Q&A with acclaimed pianist/singer Michael Kaeshammer, has interwoven elements of jazz, blues, boogie-woogie into his signature brand of music

"The only interesting thing is what makes one person different from the other. It is important to know who you are in life, your values, your approach to every day, your purpose in life, etc. Only then can you be creative and express something creatively valuable."

Michael Kaeshammer: The Art of B/W Keys

Music is a great and powerful connector. There’s nothing quite like hearing the palpable and electric connection between musicians in an inspired performance, or feeling an intrinsic connection to a song that causes your emotions to take flight. Making that connection happen on his new recording is acclaimed Canadian pianist and singer Michael Kaeshammer with live-off-the-floor performances on his joyful and inspired new album, The Warehouse Sessions, set for world-wide release on October 7th from Linus Entertainment. A delectable concoction of funky soul, gospel revival and rollicking boogie-woogie, The Warehouse Sessions showcases the fine-tuned prowess of a trio that has spent countless hours together on stage and off, honing their musical connection. Not wanting that connection to dissipate, Kaeshammer, bassist David Piltch and drummer Johnny Vidacovich gathered at Bryan Adams’ famed Warehouse Studio in Vancouver to capture their unique symbioses together in more permanent form.

(Michael Kaeshammer / Photo © by Tine Acke)

A lost-in-the-moment capture of the multi-JUNO and WCMA winner and his hot trio, the punchy lead-off single, “You’ve Got It In Your Soulness,” is a lovingly reverent but progressive take on the Les McCann jazz-soul song that first appeared on McCann’s and trumpet player Eddie Harris’ 1969 Grammy nominated live album, Swiss Movement. A mélange of styles masterfully conveyed is a hallmark of Kaeshammer’s versatility and inclusive approach to making music. Throughout decades as a professional performer, first in Germany and then Canada after making Vancouver Island his family home, the double JUNO winner has interwoven elements of classical, jazz, blues, boogie-woogie, stride, and even pop into his signature brand of music. Sure, you can always distill music down to those 12 simple notes but, the wondrous art you can build them into is the magic. On The Warehouse Sessions and all the music he’s released since his 1996 debut album, Blue Keys, Kaeshammer displays his keen handle on creating that art for all of us to enjoy.

Interview by Michael Limnios      Michael Kaeshammer, 2020 Interview @ blues.gr

Special Thanks: Michael Kaeshammer & Mark Pucci Media

How do you think that you have grown as an artist since you first started making music?

At the beginning of my career I was still very much focused on boogie-woogie and stride piano. Over the years, my writing and playing has evolved into my own style because I got interested in songwriting and popular music. How you evolve as a person directly reflects on how you evolve as an artist. I look forward to the evolution in the future as well.

What has remained the same about your music-making process?

My music-making process has evolved just as much as my songwriting has evolved over the years. You learn things along the way from trial and error and from working with your peers that make you adjust your music-making process. The only thing that has stayed the same is that I’m still hooked on music more than anything else and that it excites me more than anything.

"At the beginning of my career I was still very much focused on boogie-woogie and stride piano. Over the years, my writing and playing has evolved into my own style because I got interested in songwriting and popular music. How you evolve as a person directly reflects on how you evolve as an artist. I look forward to the evolution in the future as well." (Michael Kaeshammer / Photo © by Tine Acke)

How do you describe your new recording "The Warehouse Sessions" sound and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

The concept was simple... Let’s call a tune and then, let’s record it.  These are all first takes, loose and energetic. When I play, I don’t worry about if it’s jazz or pop or classical or whatever; I just play what I hear and let the music decide what it wants to be. Sure, there are different styles, different eras, different approaches, but when you really look at it, it’s all just music based on 12 notes.

Do you have any interesting stories about the making of the new album The Warehouse Sessions?

We met at Bryan Adams’ Warehouse Studio in Vancouver to record a new album, a different album. We got through the songs so quickly that we ended up with two extra days at the studio. We decided to call tunes and record them live off the floor, one takes and just having fun making music together. This is what turned into the album THE WAREHOUSE SESSIONS. It was one of the best musical experiences I have had in a studio setting.

What do you hope people continue to take away from your music? What do you think is key to a music life well lived?

I am a very positive person and love life. I try to convey that in my writing and playing, it is a lifestyle and approach that I want to inspire other people with. It means a lot when I get feedback from my fans about how my music has enhanced or even changed their life. The music is just a vehicle to get to the deeper things that matter in life. Music can and should heal and inspire.

What's the balance in music between technique and soul? What musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?

Having technique is relative, even in the classical world there are many different approaches to technique, no matter if it’s relating to the piano or to singing. Good technique means that you can do things effortless, it should not be in the way and good technique should give you the possibility to fullfil your creative ambitions and what you want to say. It’s all about heart and soul, technique is a means to get there, but it’s not necessary if you can get there some other way.

"I am a very positive person and love life. I try to convey that in my writing and playing, it is a lifestyle and approach that I want to inspire other people with. It means a lot when I get feedback from my fans about how my music has enhanced or even changed their life. The music is just a vehicle to get to the deeper things that matter in life. Music can and should heal and inspire." (Michael Kaeshammer / Photo © by Tine Acke)

John Coltrane said "My music is the spiritual expression of what I am...". How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life?

The only interesting thing is what makes one person different from the other. It is important to know who you are in life, your values, your approach to every day, your purpose in life, etc. Only then can you be creative and express something creatively valuable. John Coltrane was right when he said that music is a spiritual expression of oneself. Once you tap into that thought process it is easy to be creative and find your own voice in music. It really isn’t as hard as some people think, you just have to stop thinking so much and just be.

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