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Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer Two Pianos Too Cool (CD)

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  • CDSR5032
  • 0.08
(The Sirens Records) 14 titres, digipack Pianist Erwin Helfer is a local hero with worldwide... more

Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer: Two Pianos Too Cool (CD)

(The Sirens Records) 14 titres, digipack

Pianist Erwin Helfer is a local hero with worldwide appeal. The 88-year-old musician is unflinchingly dedicated to early blues, jazz and ragtime piano and has taught his emotional, incisive style to legions of students. This month, Helfer's Highland Park-based label, the Sirens, is hosting a celebration of his music and influence with artists who share his aesthetic. Unfortunately, Helfer has taken a number of hard knocks in recent years. After struggling with severe depression in the wake of COVID, he suffered a mini-stroke that severely impaired his vision, leaving him unable to attend concerts. Therefore, although Helfer will be present at this Old Town School event, he will be speaking rather than playing. But the performers on the program are his ideal musical ambassadors. Spanish pianist Lluís Coloma has modeled his dynamic interpretations of boogie-woogie on Helfer's teaching, as heard on their new duet album Two Pianos Too Cool, which also features some of Helfer's fun compositions. Members of the Chicago Boogie Ensemble got together with Helfer four years ago for a jam session (released in 2021 under the title Celebrate the Journey), and they've continued to refine that early jazz sound. Blues singer and longtime Helfer collaborator Katherine Davis will join the group for this performance. The program also highlights how Helfer's spiritual phrasing crosses genres. The ensemble that opens the show will be led by the Reverend Scottie Williams Sr, pastor of Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Austin, who sings powerful renditions of familiar gospel hymns on his latest album Beams of Heaven. One of his accompanists, pianist Elsa Harris, shares Helfer's wavelength, especially in her powerful bass notes. Despite difficult times, the legacy of this teacher remains full of joy.

Article properties: Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer: Two Pianos Too Cool (CD)

Helfer, Erwin - Two Pianos Too Cool (CD) CD 1
01 Sneaky Pete Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
02 Stella Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
03 Cuttin' The Boogie Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
04 Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
05 Jambalaya Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
06 Swanee River Boogie Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
07 Rock House Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
08 St James Infirmary Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
09 Georgia Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
10 Sixth Avenue Express Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
11 How Long Blues Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
12 Back At The Chicken Shack Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
13 Please Send Me Someone To Love Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
14 Paris Lluis Coloma and Erwin Helfer
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