Kaeshammer returns to Hamilton with a fusion of boogie woogie and jazz

Toronto-based artist Michael Kaeshammer has traveled the world, touring in the United States, Canada, Europe and beyond. He will return to Hamilton and perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15 as part of the Fitton Center’s Entertainment Plus! Series.

We talked to singer, songwriter and piano player, Michael Kaeshammer, in a recent phone interview to find out what concertgoers can expect from the evening.

“I’m known for playing boogie woogie stride piano, kind of an older style of jazz, making it new and writing my own songs. That’s what I’ve been doing lately. I’m recording a new CD next month,” Kaeshammer said.

Although Kaeshammer draws on the tradition of early jazz, he writes and performs original material.

“I would call it early jazz, New Orleans style, because I grew up with that music and that’s all I listened to as a kid, what I know on the piano, what I love to play and it comes out naturally,” he said. “But, in the end, because I play a lot of classical at home, I love pop, 50’s and 60’s music and anything, really, and all of that stuff comes into the playing. And, that’s why I think it’s a little bit more contemporary, rather than a period piece.”

Over the past year, Kaeshammer has written about 50 new songs. He said he will choose 10 of the songs for his forthcoming self-produced, yet-to-be-titled release. He’s currently raising funds for the effort at www.pledgemusic.com/projects/michaelkaeshammer.

“It always starts with the song. For me at least, even before there’s a thought of an album,” he said.

Performing since the age of 16, Kaeshammer cited his dad’s record collection as one of his biggest influences. In 1996, Kaeshammer debuted with a project called Blue Keys on Alma Records. Since then, he has released six more albums, including his current effort, Kaeshammer, that came out in 2011 from Alert Music/Universal. His most recent disc reflects diverse musical styles, ranging from jazz and soul to pop and R&B. A few its song highlights include “Kisses in Zanzibar,” “Tightrope,” “Love Me or Leave Me” and “Remedy.”

“Audiences can expect a fun and unique evening. Michael is a gifted singer and songwriter, and he makes the music his own. He’ll add a touch of this and a touch of that to really entertain the audience,” said Pam Gruber, coordinator of public relations, marketing and special events at the Fitton Center.

As part of the Entertainment Plus! Concert Series at the Fitton Center, she said, the Saturday night series features eight programs this season that showcase a variety of entertainers – from jazz and comedy to orchestra sounds and Broadway favorites.

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