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Bennie Maupin: Miles Beyond

By Published: September 12, 2006
Bennie MaupinAAJ: The new version of "Neophillia" has a lot more pop than the famous version with Lee Morgan.

BM: I put it in a different time signature, and don't play the melody until the end. A new twist on an old number.

AAJ: "One for Dolphy" is improvised?

BM:One take, one time, that was it. I do have some very specific things I wanted in there.

AAJ: The title track is exotically beautiful.

BM: It goes back to the Equal Interval System, how to make little moves to create melodies, shift things around a little bit, have a little color, but to maintain a melodic integrity that enables you to follow.

AAJ: The alto flute is so rich.

BM:That's precisely why I use it. I practice on the C flute, but for playing live, I do like the low frequencies. It's from years and years of observing audiences when they hear a lower frequency coming from an instrument it tends to pull them in. You have to listen a little more attentively. High frequency instruments hit you so hard, after awhile the ear has a tendency to want to shut down. And that's what happens. I've been able to observe very carefully how people tend to get very tired of listening to high frequencies a lot. The attention span is not what it used to be when people weren't so driven by what they see.

Television changed everything. People stopped listening and started looking. When that happened we lost out as musicians. That's another reason why I want to play my music in concert and chamber music settings because quite often those settings are very beautiful to look at. That means a lot, if you can present yourself in a setting that's attractive and people will pay attention to what they see, you can really capture them with your music. I have a very visual sense that I work from and I definitely see images with my music, and I want to present my music with dance and movement, at some point. That's how I want people to experience it, so that it totally embraces them in every way possible.

Selected Discography

Bennie Maupin Ensemble, Penumbra (Cryptogramophone, 2006)
Darek Oles, Like a Dream (Cryptogramophne, 2004)
Headhunters, Evolution Revolution (Basin Street, 2003)
George Cables, Shared Secrets (Muse FX, 2002)
Mike Clark, Actual Proof (PGI, 2000)
Bennie Maupin, Driving While Black (Intuition, 1998)
Headhunters, Return of the Headhunters (Verve, 1998)
Meat Beat Manifesto, Actual Sounds + Vocals (Nothing, 1998)
Meshell Ndegeocello, Peace Beyond Passion (Maverick, 1996)
Herbie Hancock, Dis is da Drum (Mercury, 1993)
Herbie Hancock, Feets Don't Fail Me Now (Columbia, 1979)
Bennie Maupin, Moonscapes (Mercury, 1978)
Lennie White, Big City (Nemperor, 1977)
Bennie Maupin, Slow Traffic to the Right (Mercury, 1976)
Headhunters, Survival of the Fittest (Arista, 1975)
Eddie Henderson, Sunburst (Blue Note, 1975)
Sonny Rollins, Nucleus (Milestone, 1975)
Bennie Maupin, The Jewel in the Lotus (ECM, 1974)
Herbie Hancock, Thrust (Columbia/Legacy, 1974)
Miles Davis, Big Fun (Columbia/Legacy, 1974)
Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters (Columbia/Legacy, 1973)
Woody Shaw, Song of Songs (OJC, 1972)
Miles Davis, On the Corner (Columbia/Legacy, 1972)
Herbie Hancock, Sextant (Columbia/Legacy, 1972)
Herbie Hancock, Crossing (Warner Bros., 1971)
Marion Browne, Afternoon of a Georgia Faun (ECM, 1970)
Miles Davis, Bitches Brew (Columbia/Legacy, 1969)
Lee Morgan, Taru (Blue Note, 1968)
McCoy Tyner, Tender Moments (Blue Note, 1967)
Andrew Hill, One for One (Blue Note, 1965)

Photo Credit Courtesy of Cryptogramophone

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