Mon, Sep 9, 2013.
Okay, it's here, it's Harvest Week, which is pretty much second Christmas around Fredericton for many if not most people. They've been planning this week out for months, at least the veterans who don't want to miss the best stuff. That's always my advice, do a little homework, and you won't be kicking yourself next Monday when your co-workers are talking about the awesome shows you missed. Even if you're budgeting for just one, ask around ahead of time, keeping in mind your own preferences, and don't end up at an alternative show when you actually just like retro jazz, because you didn't recognize the name and decided to take a chance. I'm always amazed when I see someone walk out, saying they don't like the artist. What do you think YouTube is for? Check 'em out ahead of time.
While the tents don't open until Wednesday, the usual kick-off show is Tuesday night at the Playhouse, this year featuring a familiar gem. Victoria, B.C.'s Michael Kaeshammer has played that venue before, and anyone who's seen him will tell you what a fabulous pianist he is. Based in jazz, it's the old barrelhouse, boogie-woogie, New Orleans sound, as played by a virtuoso. Kaeshammer manhandles the keys, with his left hand pushing the boogie beat, his right hand flying up and down. Whether he's tackling a classic, dropping one of his own numbers done in the vintage style, or jazzifying a surprise number, it's all very joyful. On a recent live release, the DVD/CD Kaeshammer Live!, you can hear him take a Bob Marley & the Wailers number, Stop That Train, and mix the reggae beat with his New Orleans piano riffs, creating a whole new tune.
Kaeshammer's also a cool vocalist, and an entertaining live performer, talking lots, joking and always making sure it's a fun, relaxed night. Audiences have some long nights and lots of standing ahead of them at the other shows, so a nice soft seat theatre show is a great way to start your Harvest experience, with one of Canada's elite jazz performers. I just checked the website and there were only 27 tickets left for the show, so you'd better rush!
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).