Bill Heid is unquestionably one of the most impressive Hammond B-3 organists in modern jazz, and one night of listening to him live in performance solidifies this assertion. He's no less impressive in the studio, but the more visceral energy he brings to the stage can still be enjoyed on his studio releases. Wylie Avenue is a tribute to his native Pittsburgh, PA, where on Wylie near Center Avenue, the legendary Hill District was the location of the chitlin circuit jazz and blues clubs that launched the careers of Don Patterson, Big John Patton, Larry Young, Jimmy Smith, Gene Ludwig, and so many other fellow organists. Heid doles out more of his original music on this disc that combines soul-jazz with mainstream and progressive sounds, all blended together in a physical and virtuoso-driven nutty professor swing and bluesy funk. Of the many Pittsburgh icons Heid pays tribute to, "At the Hurricane" (for the legendary Hurricane Bar) is an easy blues, a bit off-kilter, goofy, and always on the move. The light calypso "Always Larry" (for Larry Young) probes into a sidereal deep-blue mood, while the title track is an up-and-down bopper -- mostly up -- with a fierce drum solo by longtime favored Heid sideman Mike Petrosino. "Toe Tappin'" is atypical for Heid, with its loping pace and spare, patient melody. New York guitarist Peter Bernstein is the special guest on this set, well versed and experienced in this type of music. His adaptability shows during the dirty ankle-biting funk of "Grantulant" (dedicated to Grant Green), or in tandem with Heid's organ for the boogaloo-type solid-sending soul song "The Slinky." A personalized groove, "Waltz of the Corgies" is dedicated to Heid's longtime pooch who passed away, and reflects a missing-in-action status. There's no stopping Heid when he gets cranked up, as on the bouncy swinger "Who Else?," where his nutty, spiky accents and flying fingers should convince anyone as to his enormous talent. As Heid's catalog grows and his music grows on you, you have to come to the conclusion that he's one of those rare talents who doesn't come along too often in life. Wylie Avenue is another high point in the brilliant career of perhaps the most underappreciated musician of modern times. ~ Michael G. Nastos
1.At The Hurricane (6:23)
2.Always Larry (8:16)
3.The Slinky (6:48)
4.Waltz Of The Corgies (7:34)
5.Who Else (5:07)
7.Wylie Avenue (7:49)
8.Toe Tappin' (7:00)
9.I Want You (4:39)
Bill Heid (vocals, organ); Peter Bernstein (guitar); George Jones (congas).
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