picture of Bill Heid
Bill Heid
Bill (*1948) is a natural and virtuosic musician who was inspired to play jazz and blues by listening to the radio, he played in both piano and organ groups. Originally influenced by Jimmy Smith and Don Patterson, Heid heard the chitlin' circuit greats at the Hurricane Bar, including Smith and Patterson, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, and Lonnie Smith. Down the street at the Crawford Grill were the jazz bands led by Freddie Hubbard, Max Roach, Gene Harris, Bobby Timmons, and Wynton Kelly.
Spending time in Chicago and later in New York, he met and hung out with his mentor, Larry Young. He was also privy to playing with the best organ drummers like Joe Dukes and Billy James. And he heard the local contingent of jazz greats like Ahmad Jamal, Art Blakey, Erroll Garner, George Benson, Eddie Jefferson, Mary Lou Williams, and Stanley Turrentine.
In 1963, he began a journey of hitchhiking through the USA, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, and China, and to the Thailand/Cambodia border. Some of his journeys led him to the so-called chicken houses and organ rooms of major cities, where he interned with Jimmy Witherspoon, Jimmy Ponder, Sonny Stitt, Grant Green, David "Fathead" Newman, Ira Sullivan, and Mickey Roker, and was a pianist with Don Patterson.
A move to Chicago brought him closer to the urban blues as he worked or recorded with Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and especially Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Fenton Robinson, and Roy Buchanan. He also played in the bands of contemporary jazz guitarist Henry Johnson. Moving to Detroit, he spent two decades there playing in his own groups; helping to revive the career of a local legend of blues guitar and vocals, Johnnie Bassett, as the music director of his Blues Insurgents; and backing the veteran singer Alberta Adams. During and since his time in Detroit, Heid could be found making music soundtracks for adult films in Los Angeles, then touring worldwide for the U.S. State Department as a jazz ambassador, particularly on tours of Japan and Vietnam. In August 2003, Heid played more of the Pacific Rim in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Upon moving back to the Eastern United States, he could be heard on organ and piano engagements at various venues in the Washington, D.C., area. Of his mindset, Heid was quoted as saying "I can't live a day without playing 1-4-5s," incorporating those standard blues changes with cool McCoy Tyner minor riffs, vicious funk songs in Japanese, and what he calls Talifunk. "I approach this thing like total war and have been lucky to have avoided a day job." His hip vernacular, unique vocal language, and risqué sense of humor, melded with his passion for baseball, have made him an entertainer.
by Michael G. Nastos @ allmusic.com
on tour Click on the logo to see Bill's tour dates.


Heid/Bassett Blues Insurgents
Eastlawn Records 440031-0004
released 1993
recorded October 1992
reissued 2015 on CD Eastlawn Records ELD-015
Bill Heid, piano, organ, vocals
Johnnie Bassett, guitar, vocals
Russ Miller, alto sax
Johnny Evans, tenor sax
John Paxton, trombone
James O'Donnell, trumpet
Kurt Krahnke, bass
R.J. Spangler, drums, congas
Martin Gross, drums
George Heid, percussion
Jerome Spearman, percussion
Bop Rascal
Savant SCD 2009
recorded May 1996 in Detroit, MI/USA
Bill Heid, Hammond organ
Perry Hughes, guitar
Randy Gelespie, drums
George Heid, tambourine
Wet Streets
Savant SCD 2018
recorded November 1997 in Detroit, MI/USA
Bill Heid, Hammond organ
Scott "E-Dog" Petersen, tenor sax, soprano sax
Russ Miller, tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, flute
Randy Gelespie, drums
Dark Secrets
Savant SCD 2033

Bill Heid, organ
Scott 'E Dog' Petersen, soprano sax, tenor sax
Joe Magnarelli, trumpet, flugelhorn
Randy Gelispie, drums
George Heid, percussion
George Jones, congas
Da Girl
Savant SCD 2041
recorded September 2000
Bill Heid, Hammond B-3 organ
Scott 'E Dog' Petersen , tenor sax
Joe Magnarelli, trumpet, flugelhorn
Randy Gilespie, drums
George Jones, congas
George Heid, percussion
Radio Blues
Severn Records CD 0044
recorded in Severn, MD/USA
Steve Guyger, vocals, harmonica
Jon Moeller, guitar
Bill Heid, piano, organ
Steve Gomes, bass
Robb Stupka, drums
Asian Persuasion
Doodlin' Records DR-009
recorded in Pittsburgh, PA/USA
Bill Heid, Hammond B-3 organ, vocals
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Mike Petrosino, drums
George Jones, congas
Wylie Ave
Doodlin' Records DR-011
recorded spring 2008 in Pittsburgh, PA/USA
Bill Heid, Hammond B-3 organ, vocals
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Mike Petrosino, drums
George Jones, congas
Dealin' Wid It
Savant Records SCD 2204
Bill Heid, Hammond organ, vocals
Perry Hughes, guitar
Randy Gelispie, drums
Kevin "Bujo" Jones, percussion

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