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Hamiet Bluiett Dies at 78

The baritone sax innovator was a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet

Hamiet Bluiett at the Knitting Factory, NYC, June 29, 1997 (photo: Alan Nahigian)

Hamiet Bluiett, one of the most renowned baritone saxophonists of the modern era, died Thursday, Oct. 4, at St. Louis University Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. He was 78. The cause of death has not yet been revealed, but his passing was confirmed on Facebook by two daughters, Anaya Bluiett and Bridgett Vasquez. Bluiett—who had worked since the 1970s as a leader and as a core member of the World Saxophone Quartet—had been battling severe health problems for years, having experienced numerous strokes and seizures.

In a 2001 JazzTimes review, writer Ron Wynn said, “There haven’t been many more aggressive, demonstrative baritone saxophonists in recent jazz history than Hamiet Bluiett. He dominates in the bottom register, playing with a fury and command that becomes even more evident when he moves into the upper register, then returns with ease to the baritone’s lowest reaches.”

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