249

Hamiet Bluiett: Baritone Nation

By

Sign in to view read count
There's an overwhelming funk groove in this recording from the 1997 Montreal International Jazz Festival. It may be a little bottom heavy, but those baritones can shriek, too, and all the players have chops to burn. With Burrage pounding out the beat, it must have been a spectacular concert. The jazz saxophone quartet, the instrumentation first borrowed from classical music for jazz by Anthony Braxton over two decades ago, is now well established. Bluiett, a founder of the World Saxophone Quartet, which has been pre-eminent since its inception, gets some of the credit for that, but now he's gone a step further. I guess you can't be shy and play an instrument like the baritone. The question is, does it work in the stereo also?

I'd say, yes, it does, on its own terms. These are not polite sounds to accompany a quiet rendezvous over cocktails. This music gets your body moving, with its insistent rhythms. The intervening free passages provide some spice, and give you a chance to rest before those powerful baritones break lose again, lining out the groove in solo statement, or with Burrage backing, or with the other horns forming a dissonant chorus.

Is Bluiet once again out in front of the trends? I doubt it. Innovation, surprise and even novelty are important values in jazz, as sophisticated audiences look for a fresh sound, something that will grab their attention. The Baritone Nation certainly does that: music so strong, so eccentric, so committed that it viscerally communicates the joy of performance — you can literally feel it in your bones as the vibrations shake you, not unlike the big dance bands of old. I'd go see them in a minute. This recording is undeniably extraordinary, but I don't think its a trend-setter. One is enough for me.

Track Listing: Libation for the baritone saxophone nation; Discussion among friends; MPR-1; Revival; Settegast Strut; Underwater birth; J. B. groove; KMA/QB

Personnel: Hamiet Bluiett, James Carter, Alex Harding, Patience Higgins, baritone saxophone; Ronnie Burrage, drums

| Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Heavy Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "Twin" CD/LP/Track Review Twin
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "My Iris" CD/LP/Track Review My Iris
by Phil Barnes
Published: April 12, 2017
Read "It's Time" CD/LP/Track Review It's Time
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Rhythmic Movement" CD/LP/Track Review Rhythmic Movement
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Fly or Die" CD/LP/Track Review Fly or Die
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!