© Submitted photo
SUMMERSIDE – Harbourfront Theatre welcomes Michael Kaeshammer back to their stage for one performance only, Sunday, Sept. 8, at 7:30 p.m. A gifted singer and songwriter, and an explosively talented piano player, Kaeshammer’s music is described as a vast store of jazz, boogie woogie, soul, pop and R&B influences, served up fresh, piping hot, and with a huge helping of joy on the side.
While his fiery style incorporates elements of his early influences – the New Orleans sound of Fats Waller, Art Tatum and James Booker – Kaeshammer also takes his cue from one of his own all-time favourite records, Robert Palmer’s “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley,” recorded in New Orleans with influential local funk outfit, The Meters, in 1974.
As the Montreal Gazette’s Bernard Perusse says: “He’s a showman. And showmanship is what makes people talk… If you haven’t seen him live, you haven’t really experienced him in his true element.”
“Technically brilliant and a spectacle…” says Calgary blogger, Tim Tamashiro. “Like taking a Ferrari for a drive through winding mountain highways and then going for a gourmet meal. It excites all of your senses.”
When Kaeshammer steps on stage he’ll greet you warmly, as an honoured guest. He’ll play a song like “Rendezvous.” A comfortable start, to showcase his fiery piano chops and make you feel at home – the equivalent of taking your coat and hat and showing you around the place.
Just about the time you’re getting curious about how this guy learned to do what he does so well, he’ll tell you with a tune like his signature cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” and continue with a set of songs drawn from Kaeshammer records past and present. From covers like Peter Tosh’s “Stop That Train,” to the title track of 2009’s “Lovelight,” to his latest work. Breaking it down with freshly recorded, pop-inspired tracks like “The You and Me” and the classic R&B fuelled “Heartbeat.”
Kaeshammer’s performances, on record and on stage, are an invitation to join the party. He doesn’t play at you. He plays with you. At one of his shows, you’re all in it together – not only part of the story, but virtually part of the band.
“For me the performance is as much about the energy coming off the stage as the energy coming from the audience,” said Kaeshammer. “It’s about being myself, writing from the heart and showing my love for life. That’s what I want to convey. After the show, people ask me, ‘Do you really have that much fun?’ And I say, ‘You don’t know the half of it. It’s even more exhilarating than it looks.’”
On stage and on record it’s all about drawing the audience in. That’s where the joy is, pure and simple.