Erwin Helfer Chicago Blues Jazz Boogie piano
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discography
Last Call
Last Call
The Sirens Records (SR-5024)
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.
  1. Make Me A Pallet On The Floor
  2. DC Boogie
  3. St. James Infirmary
  4. St. Louis Blues
  5. Pennies from
  6. Bright Lights, Big City
  7. I Almost Lost My Mind
  8. The Rocky Mountain Blues
  9. The Fives
  10. Four O'Clock Blues
  11. Operator Blues
  12. Trouble in Mind
  13. Make Me A Pallet On The Floor
  14. A conversation with Erwin
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Erwin Helfer Way
Erwin Helfer Way
The Sirens Records (SR-5020)
In the Chicago blues piano tradition, each player developed his own personal style, from Jimmy Yancey to Albert Ammons. Erwin Helfer's style and his compositions are his own. His playing and personality are honest, straightforward, and committed to strong personal connections, on the bandstand and off. On "Erwin Helfer Way", Helfer plays solo, and he is also joined by some of his closest collaborators including Barrelhouse Chuck, John Brumbach, William "Bugs" Cochran, Lou Marini, and Skinny Williams. This disc is another masterpiece by Helfer, who is the last living link to the Yancey's.
  1. Chicken Shack
  2. Take My Hand, Precious Lord
  3. The Fives
  4. Within
  5. Exactly Like You
  6. Baby Won't You Please Come Home
  7. E&C Boogie
  8. Big Joe
  9. Winin' Boy
  10. Sweet Georgia Brown
  11. Tin Roof Blues
  12. The Preacher
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Careless Love
Careless Love
The Sirens Records (SR-5011)
Erwin Helfer follows up his 2003 W.C. Handy nominated solo recording I’m Not Hungry But I Like To Eat - Blues! with a trio on Careless Love, a diverse collection of blues, boogie, and jazz piano. Helfer has been an integral part of blues piano history for the past fifty years, and he is the last living link to the Yancey’s legacy of Chicago blues and boogie piano. On this disc Erwin plays Mama Yancey’s signature piece “Make Me A Pallet On The Floor”; an original composition “Paris But I Don’t Know Why” which sounds like a classical etude, but also has a spunky barrelhouse flavor; jazz standards like “Sunny Side of the Street” and “All of Me” which jump off the keys; and the calypso-tinged “Jambalaya.”
  1. This Is Better Than I Thought It Was Boogie
  2. Careless Love
  3. Paris ButI Don't Know Why
  4. Blue Monk
  5. On The Sunny Side of the Street
  6. Georgia
  7. Just A Closer Walk With Thee
  8. Make Me A Pallet On The Floor
  9. All of Me
  10. I've Got It Bad And That Ain't Good
  11. Jambalaya
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St. James Infirmary
St. James Infirmary
The Sirens Records (SR-5006)
Skinny Williams follows a long tradition of great Chicago tenor saxophonists, from Gene Ammons to Von Freeman, whose playing is steeped in a blues, soul, and jazz gumbo. Erwin Helfer is a master Chicago blues and jazz pianist, with a longstanding, traditional Chicago style. Together, Skinny and Erwin play blues, jazz standards, and ballads. Their interpretations of "St. James Infirmary", "Trouble in Mind", "These Foolish Things Remind Me of You", "Nobody Knows You When You Are Down and Out", and "Please Send Me Someone To Love" are incredibly sweet yet sorrowful at the same time. Their versions of Waller's classics "Ain't Misbehavin" and "Honeysuckle Rose" are innovative and still true to the stride style. Skinny even does some honking on "Pooch Piddle" and "Back at the Chicken Shack". This CD will delight both blues and jazz fans. It sounds as if Skinny and Erwin are performing a club date right in your living room.
  1. St. James Infirmary
  2. Trouble In Mind
  3. These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You
  4. Ain't Misbehavin
  5. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
  6. Please Send Me Someone To Love
  7. Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue
  8. Honeysuckle Rose
  9. It's Only A Paper Moon
  10. When You Wish Upon A Star
  11. Pooch Piddle
  12. See See Rider
  13. Stormy Weather
  14. Back At The Chicken Shack
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8 Hands on 88 Keys - Blues Piano Masters
8 Hands on 88 Keys - Blues Piano Masters
The Sirens Records (SR-5003)
On November 13, 2001, The Sirens Records gathered four Chicago blues piano masters, Pinetop Perkins, Detroit Junior, Erwin Helfer, and Barrelhouse Chuck, to record some low down solo blues and boogie woogie. During this studio recording session these musicians shared some laughs, reminisced, and had a good time. But this was more than just a party or a reunion. The result was magic on a concert grand piano, as these musicians spurred one another on to bring out their best piano playing abilities. Enjoy these masters as they keep the blues and boogie woogie piano tradition alive!
