Street closures around the NAC during Ottawa Race Weekend

Michael Kaeshammer

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On 2011’s KAESHAMMER (Alert Music/Universal), Michael Kaeshammer doesn’t simply wow you with his chops; he invites you in and talks to you. Yes, he’s a gifted singer and songwriter, a highly trained technician and interpreter and an incendiary piano player. But also, on stage and off, he’s a consummate host.

Recorded at Toronto’s Drive Shed and Keen Studios in 2010 and produced by Ron Lopata (Jacksoul, Ron Sexsmith) KAESHAMMER plays like a love letter to life – A set of original songs as playful as they are contagious. Literally, a feast for your ears that blends ingredients from Kaeshammer’s vast store of jazz, soul, pop and R&B influences, served up fresh, piping hot, and with a huge helping of joy on the side.

That joy is clear from the first note of KAESHAMMER, as is Kaeshammer’s uncanny ability to take ‘a bit of musical this’ and ‘a touch of musical that’ and create a sound that is uniquely his own – A singular brand of pop tinged jazz that owes as much to Billy Joel and Paul McCartney as to Professor Longhair and Albert Ammons on hook laden love songs like ‘A Little Bit Of Love.

Like the dinners he whips up for friends in his East Toronto loft, Kaeshammer’s shows are prepared with your full participation, and never from a set menu. They’re a party, constantly evolving and likely to explode in a wild flurry of joy that’s as undeniable as it is contagious at any second.

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. 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’.”

A night with Michael and his band isn’t the kind of show where you just sit, watch and applaud politely every now and then. Their goal isn’t to intimidate you with the scholarly depth of their music, it’s to entertain, inform and include you – A wild ride with no fixed destination except where he feels he and the crowd want to go.

On stage and on record it’s all about drawing the audience in. That’s where the joy is, pure and simple. And while joy is something Michael Kaeshammer has never had difficulty expressing, on KAESHAMMER, his third record on Alert Music, the German born, Canadian bred pianist expresses it more enthusiastically than ever.