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Sankofa / Rear Garde

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Album Review

This is an unusual recording by baritonist Hamiet Bluiett in that his adventurous solos are more advanced than the music and the other players. Several of the songs are straight-ahead blues, so Bluiett's screeching high-note baritone sometimes seems a bit out of place on his own record. There are some good moments (particularly when Bluiett is content to caress or stick close to the melodies) and he has a few fine outings on alto clarinet, including on "Daddy Banks" (which is based on "Please Send Me Someone to Love"). But much of the time it sounds like Bluiett and his sidemen (guitarist Ted Dunbar, bassist Clint Houston, and drummer Ben Riley) are in different rooms altogether or, at a minimum, have different conceptions over what the music should sound like. This is an intriguing but not particularly essential release.


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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Sankofa / Rear Garde, Hamiet Bluiett
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