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Erwin Helfer – Last Call

13,50 13,31

SKU: The Sirens 5024 Categories: ,

Description

As these new recordings prove, Helfer’s octogenarian status has not slowed him down a bit; he’s still tickling the ivories with the same verve that he’s done so throughout his career. On one track, Helfer is joined by his two longtime collaborators, tenor sax player John Brumbach and vocalist Katherine Davis. This disc also marks the debut of vocalist Ardella Williams. We have included three historical, never released before, recordings by Erwin: two 1957 recordings by Estelle “Mama” Yancey with Erwin’s accompaniment and a 1979 live recording with Mama, Erwin, Odie Payne Jr., and Truck Parham. Like all of the great Chicago pianists before him, Erwin learned directly from the masters but developed his own, distinctive, lyrical style; on this disc you can hear his evolution from the 1950’s through the 1970’s to today.  - Steven B. Dolins

Track Listing:
1. Make Me A Pallet On The Floor - 4:25   2. DC Boogie - 2:48   3. St. James Infirmary - 3:09   4. St. Louis Blues - 3:44   5. Pennies from Heaven - 2:32   6. Bright Lights, Big City - 4:09   7. I Almost Lost My Mind - 3:35   8. The Rocky Mountain Blues - 2:52   9. The Fives - 2:07   10. Four O’ Clock Blues - 3:24   Historical recordings with MamaYancey:  11. Operator Blues - 3:53   12. Trouble in Mind - 2:03   13. Make Me A Pallet On The Floor - 4:58   Erwin talks about his mentors, friends, and blues piano pioneers: 14. A conversation with Erwin - 15:12

Personnel:
Erwin Helfer (piano, vocals) , Estelle 'Mama' Yancey (vocals on 11-13) , Ardella Williams (vocals on 4,8) , Katherine Davis (vocals on 6) , John Brumbach (tenor sax) , Truck Parham (bass on 13) , Odie Payme Jr. (drums on 13)

Reviews:

1. www.lahoradelblues.com – January 2017
A pesar de contar con ochenta años de edad, el pianista Erwin Helfer posee todavía esa capacidad de enamorar a las audiencias con su especial manera de pulsar las teclas del piano cuando se sienta frente a él. Su conocimiento y elegante modo de abordar los blues de preguerra y el barrelhouse le confieren una especial relevancia y una forma muy genuina de transmitir al oyente unas sensaciones y unas emociones de enorme intensidad. Para los aficionados al piano blues éste álbum posee el valor añadido de incluir tres temas antiguos grabados por Erwin junto a la que fuera viuda del maravilloso pianista Jimmy Yancey, la excelente cantante de blues clásico Estelle ‘Mama’ Yancey, dos de ellos datan de alrededor de 1959 y el tercero se grabó sobre el año 1979 donde también encontramos al enorme batería de blues de Chicago Odie Payne Jr. y Truck Parham al bajo. Estas tres canciones se encontraron en una cinta en el desván de la casa de Erwin Helfer y ahora The Sirens las ha remasterizado para gozo y placer de todos los que somos profundos admiradores no sólo del género sino también de Erwin Helfer. Mención especial a la colaboración en algunas canciones de dos estupendas cantantes como son Katherine Davis y Ardella Williams. BUENISIMO.

Although he is now eighty years old, piano player Erwin Helfer still has the skills and power to catch audiences with his particular way to touch piano keys when he sits in front of it. His knowledge and the elegant way he plays pre-war and barrelhouse blues give him a very genuine and special relevance to communicate listeners the most intense feelings and bright colours. For piano blues fans the album has an added value as it includes three old songs recorded by Erwin together with the widow of wonderful pianist Jimmy Yancey, that great excellent classic blues singer who was Estelle 'Mama' Yancey, two of them dated around 1959 and the third one recorded around 1979 together with Chicago great drummer Odie Payne Jr. and Truck Parham on bass. These three songs were found in the basement of Erwin Helfer’s house and now The Sirens has remastered them for the joy and pleasure of all of us who deeply love blues but also admire this great piano player called Erwin Helfer. A special mention to two great singers like Katherine Davis and Ardella Williams who also collaborate in some songs. GREAT.

2. jazzaroundmag.com  - Robert Sacre - 2017.05
The Sirens Records est un label de Highland Park en Illinois (près de Chicago), créé en 1975, et spécialisé dans les pianistes de jazz, de blues et de black gospel, depuis sa création par David Goldberg, Steven B. Dollins et son frère Barry (ancien programmateur et big boss du Chicago Blues Festival). Après une éclipse de 1977 à 2000, le label a été relancé par Steven Dollins. Ce « Last Call » a été enregistré en plusieurs séances, entre juillet 2014 et mars 2016, pour marquer le 80ème anniversaire d’Erwin Helfer, un pianiste légendaire de Chicago, qui, malgré son âge, est au top de son art, déployant ici encore une virtuosité spectaculaire au clavier. Il y a des titres en solo où Helfer révèle ses racines jazz Dixieland : Pennies From Heaven (A.Johnson-J.Burke), St James Infirmary, St Louis Blues (W.C Handy) et ses racines boogie woogie. En effet, Helfer a été très influencé par Jimmy Yancey dont il reprend ici Make Me A Pallet On The Floor et 4 O’Clock Blues. D’autres influences remontent aussi à Hershel et George Thomas avec The Fives. Toujours en solo, on notera aussi une de ses propres compositions, DC Boogie. Pour d’autres morceaux, Helfer accompagne la chanteuse Ardella Williams (la fille de Jazz Gillum) : St Louis Blues et Rocky Mountain Blues (de Sam Hopkins), mais aussi Katherine Davis pour Bright Lights, Big City (de Jimmy Reed). Cerise sur la gâteau, on reçoit en prime des faces historiques et inédites : deux de 1957 avec la chanteuse Estelle ‘Mama’Yancey (Operator Blues et Trouble In Mind) et une de 1979, enregistrée en public, avec Estelle ‘Mama’ Yancey (chant), Odie Payne Jr. (batterie) et Truck Parham (basse) : Make Me A Pallet On The Floor. Enfin, pour faire bonne mesure, l’album se clôture avec  un document hors normes, A Conversation With Erwin, soit un entretien de plus de 15 minutes où le pianiste évoque les grands moments de sa carrière.

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