Charles Mingus may have been a violent, abusive nutcase, but he certainly had a knack for employing great sidemen and bringing out the best in them (when he wasn't knocking them around). One of the fine players Mingus employed in the 1970s was Hamiett Bluiett, a wonderful baritone saxman who can go from dissonant "outside" playing to melodic "inside" lyricism without missing a beat. Joined by drummer Idris Muhammad, bassist Fred Hopkins, percussionist Chief Bey and the late pianist Don Pullen, Bluiett keeps us guessing on the superb Live At Carlos I (which was recorded at that New York venue in 1986 and has come out on Montreal's Just A Memory label). The CD gets off to an angular and cerebral start on the avant-garde piece "The Mighty Denn," but Bluiett favors a peaceful post-bop mood on "Full, Deep And Mellow" and "Nali Kula." And it is the "inside/outside" approach that prevails on Sonny Rollins' "Oleo" and Dizzy Gillespie's "Night In Tunisia." Throughout it all, Bluiett has a rock-solid rapport with his sidemen. Bluiett's name isn't huge in the jazz world, but this disc shows that it's a name worth getting to know.
Reprinted with the permission of Myrna Daniels and L.A. Jazz Scene , the largest jazz publication in Southern California.