Ever Open Door

John Helliwell

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Format: CD

Cat No: CR73511

Format Details:

Release Date:  02 October 2020

Label:  Challenge

Packaging Type:  Digipak

No of Units:  1

Barcode:  0608917351125

Genres:  Jazz  Easy Listening  

  • Description

    Well-known Supertramp Saxophonist John Helliwell releases his brand new album, Ever Open Door, on Challenge Records.

    John Helliwell writes: "Ever Open Door is an appropriate title for this album because my musical influences are wide-ranging — I'm always listening.

    I was impressed with this Roger Hodgson song. "If Everyone Was Listening" at my first rehearsal with Supertramp in July 1973. It subsequently appeared on our album Crime Of The Century. Bob Mintzer included the Jim Scott composition "Gather The Spirit" on his album Quality Time and Andy Scott (no relation to Jim) arranged it for Bob to play with a string orchestra at the 2015 Hong Kong Summer Jazz Festival. Andy recently distilled his orchestral arrangement to four string players, saxophone and Hammond organ. "Lord Stackhouse" was originally written for me by Andy Scott and was featured on his Sax Assault album Sax Of Gold in 2007. The ballad is a challenge, mainly due to its complex chords. The poignant tune "Del Soldato In Trincea" was written by Paulo Fresu for Ermanno Olmi's 2014 film Torneranno i Prati (Greenery Will Bloom Again), a tribute to the suffering of Italian soldiers in the First World War. I was introduced to it by Raimondo Meli Lupi, who featured it on his album 1000 Papaveri Rossi.

    "Washing Of The Water" is Peter Gabriel's glimpse into his secret world has unconventional percussion provided by the string players. The clarinet reflects Gabriel's refine melody, while the stronger saxophone comes in around two thirds of the way through, improvising over the part where Gabriel sings "Letting go, it's so hard, the way it's hurting now" in his version. Violinist Rakhi Singh has the last line, where Gabriel sings, "Bring me something to take this pain away." "The Lads In Their Hundreds", A. E. Housman's poem of young men leaving for the Boer War, was set to music by George Butterworth, who, tragically, like many of the lads in their hundreds, was killed in the Battle of the Somme in 1914. I first heard it sung by June Tabor with Iain Ballamy and Hugh Warren in the group Quercus. This version is completely improvised by me, John Ellis and Ashok Klouda — no music, no rehearsal! Mark Hart, my Supertramp colleague, wrote the beautiful melody "Lullaby For Channing" at a sorrowful time in his life, a simple statement of which is appropriate.
    "The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men" is one of my favourite tunes. It first came to my attention played by the Keith Jarrett Trio. Subsequently, I have enjoyed versions by Kurt Elling and Boz Scaggs, but the true inspiration came from hearing it superbly played by Ernie Watts on his 2009 album Four Plus Four. I first heard "Father O'Shea" played by Charlie Haden on plucked double bass with his quartet and a string orchestra under the title "The Left Hand Of God," also the title of a 1955 film with music by Victor Young. On investigating, I found that the tune is, in fact, a musical portrait of Humphrey Bogart's character in the film, Jim Carmody, masquerading as a priest, Father O'Shea."

    John Helliwell - Saxophone
    John Ellis - Hammond B3
    Rakhi Singh - Violin
    Simmy Singh - Violin
    Ruth Gibson - Viola
    Ashok Klouda - Cello
    The Singh String Quartet

  • Tracklisting

      Disc 1

      Side 1

      • 1. If Everyone Was Listening
      • 2. Gather The Spirit
      • 3. Lord Stackhouse
      • 4. Del Soldato In Trincea
      • 5. It Seemed That Life Was So Wonderful
      • 6. Washing Of The Water
      • 7. Aquarelle
      • 8. The Lads In Their Hundreds
      • 9. Lullaby For Channing
      • 10. Ever Open Door
      • 11. The Wayfaring Stranger
      • 12. Waly Waly
      • 13. The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men
      • 14. Father O'Shea