Best Jazz Artist - 2007
The St. Louis area has produced many fine jazz musicians in the past century, but there are two who stand out for having shattered the dominant paradigms of their time. One is the late Miles Davis, whose spare yet lyrical trumpet sound provided a unifying element through a series of conceptual reinventions that changed the entire course of jazz at least three separate times. The other, thankfully still very much with us, is baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett, who over the past 40 years has redefined the possibilities on his chosen instrument, rendering its supposed limitations meaningless by simply refusing to acknowledge them. Whether playing sideman to the likes of Charles Mingus, co-founding the cooperative World Saxophone Quartet or leading his own ensembles, Bluiett has approached every phase of his career with intensity and integrity.