The quintet on this CD (baritonist Hamiet Bluiett, pianist Don Pullen, bassist Fred Hopkins, drummer Idris Muhammad, and Chief Bay on African percussion) was only together for a week, but three CDs resulted from their engagement at the Carlos I club in New York; Mulgrew Miller is in Pullen's place on one of the two other discs. This is a particularly intriguing setting for the great baritonist Bluiett, for even though he is an avant-gardist, he is heard here playing such numbers as "I'll Close My Eyes" (which becomes so romantic at one point that it seems satirical), "Autumn Leaves," and Bluiett's blues "John." Bluiett pays tribute to the melodies before crashing through one's expectations of what a baritone sax can sound like. Meanwhile Pullen, with his atonal clusters but highly rhythmic playing, shows how accessible some aspects of the avant-garde can be. Bluiett and Pullen made for a great team (Hopkins, Muhammad, and Bay are also quite colorful) and fortunately this gig was well documented. Fans of advanced jazz and Bluiett will definitely want this recording.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow