Bennie Maupin Early Reflections Cryptogramophone 2008 Bennie Maupin The Jewel In The Lotus ECM 2007
The reascendence of Bennie Maupin is a heartening story. After an almost 15-year period (1965-1979 in recorded terms) when the saxophonist was one of the most exciting players in jazz and graced a remarkably wide range of albums, Maupin's star dimmed as it has for so many others in jazz. After a bleak '80s decade and ...read more
After establishing his reputation in the 1960s and 1970s with artists including Miles Davis, Andrew Hill and Herbie Hancock, Bennie Maupin mysteriously disappeared for over a decade. Re-emerging in the 1990s, it's still only been recently--with the release of the overdue reissue of his 1974 ECM classic, The Jewel in the Lotus in 2007, and his first album as a leader in eight years, the sublime Penumbra (Cryptogramophone, 2006)--that the woodwind multi-instrumentalist has returned to greater visibility. Early Reflections's instrumentation may be a more conventional setting than Penumbra's woodwinds/bass/drums/percussion line-up, but it's just as fine, its generally subdued tone broken ...read more
For the collector, a first-time issue on CD of any of ECM's early releases is most welcome. Which ones are chosen for release--and when they are issued--may well appear to be arbitrary to the outsider, despite a certain plan internal to the label.That The Jewel In The Lotus, first released in 1974, has finally been issued on CD is worth celebrating for two reasons: first, the music is of the highest quality; and second, Bennie Maupin has not recorded much as a leader, with Penumbra (Cryptogramophone, 2006) and Driving While Black (Intuition, 1997) his most recent releases.read more
Of the ECM titles that have remained unavailable on CD, woodwind multi-instrumentalist Bennie Maupin's The Jewel in the Lotus (1974) has long been considered a holy grail for collectors in search of a vinyl copy, and a title that's been on many fans' wish lists for release on CD. Well, it's finally happened and it's been worth the wait. Those familiar will recognize it as still classic thirty years on; for those unfamiliar with its magic, it's time to get acquainted.
Fellow Headhunter Herbie Hancock--appearing here alongside another Headhunter member, percussionist Bill Summers--was pursuing more groove-centric ...read more
One of the true challenges faced by the creative artist is the need to evolve over the course of a career, to respect the past while staring unflinchingly toward the future. This is especially true of improvising musicians, who do this while inextricably in the moment, creating structure from chaos, revealing the future in the blinding light of the present. Multi-instrumentalist Bennie Maupin takes on this challenge with Penumbra, a release that marks him as one of the true visionaries living today. Maupin is no stranger to jazz stages; he's been performing professionally for almost fifty years. He's kept a ...read more
In AllAboutJazz-New York's Best of 2006 spread, three of the four Best Album lists included Bennie Maupin's Penumbra. The disc was his first since 1998's Driving While Black (Intuition), an album few in the jazz world really knew. A listener would have to go back to the '70s when Maupin released a couple of funk albums for Mercury or perhaps even earlier to his 1974 ECM debut The Jewel in the Lotus to find Maupin the leader, the composer, given a proper forum in which to work. Maupin, who grew up in Detroit, is one of those puzzling ...read more
For forty years, Bennie Maupin has played with the giants of jazz, starting with Roy Haynes, Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, and Marion Brown. A call from Miles Davis put Maupin in the line up that recorded his most earth shaking albums including Bitches Brew (Columbia/Legacy, 1969), Big Fun (Columbia/Legacy, 1974) and On the Corner (Columbia/Legacy, 1972).
His instantly recognizable bass clarinet prowled the lower clef like a barracuda. After working with several Herbie Hancock projects, including his long term associations with the Headhunters, Maupin uprooted from NY to move to LA. While living a charmed life as a ...read more
The Bennie Maupin Ensemble Penumbra Cryptogramophone 2006
Bennie Maupin has been standing in the shadows, enhancing the music of such high-profilers as Miles Davis, Andrew Hill and Herbie Hancock, during much of his career. Not before time, he steps up to the mic with Penumbra, leading a trio-plus-percussion ensemble and himself switching between reeds and flute. His supple and commanding playing reflects his deep musical knowledge, and his band, with whom he's been touring the past few years, performs with energy and sparkle.
The music includes a variety of world influences, from Harlem to ...read more
For whatever it's worth, Bennie Maupin will continue to be associated with Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, and to an extent with Herbie Hancock and his fusion phase. But times and circumstances have changed, and it is good to see Maupin get into an acoustic setting that draws attention to his playing and his music. It is telling that the title of the first tune refers to a love for novelty in the present day.
Maupin plays five instruments along with a bassist, a drummer and a percussionist, all of whom fit in just nicely and elevate his music, ...read more
Bennie Maupin, whose bass clarinet work helped define Miles Davis' classic Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1969), was an equally key contributor to Herbie Hancock's 1970s Mwandishi and Headhunters groups. In light of this, it's hard to believe that he has released only six albums as a leader during his lengthy career. One bona fide classic, The Jewel in the Lotus (ECM, 1974), sadly awaits issue on CD, and another disc comes very close: Driving While Black (Intuition, 1997).
But while both of these records had clear precedence in Mwandishi and electric Miles, Penumbra is an all-acoustic affair, featuring long-time associate Daryl ...read more
Always the bridesmaid, rarely the bride, Bennie Maupin has spent most of his career supporting other artists--sometimes as a featured soloist, but more often as a background colourist. Since the mid-1990s he has stood in the shadows more than ever, concentrating on teaching and leading community outreach projects. Penumbra is his first album in eight years.
Maupin first came to attention in the late 1960s playing tenor saxophone in Lee Morgan's band. He then became best known as a bass clarinettist, first with Miles Davis (he was featured, famously, on Bitches Brew), then, from 1970-1976, with Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi and ...read more
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