Posted Sunday, September 26, 2004

This One's For My Brother: The Jazz and Blues Mastery of Bill Heid

I have two older brothers, and both are superbly talented jazz musicians. Bill Heid is among the top jazz organists in the world. Many music lovers are only now discovering the might and power of the Hammond B3; I was lucky to grow up with it. I've also had the fun of seeing my brother perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and of bidding him safe travels when he journeyed to other parts of the world as part of the US State Department's Jazz Ambassadors program.

Bill has recorded several albums on the Savant label. His Dark Secrets is one of my favorites, although I'm also partial to the more-recent Da Girl, which JazzTimes magazine called "one of the best jazz organ dates of the year."

Alas, as is the case with too much great music, Bill's albums are not available on iTunes Music Store. The CDs are available at Amazon, as the box below shows.

It's the Blues
Bill has also been a sideman on some blues albums from the legendary, Chicago-based Alligator Records -- and some of them are available on the iTunes Music Store.

My favorite? Fenton Robinson's 1974 release, Somebody Loan Me a Dime. Bill's piano playing is just plain perfect on the slow blues classic, Going to Chicago.

Bill also plays piano and organ on Fenton Robinson's Grammy-nominated 1978 date, I Hear Some Blues Downstairs.

And my other big brother? His name is George Heid, and he plays drums and percussion. He's also a brilliant recording engineer -- in the mold of the great Rudy van Gelder -- and engineers all of Bill's albums.

Here's a tip of the hat to my big brothers, who have taught me so much about music and audio and life.