To the layman like myself, Jeff Healey was known primarily as a blues guitarist. He grew up in Toronto and was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, and had his eyes surgically removed before his first birthday. Despite this, he managed to carve out a niche for himself in blues, and even helped parlay the praise of his debut album "See the Light" into a speaking role in the 1989 cult classic Road House.
Released in 1976, Jeff Beck's Wired contains some of the best jazz-rock fusion of the period. Wired is generally more muscular, albeit less-unique than its predecessor, Blow by Blow. Joining keyboardist Max Middleton, drummer Richard Bailey, and producer George Martin from the Blow by Blow sessions are drummer Narada Michael Walden, bassist Wilbur Bascomb, and keyboardist Jan Hammer. Beck contributed no original material to Wired, instead relying on the considerable talents of his supporting cast. Perhaps this explains why Wired is not as cohesive as Blow by Blow, seemingly more assembled from component parts. Walden's powerful drumming propels much of Wired, particularly Middleton's explosive opener, "Led Boots," where Beck erupts into a stunning solo of volcanic intensity. Walden also contributes four compositions, including the funk-infused "Come Dancing," which adds an unnamed horn section. While Walden's "Sophie" is overly long and marred by Hammer's arena rock clichés, his "Play With Me" is spirited and Hammer's soloing more melodic.