Michael Kaeshammer

Michael Kaeshammer plays the Musical Instrument Museum on Friday, Jan. 20. (Tine Acke/Contributor)

Canadian pianist and vocalist Michael Kaeshammer can’t say enough good things about the Musical Instrument Museum. 

“I love that venue,” said the German-born Kaeshammer. “It’s not just the museum or the theater. It’s the whole group there. Lowell (Pickett, artistic director) is great. We’re looking forward to coming. Plus, we’re from Canada, so Arizona in January is always good.”

Kaeshammer is referring to his Friday, Jan. 20, at the Musical Instrument Museum. In December, he had just wrapped a four-week tour through Canada. He’ll play the MIM and then head to Europe in March in support of a new record dubbed “Turn It Up.” 

His signature style weaves classical, jazz, blues, boogie-woogie, stride and pop. The MIM show will be a retrospective of his career.

“It’s very upbeat, very fun music,” he said. “I love when people say they don’t like jazz. Everybody has their own taste. There’s a lot of jazz I don’t like, either. But people will have a good experience at our show. I love being on stage and connecting with the audience.”

For “Turn It Up” he worked with pop producer Ron Lopata to put a new spin on his music. 

“He’s not jazz-related,” he said. “I wrote songs over the last two to three years during the pandemic. He put his stamp on it by making it a little more radio friendly or commercial friendly. It’s nine original tunes and a cover of ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love.’” 

Born and bred in Germany, Kaeshammer began performing club, theater and festival stages throughout Europe in his early teens and continued when he moved to Canada with his family in the mid-1990s. 

His first studio album, “Blue Keys,” dropped in 1996 and acclaim has continued. He’s opened for the likes of Ray Charles and Anne Murray; backed Marva Wright, the late blues queen of New Orleans; and wrote songs with rockers Randy Bachman and Colin James. 

“I’ve never done anything else,” Kaeshammer said about music. 

“Music was always a big part, so pursuing it as a career came naturally. After school, here in Canada, I watched people play in bars for $100 a night. I knew that even if you’re not famous it’s possible to make a career out of it. This is what I want to do. It’s all I’ve done since I was 5. It just seems natural.”

It’s also taught him a lot about himself. His career has kept him happy in life.

“It’s making me happy and I’m making positive music because I am happy,” he said. “I’ve learned to be honest with myself and to be in the moment. When you’re younger, you’re trying to prove yourself or fit into a scene or genre. One day, you figure out that letting go is what it’s all about.

“You’re just using the music as a vehicle to express yourself or be in the moment.”

Michael Kaeshammer

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20

WHERE: Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix 

COST: Tickets start at $38.50

INFO: 480-478-6000, mim.org