Everybody knows about the famous frontman playing saxophones and telling jokes at the Supertramp concerts... But who is John, the real John ?
John Anthony Helliwell was born into a musical family in the Yorkshire town of Todmorden on the 15 th February 1945 just 4 months after another musically famous Todmordarian, Keith Emerson, of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame.
Exposure to music in the Helliwell home was virtually instantaneous. Family members were involved in every type of music from church to local Gilbert and Sullivan productions. John’s parents duly ensured that their young lad received the usual childhood piano and recorder lessons but none of these musical stimuli proved very inspirational to him and it was left to the jazz record collection of a family friend to prompt our small hero to start his quest for a clarinet...
Enjoy a new experience on Supertramp's tracks performed by a big band: The Super Big Tramp Band! The line-up is the usual jazz big band instrumentation - trumpets, trombones, saxophones and rhythm section. We play versions of Supertramp tunes, arranged by members of the band, with me as the chief soloist. No vocals.
Here's a quote from David Porter from the Hull Jazz Festival show last month: "A sell-out triumph, full-bodied and exciting, funny and touching. It will suit larger festivals and concert halls. It's quality, it's class & it's commercial. Seldom have tickets flown off the shelf so quickly. 2 shows next time, please!"
Some solos while playing with various artists along the years :