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April 2001

Bill Heid
Dark Secrets
Savant

Pete Fallico's Dark Secrets liner notes trace Bill Heid's keyboard roots to funk and blues pianists and to organists Larry Young and Don Patterson. Besides two previous albums as a leader on Savant, Heid has recorded with Detroit bluesman Johnnie Bassett. This album, with quartet, quintet and sextet tracks, incorporates hard-bop and soul-jazz elements from the '60s.

Heid's organ work suggests Young more than the earthy, riffing Jimmy Smith style; the opening "Little Langley" being a case in point. Tenor and soprano saxophonist Scott "E-Dog" Peterson and trumpeter Joe Magnarelli contribute a Blue Note horn sound to the performances, with Randy Gelespie on drums and, on certain tracks, George Jones on congas and/or George Heid on percussion.

There are nine Heid originals here, among which are a swinging blues called "That Dirty Thang," a smooth ballad called "I Can Be Nice," and the stealthy, atmospheric title cut. Heid's playing reveals subtleties, varied harmonic coloration and thoughtful lines as well as percussive funk. Peterson is supple (occasionally reminiscent of Johnny Griffin) and has a nice, throaty tone on tenor.

Heid can be commended for choosing an alternative to the hard-hitting, heavy-funk organ style and for writing fine originals. Nice date.

Originally published in April 2001
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