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Legendary jazz saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett passes at 78 | Living It | stlamerican.com

Legendary jazz saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett passes at 78 | Living It | stlamerican.com
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http://www.stlamerican.com/entertainment/living_it/legendary-jazz-saxophonist-hamiet-bluiett-passes-at/article_92a00368-c8ae-11e8-8767-f3fc0b1ddd4c.html
 
Legendary jazz saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett passes at 78
2 hrs ago
Jazz legend and Lovejoy, Illinois native Hamiet Bluiett passed away yesterday (October 4). He was 78. Considered to be one of the best to ever pick up a baritone saxophone, Bluiett’s influence on the genre of jazz – and black arts in general – stretches five decades and he is counted among the greats within the canon of musical genius with roots in the St. Louis region.
“There is all this great music that came from St. Louis. It has its own vibe, its own flavor,” Bluiett told The American back in 2007, citing the likes of Miles Davis and Clark Terry. “These are people who really changed how music is dealt with.”
So did he.
 
Bluiett played clarinet through high school and college – and the barrelhouse dances in Brooklyn, Illinois that gave him his first gigs as a professional musician – and as part of the Navy band during his military service.
But after hearing Harry Carney – a baritone saxophonist for Duke Ellington’s band – play a live show in Boston, Bluiett connected with the instrument that would define his musical legacy.
When his military career ended in the mid-1960s, Bluiett return to the St. Louis region and connected with fellow creatives who used the arts as a catalyst for African-American pride. He was among the co-founders of the Black Artists’ Group, a collective dedicated to fostering creative work in theater, visual arts, dance, poetry, film, and music. He led the BAG big band during 1968 and 1969.
In 1969, Bluiett moved to New York and joined the Charles Mingus Quintet and Sam Rivers large ensemble. He toured Europe with Mingus and was featured on the classic “Mingus at Carnegie Hall.”
In 1976 he co-founded the World Saxophone Quartet along with two other Black Artists' Group alums Julius Hemphill and Oliver Lake. The quartet was rounded out by multi-reedist David Murray. The cutting edge group added a new tenor with respect to musical possibilities within the genre of jazz by their free form playing and incorporation of funk and African music into their signature style. Branford Marsalis is among the noted World Saxophone Quartet.
After decades of touring the world as a bandleader and ambassador for the baritone sax, Bluiett moved back to the St. Louis region in 2002 and remained for 10 years before returning to New York City. During his return, Bluiett often facilitated classes and workshops to pour into the region’s next generation of jazz.
When speaking to The American about a youth orchestra he had assembled in 2008 ahead of their debut performance, he said his goal was to teach young musicians things that they can’t learn in school.
“Schools are all right. To go to school is one thing, but you’ve got to go out and play,” Bluiett said. “It’s not like the classroom.”
Services for Bluiett are pending and this story will be updated with the information when it becomes available.
 
 





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