Jazz is an art form that has a history of occasionally spawning pop stars. Think of Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole, and more recently, Diana Krall and Harry Connick Jr. Young jazz star Michael Kaeshammer is on a path to enjoy such exalted popular status.
The handsome, boyish keyboard wonder still tears up the piano on a series of fleet-fingered, eclectic instrumentals. But, more impressive, his phenomenal keyboard technique now serves as singular, expressive punctuation to a canon of well-crafted originals and clever versions of songs by reggae star Jimmy Cliff, blues great Willie Dixon, and folk legend Ewan McColl. Michael even brings new life to well-worn standards like St. James Infirmary and I Found a New Baby.
Kaeshammer’s polished, but warm live shows pack concert halls across North America and Europe. Spiking his onstage patter with a droll, but quick-witted humour, the young pianist is a consummate entertainer. In 2009, on top of his own headline concerts, he did a national co-headline tour with Harry Manx followed by a 20 date theatre tour as Colin James’ special guest.
“Michael is like a thoroughbred racehorse,” explained veteran bassist David Piltch. “He has an air of confidence and a level of musical sophistication that is very unique. He’s an incredibly physical piano player, very sensitive, very strong. We had a great time working together,” Piltch continued, “because Michael is very open to personalizing the jazz history he knows so well.”
Classically trained in Germany before falling in love with boogie woogie piano, Kaeshammer has released four CDs of blues and jazz. 2003’s Strut featured Michael’s studio debut as a breathy, jazz vocalist.