Michael Kaeshammer review…May 30, 2018…





Canadian keyboard master Michael Kaeshammer has several Juno Award nominations, (the Canadian equivalent to our Grammy Awards), within the jazz idiom, and, for his latest release, he does, indeed, offer up “Something New.”  This time, he ventured way down yonder to the Treme District of New Orleans, specifically to the Esplanade Studios to create this mellow-fine set of eleven cuts of prime jazz mixed with a shot of blues, courtesy of several famous blues-renowned guests.

One of those guests, drummer Johnny Vidacovich, is strong throughout this set, but shines on the opener.  It’s a cool update on “Route 66,” this time with Michael and the fellows rollin’ thru Ferriday on the way to the Big Easy, taking that “Scenic Route.”  Up next, Curtis Salgado is on harp and vocals on the second-line romp of “Do You Believe,” with its powerful message of love and unity.  “She’s Gone” is a song about just that–Jim Byrnes is on vocal as his girl up and turned “together to alone,” with Michael’s loping piano augmented by Amos Garrett on guitar and Sea Level’s iconic Chuck Leavell on the Wurlitzer.  “Who Are You” features Colin James on vocals and BTO’s Randy Bachman on guitar, and it urges us not to forget those who are less fortunate, and  “step outside your comfort zone” to make the world a better place.  A deeply-personal love song features Cyril Neville on vocals, vowing to move “Heaven And Earth” to prove his love.

We had two favorites, both featuring solo performances from Michael.  First is a humorous look at other regions across the world and what they have to offer, but, “Dixie Has The Blues,” done up in all her second-line finery.  And, ever since seeing the Harlem Globetrotters in our adolescence, we’ve been in love with that girl that has “two left feet, but oh so neat,” that “Sweet Georgia Brown.”  Michael presents it herein as a dazzling piano instrumental, taking it to dizzying heights, much the same as the ‘Trotters did with basketballs.

For Michael Kaeshammer, the unique and enticing “Something New” is a hit on all counts.  Excellent musicianship and a slew of special guests make this one a “can’t miss.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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