Hamiet Bluiett

If Trees Could Talk

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This set of duets by baritonist Hamiet Bluiett and pianist Larry Willis is really a showcase for Bluiett's emotional playing. Ranging from free improvisations to Thelonious Monk's "Ask Me Now," a humorous reworking of "Cherry Pink, Apple Blossom White," and some originals, the music features lots of adventurous playing from Bluiett, who fully explores the extreme upper register of his baritone (including on the unaccompanied closer "Runaway"). On one piece, the opening "The African," Bluiett duets with percussionist Asante. Otherwise Willis is mostly in a subtle and supportive role, giving Hamiet Bluiett a solid foundation in which to leap into his wild flights.