Jazz and boogie woogie pianist extraordinaire Michael Kaeshammer returns to Victoria for the first time in two years, with live performances Dec. 10 at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney and the next night at the McPherson Playhouse. Photo by Tine Acke

Jazz and boogie woogie pianist extraordinaire Michael Kaeshammer returns to Victoria for the first time in two years, with live performances Dec. 10 at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney and the next night at the McPherson Playhouse. Photo by Tine Acke

Juno Award-winner laying the Hammer down in Victoria

Jazz and boogie woogie pianist Michael Kaeshammer returns to where it all began

To say the world is Michael Kaeshammer’s oyster is an understatement for this talented pianist and composer.

Over three weeks in October and early November, the two-time Juno Award winner (and eight-time nominee) played 18 well-attended shows in China. It was his eighth time touring the country: while he admits to knowing knows few phrases in Mandarin or Cantonese, his musical language “is universal.”

Home for a well-earned rest on the Saanich Peninsula for a handful of days afterward, the German-born, Victoria-raised jazz/boogie-woogie piano king jetted over to Europe for a Nov. 24 concert in Barcelona and visited family along the way.

Kaeshammer is looking forward to the upcoming dates at home, his first theatre shows here since 2016: he’ll play a sold-out show Dec. 10 at the Mary Winspear Centre and a Victoria Blues Society-hosted concert Dec. 11 at the McPherson Playhouse. At 41, many years removed from his days as a teen sensation playing at Hermann’s Jazz Club, he said he’s enjoying playing and connecting with audiences around the world more than ever.

But getting back home?

“It’s the best,” he told Monday in between loads of laundry during his brief pit stop here. “First of all, I’m in love with Vancouver Island and I’m so happy I live here.”

Known for being productive on the road, even during his down time – he wrote much of the material for his new album, Something New, on the trains in China between shows last year – he also takes full advantage of just being home, noodling around on his piano with whatever style of music he wants, for his own enjoyment. “I love playing at home, as much as I love performing for the home audience.”

That said, he figures as long as he can communicate on stage the joy he feels in performing and creating musically, he’ll keep on touring.

Local audiences are in for a treat, as the rhythm section that joined Kaeshammer on the album – drummer Johnny Vidacovich (Professor Longhair) and bassist David Piltch (k.d. lang) – will help present songs from Something New, as well as a selection of the pianist’s favourites.

For the new album, recorded in New Orleans at the historic Esplanade Studios in the heart of the Treme district, producer Kaeshammer shared the spotlight with a series of guest performers that included the likes of Colin James and Randy Bachman, Cyril Neville, Jim Byrnes and Amos Garrett. The result is a combination of blues, jazz and soul that further expands the piano man’s repertoire and demonstrates his versatility.

“New Orleans and the whole piano culture, it’s like the records my dad introduced me to,” he said. “And instead of recording and creating the touring band (in Canada), we decided to record where the sound already is. That was really fun.”

His previous album, No Filter, his first effort at self-producing, was nominated for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year at the 2018 Junos. While he’s not one for awards galas, he attended the event in Vancouver and enjoyed connecting with former collaborator Michael Buble. While the record didn’t win, Kaeshammer said being nominated helped prove to himself that taking on the producing role as well didn’t mean any compromises in the quality of the record.

But he still has special memories of the old days, when he would scour Monday Magazine to find venues to pitch gigs for himself.

“Playing in Victoria is such a special thing for me. I remember seeing some great shows at the McPherson; for me it’s reminding me of when I was 18.”

Tickets for the Dec. 11 show, if still available, can be purchased online at rmts.bc.ca, by calling 250-386-6121 or stopping by the Royal or McPherson theatre box offices. To find out more about Kaeshammer, visit his website at kaeshammer.com.

editor@mondaymag.com

JazzLive music

Just Posted

Shaelyn Sinnott of Oak Bay Volunteer Services delivers groceries for client Irene Kenny. The organization has kept up delivery of food and medication throughout all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Oak Bay Volunteer Services)
Oak Bay volunteers keep critical services running

Duo drove between Oak Bay and Jubilee three days a week, twice a day during pandemic

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Island Savings kick-starts the Equipped to Heal campaign with $120,000. (Courtesy Victoria Hospitals Foundation)
Latest Victoria Hospitals Foundation campaign targets $1M for mental health

Goal is to outfit new 19-bed unit at Eric Martin Pavilion

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read