Baritone sax legend Hamiet Bluiett's, Live At The Village Vanguard: Ballads & Blues showcases the bottom-member of the World Saxophone Quartet with an adventurous group featuring guitarist Ted Dunbar. Bluiett's playing is soulful and contemplative on each on of the eight tunes from this live Village Vanguard set.
This set features two jazz standards, a number of Bluiett originals, a tune apiece by Dunbar and bassist Clint Houston, and one by baritone saxophonist Patience Higgins. Bluiett does not content himself with traditional ballad treatments, instead constructing solos which explore the outer harmonic reaches of the tunes and utilize the full range of his instrument. Dunbar, one of a very small handful on guitarists whose comping rivals the best pianists, follows Bluiett's every move.
Dunbar also comes forward for some remarkable solo work, spotlighting his warm, broad tone, highly melodic phrases, and unusually sophisticated harmonic conception. Houston and Monk alumnus Ben Riley's tight rhythm section work propels the soloists and moves the date along in a swinging fashion.
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