riggins, and trombonists Tim Riggins and Dave Pavolka. The jazzy Man At the Piano (1997) features Craig & The Crawdads, with guest vocalist Lauren Robert. Window On the Soul (2002) includes ten original compositions and features Craig's sons Eli and Nate Brenner as well as Bonham, Norton, Brookshire, Pavolka, James Campbell, Jeff Chapin, Joe Donnelly, Bob Dubinski, Pat Harbison, Janiece Jaffe, Jane McLeod, Jerry Morris, Sonja Rasmussen, Sue Swaney, Pete Wilhoit and others. Live to Love (2009) by Craig & The Crawdads consists of all original music, with the first appearance on record of expressive vocalist Lori Brenner.