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Michael Kaeshammer: Kaeshammer (2011)

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Michael Kaeshammer: Kaeshammer It doesn't take a Charles Darwin to realize that the true evolutionary inheritors of Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
1915 - 1998
vocalist
's and Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
1920 - 2002
vocalist
's brand of "popular" music were Elton John
Elton John
Elton John
b.1946
piano
and Billy Joel, and not Harry Connick, Jr.
Harry Connick, Jr.
Harry Connick, Jr.
b.1967
piano
or Michael Buble
Michael Buble
Michael Buble
b.1975
vocalist
, the latter being more keepers of the flame than the former innovators. Had popular music not dissembled into the current confused concoction of country, rock and hip-hop, where might it have ended up? At the door of German/Canadian Michael Kaeshammer, that's where.

Kaeshammer debuted with Blue Keys (Alma Records) in 1996. Since that time, he has released six more recordings, including this eponymous release. The staggering reality of Kaeshammer is the fact that so much talent—composing, singing, instrumental chops, and arranging—comes so densely packed in a single person. It seems inconceivable that with such a discography, including Kaeshammer in particular, the singer is not more widely known. Because this is music more infectious than the flu.

Kaeshammer's stylistic range is as deep as it is wide, ranging from the stride piano of the 1930s Willie "The Lion" Smith
Willie
Willie "The Lion" Smith
1897 - 1973
piano
("Tightrope") to the Fender Rhodes of the Faces' Ian McLagan ("Kisses in Zanzibar") and singing from 1920's show tunes (an inspired and revamped "Love Me or Leave Me") to the Christopher Cross-meets-Bruce Hornsby style on "Remedy." Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
1930 - 2004
piano
, Leon Russell, Lindsey Buckingham, Elton John, Don Henley, and so on are all here in a sound that can only be called Kaeshammer's own.

Kaeshammer's songwriting is evenly informed by the last 70 years of popular music. The disc opener, "Rendezvous," recalls Billy Joel's An Innocent Man (Columbia, 1983) period, where "Kisses in Zanzibar" and "Shalimar Wind" brilliantly mined the same stylistic vein tapped by Barry Manilow without that singer's Las Vegas baggage. Kaeshammer digs deep on the disc's spiritual center, a churchy, Gene Harris
Gene Harris
Gene Harris
1933 - 2000
piano
-inspired instrumental performance of Curtis Mayfield
Curtis Mayfield
Curtis Mayfield
1942 - 1999
composer/conductor
's "People Get Ready." The pianist shares solo space with bassist Marc Rogers, the two weaving a thoroughly modern cover of this already well-covered song. A master of drama, Kaeshammer tells a story with this old song.

Artists of the breadth of Kaeshammer no longer exist. They are too often drowned out by the lowest common denominator conventional wisdom ruling what is popular and what is not. Kaeshammer brings things back to the basics: superior musicianship and exceptional songwriting. If only Sinatra lived so long to hear this.


Track Listing: Rendezvous; Kisses in Zanzibar; A Little Bit of Love; Tightrope; The You- and-Me; People Get Ready; Heartbeat; Shalimar wind; Love Me or Leave Me; Remedy.

Personnel: Personnel: Michael Kaeshammer: vocals, keyboards; Marc Rogers: acoustic and electric basses; Mark Mclean: drums, percussion; Roger Tracassos: drums, percussion; Davide Direnzo: percussion; William Sperandei: trumpet; William Carn: trombone; Gord Meyers: trombone; Perry White: tenor saxophone; Kelly Jefferson: tenor saxophone; Chris Gale: tenor saxophone; Justin Abedin : guitars; Joel Parisien: background vocals; Andrea Koziol: background vocals; Karen Graves: violin, Rebekah Wolkstein: violin; Drew Jurecka: violin; Ron LoPata: Hammond B3 organ.

Record Label: Alert Music


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