  1. It's You Baby (Barrelhouse Chuck)
  2. Rooster's Blues (Barrelhouse Chuck)
  3. Pinetop's Blues (Barrelhouse Chuck vocal/Erwin Helfer piano)
  4. Miss Ida B. (Barrelhouse Chuck vocal/Detroit Junior piano)
  5. I'm So Unhappy (Detroit Junior)
  6. Ella (Detroit Junior)
  7. Staggerlee (Detroit Junior)
  8. Ain't Nobody's Business (Detroit Junior vocal/Erwin Helfer piano)
  9. Stop Time Boogie (Erwin Helfer)
  10. Four O'clock Blues (Erwin Helfer)
  11. I Almost Lost My Mind (Pinetop Perkins vocal/Erwin Helfer piano)
  12. Grinder Man Blues (Pinetop Perkins)
  13. How Much More (Pinetop Perkins)
  14. How Long Blues (Pinetop Perkins)
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Heavy Timbre - Chicago Boogie Piano
Heavy Timbre - Chicago Boogie Piano
The Sirens Records (SR-5002)
"Heavy Timbre" is a reissue of some of the best solo boogie woogie and blues piano recordings to date. Captured for posterity are five legendary pianists recorded at a "studio party" in 1976, where the challenge of having to play in front of one another clearly brought out the best in each player. This reissue also features five bonus tracks that were not included on the original LP, including a special Sunnyland Slim and Blind John Davis duet and back-and-forth banter that takes the listener right inside the moment.
  1. Davis Boogie (Blind John Davis)
  2. A Little Every Day (Blind John Davis)
  3. I Almost Lost My Mind (Blind John Davis)
  4. She's Got A Thing Goin' On (Sunnyland Slim)
  5. Canadian Walk (Sunnyland Slim)
  6. Gotta See My Lawyer (Sunnyland Slim)
  7. I Don't Know (Willie Mabon)
  8. World of Trouble (Willie Mabon)
  9. The Seventh Son (Willie Mabon)
  10. Four O'Clock Blues (Jimmy Walker)
  11. I Just Want To Hold On (Jimmy Walker)
  12. The Fives (Erwin Helfer)
  13. Improvizations (Erwin Helfer)
  14. Big Joe (Sunnyland Slim organ / Erwin Helfer piano)
  15. Promote Sunnyland A Drink (Sunnyland Slim)
  16. Kansas City (Blind John Davis)
  17. Slow Blues (Willie Mabon)
  18. Johnny Sunny Blues (Sunnyland Slim / Blind John Davis)
  19. Mr. Freddie Blues (Jimmy Walker)
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I'm not Hungry But I Like to Eat - Blues
I'm not Hungry But I Like to Eat - Blues
The Sirens Records (SR-5001)
Pianist Erwin Helfer has been rattling floorboards in the Windy City for decades, playing a tangy mix of blues, boogie-woogie, big-band-era standards, and originals inspired by friends and pet dogs. True to form, I'm Not Hungry but I Like to Eat--Blues! finds Helfer attacking the keys with all the barroom bluster of a Chicago legend, covering songs by Jelly Roll Morton ("Sweet Substitute"), Percy Mayfield ("Please Send Me Someone to Love"), and Duke Ellington, along with some traditionals and a handful of Helfer originals. Tenor sax man John Brumbach adds ballast to four tracks, but this is Helfer's show. And while the opening salvo of "Swanee River Boogie" might suggest this is strictly an old-timers' set, Helfer's playful interpretations and skilled tinkling are bound to find favor with anyone who digs piano music.
  1. Swanee River Boogie
  2. Please Send Me Someone To Love
  3. Dirty Dozens
  4. Sweet Substitute
  5. The Shiek of Araby
  6. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans
  7. Homage to Pete Johnson
  8. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
  9. See See Rider
  10. In A Sentimental Mood
  11. Stella
  12. Pooch Piddle
  13. I'm Not Hngry But I Like To Eat - Blues
  14. After Hours
  15. Day Dreaming
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