Born and bred in Offenburg, Germany, Michael Kaeshammer began playing the piano at the age of six. After seven years of classical training, the 13-year-old piano prodigy discovered boogie-woogie.

He began performing at clubs, theatres and festival stages throughout Europe in his early teens, and he continued after emigrating to Canada with his family in the mid-‘90s. His first studio album Blue Keys dropped in 1996, and his reputation continued to grow with breathtaking shows at the Victoria International Jazz Festival, the Vancouver Island Blues Bash and the Boogie-Woogie Piano Festival. Kaeshammer’s musicianship continued to grow, as demonstrated by 1998’s Tell You How I Feel, his first for Alma Records.

He thoughtfully reshapes traditional jazz, blues, bebop and boogie-woogie. With each brilliant new recording, he digs deeper into the jazz tradition while carving out his own unique musical vision.

New Orleans has been a foundational component of Kaeshammer’s musical DNA since he began his career in his native Germany. He grew up with the music of New Orleans from listening to his dad’s records. He loved the music and the food, and now he’s also a gourmet chef.

His career highlights included opening slots for the likes of Ray Charles and Anne Murray, stints backing singers like Marva Wright, co-writing sessions with rockers Randy Bachman and Colin James, official Olympic Games performances in several cities, and TV specials on major networks.

Kaeshammer’s loyal legion of fans around the world have come to expect the unexpected. Unconstrained by genre barriers or music industry pressures, he follows his own muse, creating work that’s designed to stimulate and satisfy himself, first and foremost.

Kaeshammer joined us in the Gumbo Kitchen for a conversation about growing up with boogie-woogie in the ’90s, playing with icons of New Orleans, and the making of some of his most recent works.