Kaeshammer - Michael Kaeshammer

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My dad was an organist and avid piano player. He loved Bach … couldn’t get enough. The piano bench was always so crammed with music books that the lid would barely close. And, among the concertos, fugues and etudes there was his guilty pleasure, a dog-eared songbook featuring works from Jelly Roll Morton. We both loved boogie, especially players with a powerful left hand stride. Sometime later, I bought him a CD from an emerging Canadian jazz pianist named Michael Kaeshammer. He never failed to mention how much he enjoyed that disc. For 2011, Michael Kaeshammer is back in the spotlight with Kaeshammer, a self-titled CD that reveals the full meal deal: Michael the piano player, Michael the songster/showman and Michael the singer. Yes, he’s found his voice on this disc and it’s pleasant enough. The songs are clever and pay plenty of homage to the New Orleans, jazz and boogie styles he’s well-versed in. Rendezvous for instance provides a brilliant introduction to the disc, a cue from one of his own all-time favorites, Robert Palmer’s Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley, recorded in New Orleans, a city Kaeshammer has fallen in love with. A treat for long-time fans is the inclusion of an audience favorite from his live performances that has never made it to disc before; a tasty instrumental rendition of Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready. What began as a sound check jam has turned into a sparkling interpretation that accentuates the huge talents of his longtime Mark et Marc rhythm section, drummer Mark McLean and bassist Marc Rogers. Coincidentally, it was Kaeshammer’s father who inspired him to take up stride piano in the first place. The way Michael tells it, “Dad and mom used to throw these dinner parties and after a couple of glasses of wine, my father would sit down at the piano and serenade the guests. I thought I had the coolest dad in the world!”