Bill Heid: Wet Streets

Until now, Bill Heid is perhaps most famous for his listing in the Guinness Book of World Records for the miles hitch-hiked (400,000, over thirty years). But while hitchhiking, Bill plied his trade as a soulful jazz and blues organist, and the experience bred on this road (together with his Pittsburgh jazz roots) makes Bill one of the more exciting jazz B-3 players now making noise today.

Heid now has three recent recordings out (this being the third). Wet Streets especially showcases Bill’s fine qualities; he displays tremendous chops, an inherent soulful feel, and an intelligence and sophisticated attack in this music.

In this regard, Heid owes much to his inspiration, Larry Young, and the material on this album builds on this legacy. The recording includes the veteran B-3 group drummer Randy Gelespie, who keeps the rhythm in the bag, and fine contributions from saxophonists Scott “E Dog” Petersen and Russ Miller.

The original pieces draw from the Larry Young motif and accordingly progress beyond the standard organ fare, with dynamic runs and a keenly developed spirituality. In addition, there’s some good barbeque grease, and well-wrought tributes to Big John Patton and Shirley Scott here as well.

Heid’s variety on the organ theme makes him a good diversion for Hammond enthusiasts to explore.