Erwin Helfer

Genres: Blues
Decades Active: 1990s 2000s

Biography

21 January 1936, Chicago, Illinois, USA. As a young man Helfer played piano in New Orleans with De De Pierce, and during the 50s was instrumental in bringing out of obscurity several noted pianists, notably Cripple Clarence Lofton. On his Tone Records label he featured Doug Suggs, Speckled Red, Billie Pierce and James Robinson (Primitive Piano, reissued on The Sirens Records). Mainly, though, Hefler remained in Chicago, working with local musicians, notably fellow pianist Jimmy Walker and tenor saxophonist Skinny Williams. He spent some time in the 70s accompanying Mama Yancey and often worked with drummer S.P. Leary. In the early 00s, Helfer recorded with saxophonist John Brumbach. Although he remained strongly connected with the Chicago blues scene, and is regularly heard at the Chicago Blues Festival, Hefler does travel from time to time, including playing at jazz and blues festivals overseas, including Berlin, Germany, and Debrecen, Hungary.

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