Born in 1979, Wil began playing drums at the age of 8, guitar at 13, and then found his true calling on Hammond B-3 at 19. While studying Jazz at New College of California with Herbie Lewis, Wil landed weekly gigs at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room in San Francisco. Barely of legal age, veteran musicians, such as Oscar Myers, took him under their wings. Being self- taught on organ, the weekly gigs proved to be the best lessons of all. In the years since, Wil has received tutelage from Jazz Organ master, Dr. Lonnie Smith. “Yeah, he does it...he’s on it. He is the future to carry on the legend, the legacy of the organ, [of] the B-3.”
Wil has kept the traditional sounds of Jimmy Smith, Larry Young, and “Groove” Holmes alive, while creating a more personal, modern sound. In Wil’s words, “I feel indebted to the tradition and masters of the Hammond Organ, but while trying to keep it going, I’m also focused on bringing my contemporary influences to the table.” His playing is rhythmic, funky and bluesy, yet his original compositions are harmonically intriguing and unique.
Wil currently leads his own groups around the Bay Area and is dedicating his time to teaching the Hammond B-3 Organ privately and at the Jazzschool in Berkeley. Current musical collaborations include groups with guitarist Will Bernard, Jazz legend Idris Muhammad and a duo project with drummer Scott Amendola. Wil’s debut record, “Sketchy”, is now available on Doodlin’ Records.
- Field Notes by Doug Collette
- Field Notes by Chris M. Slawecki
August 05, 2014
Wil Blades To Release "Field Notes" On Royal Potato Family
April 02, 2012
Billy Martin & Wil Blades To Release "Shimmy" May 22 on The Royal...
“Yeah, he does it...he’s on it. He is the future to carry on the legend, the
legacy of the
organ, [of] the B-3.”
-Dr. Lonnie Smith
Pioneer and Legend of the Hammond B-3 Organ
"That boy's cookin'! That boy's cookin'!"
—John Lee Hooker
"Wil Blades is already a legend on the Hammond B-3 organ...On his debut
album, Sketchy, released in
August on Doodlin' Records, Blades showcases a smooth, funky sound that
recalls heroes like Jimmy
Smith without being slavishly derivative. Apparently, Blades' time spent in
combos with Scott Amendola,
Wil Bernard, and Idris Muhammad has taught him well."
- SF Weekly
Organ, Hammond B3
Willing to teach
Intermediate to advanced
Weekday times available, generally pretty flexible. $75 an hour. Willing to do sliding scale.
Wil Blades & Scott AmendolaPiedmont Piano Company
Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson
Royal Potato Family