Hamiet Bluiett

Hamiet Bluiett, September 16, 1940 – October 4, 2018, Brooklyn or Lovejoy (Illinois), surname pronounced “BLUE-ett” was an American jazz composer, clarinetist and jazz saxophonist. He was a master of the baritone and was regarded as one of the best players of the instrument. He was a member of the World Saxophone Quartet and also played and recorded with the bass saxophone and E-flat alto clarinet. Bluiett was also born in Brooklyn, Illinois. This village, which is primarily African-American, was established in 1830s as a free community for black refugees. It later became America’s first majority-black town. He was a pianist, trumpeter, and clarinet player as a child. However, he found his passion for the baritone instrument the most from age ten. Before joining the Navy Band in 1961, he began his musical career playing clarinet at barrelhouse dances in Brooklyn. He was a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Bluiett was in his twenties when he saw Harry Carney, the baritone player in Duke Ellington’s band, perform in a Boston concert. This made a lasting impression on Bluiett. It provided an example of a baritone baritone saxophonist that played soloist and not as an accompanist. In the mid-1960s, he returned home to St. Louis after his time in Navy. Bluiett founded the Black Artists Group (BAG), a group dedicated to the promotion of creativity in theatre, visual arts and film. In 1968 and 1969, he was the leader of the BAG big-band. In the fall 1969 Bluiett moved from London to New York City, where he joined both the Charles Mingus Quartet and the Sam Rivers large ensemble. He co-founded the World Saxophone Quartet in 1976 with Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake and multi-reedist David Murray. He was a strong advocate for the rather large baritone, and organized large groups of baritones. Bluiett, a virtuosic baritone saxophone player, has been leading a quartet called the Bluiett Baritone Nation since the 1990s. It is entirely composed of baritone saxophones and drum sets. He also established the Clarinet Family in the 1980s. This group consisted of eight clarinetists who played clarinets ranging from contrabass to E-flat soprano. Bluiett also worked with Sam Rivers and Babatunde Olatunji as well as Abdullah Ibrahim, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. In 2002, he returned to Brooklyn, Illinois and moved to New York City in 2012. He performs at gigs including the New Haven Jazz Festival, August 22, 2009. He performed with Neighborhood Music School students in New Haven, CT. They were called Hamiet Bluiett u0026 the Improvisational Youth Orchestra. Bluiett, who was then a member of Charles Mingus, toured Europe with him in 1972. Bluiett would often go off-and-on with him and leave at times to join another band. He would return a year later. Bluiett played in a quintet with George Adams in 1974. He performed at Carnegie Hall with Mingus. He played with Mingus until 1975 when he decided to record his own music as a leader. From Wikipedia

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