This concert recording began life as a TV special for public television in the US, broadcast during a fundraising week last March. The subsequent CD and DVD are all slightly different from that original broadcast but it’s all the same wonderful music. The DVD version for instance, also includes documentary filming of the New Orleans recording sessions. Recorded in Sidney BC, the live concert set list has a couple of songs from the last album, Something New. More importantly though it uses that band and retains the New Orleans feel. Michael Kaeshammer originals like “Kisses from Zanzibar” from Kaeshammer sound just great in this setting. As do the rocking “Lucky Man”, one of the new originals which happens to be the title song of his next album, due in October. “I Know I Will Again” is another new one from the forthcoming album, one with a most attractive melody and groove. In a departure from the carefully rehearsed set list, he inserts a quite wonderful, improvised slow blues, “Broke Down Piano”. “Who Are You” was a duet with Colin James and Randy Bachman on Something New but Colin duets here with Kaeshammer and plays far more guitar. Colin sticks around but Randy Bachman is indeed in the house, telling the story that Stevie Ray Vaughan was planning to record his monster hit “Taking Care of Business”. For the occasion Bachman wrote an extra verse and re-arranged the song as a Texas shuffle. Stevie Ray died before he could record this version but we get that here with Colin James on the other guitar. “Do You Believe” was a feature for soul blues singer Curtis Salgado on Something New and he travelled up the coast to do it again on this night, adding an imaginative, lengthy harmonica solo that displays his mastery of circular breathing. One of the backup singers, Nicole Sinclair, gets a lovely solo spot with Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come”, with her colleague, Amoy Levy, helping out. Allen Toussaint’s “Shoo-Ra”, from With You in Mind, gets a powerful performance from the whole band before the encore of “Hamp’s Boogie”. You may recall Kaeshammer doing this one with the Maple Blues Band at the MBAs a few years ago. It has lost none of its excitement. He included the studio version on his Lovelight album. The ‘Hamp’ refers to jump band leader Lionel Hampton for whom this was a great hit in 1945. Along with the brief opening “Boogie Woogie”, this is the kind of playing that initially brought Kaeshammer to everyone’s attention. As the intervening songs show, he has far more to offer us. The all-star band features New Orleans drummer Johnny Vidacovich, bassist David Piltch, and the excellent horn section: William Sperandei on trumpet, Steve Hilliam on tenor and William Carn on trombone. The web site is www.kaeshammer.com. 

June 2020 - Jeff Healey
June 2020 - Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne