Über Hamiet Bluiett
The boss of the modern-day baritone saxophone, Bluiett brings a gigantic tone and a blustery attitude to his commanding performances. His first major gig came with bassist Charles Mingus' group in the early 1970s, a fitting match considering their shared instincts for the traditional (blues, Bebop, Gospel) and the avant-garde. In the mid-1970s he cofounded the well-known World Saxophone Quartet with fellow Midwesterners Julius Hemphill and Oliver Lake and a young David Murray. He has since organized two other like-instrument groups: the Clarinet Family and the rowdy Baritone Saxophone Quartet (actually a quintet with a drummer). His remaining efforts range from relatively straight-ahead Bop to avant R&B/Funk hybrids. There's also much variety within his albums -- a soulful late night ballad may give way to a raunchy free workout on short notice. This diversity has yielded unfocused results on occasion, and his high note playing, while technically phenomenal, can be off-putting in its screechiness. That said, his music is full of spirit and personality, and holds more than its share of inspiring moments.