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Live At Carlos I

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Album Review

Although the all-stars featured on this live set (bairtonist Hamiet Bluiett, pianist Don Pullen, bassist Fred Hopkins, drummer Idris Muhammad and percussionist Chief Bey) were familiar with each other's playing, this particular quintet also existed for the one week that they played at the New York club Carlos I. Bluiett and the late Pullen had complementary styles, quite exploratory yet at times surprisingly accessible. Pullen had the ability to play dense, atonal phrases in a catchy, rhythmic fashion, and his approach is the most memorable aspect of the set. Muhammad and Bey complement each other quite well, and Hopkins was always a versatile and powerful musician, both as a soloist and as an accompanist. As for Bluiett, he has long been the master of high-note baritone playing; his soloing is almost traditional during parts of "Oleo," and he contributed the first three originals, which are inside/outside and very viable vehicles for advanced improvising. The one minus to the set is the rendition of "A Night In Tunisia," which, after a slow out-of-tempo introduction, becomes an endless display for high-note screeching by Bluiett. That misstep aside, the five lengthy pieces (only "Tunisia" is under ten minutes) give listeners an opportunity to hear a unique and short-lived band.


Born: 16 September 1940 in Lovejoy, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The most prominent baritone saxophonist of his generation, Hamiet Bluiett combines a blunt, modestly inflected attack with a fleet, aggressive technique, and (maybe most importantly) a uniform hugeness of sound that extends from his horn's lowest reaches to far beyond what is usually its highest register. Probably no other baritonist has played so high, with so much control; Bluiett's range travels upward into an area usually reserved for the soprano or even sopranino. His technical mastery aside,...
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Live At Carlos I, Hamiet Bluiett
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