Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Bluiett, Hamiet

Bluiett, Hamiet, baritone saxophonist; b. Lovejoy, IL, 16 September 1940. He was originally a member of St. Louis' legendary BAG (Black Artists Group) collective in the mid-1960s. By the time he moved to New York City in 1969 he had already worked with his future WSQ partners, Oliver Lake and Julius Hemphill.

By 1972, after playing with Sam Rivers, the Thad Jones-Mel Louis Orchestra, and others, Bluiett became an on-again, off-again member of Charles Mingus's quintet, subject to the whims of the bassist and Bluiett's own admitted personal problems at the time. In 1977 Bluiett became (along with Lake, Hemphill, and David Murray) a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet. His career since that time still includes the WSQ as well as a host of other side projects including the Clarinet Family and Bluiett's Barbeque Band.

In 1991 and 1992, Bluiett was voted the top baritone player in Downbeat's annual International Critics Poll. He can also be heard on recordings by Babatunde Olatunji, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Eddie Jefferson, and Randy Weston. Bluiett's most recent recordings include two volumes with a trio including pianist D.D. Jackson and percussionist Mor Thiam (Justin Time), and a duo cd with pianist Larry Willis (Mapleshade).
He also formed Hamiet Bluiett's Baritone Saxophone Group, comprised of four baritone sax players (Blueitt, James Carter, Alex Harding and Patience Higgins) and Ronnie Burrage on drums. They performed at the 1997 Montreal Jazz Festival and recorded in 1998.

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