Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

355

Bennie Maupin: Early Reflections & The Jewel In The Lotus

Andrey Henkin By

Sign in to view read count








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 a slightly more productive '90s, Maupin has reemerged with the tripartite appeal of modern innovator, elder statesman and comeback kid. The timing could not have been better. With the royal treatment given to Miles' electric period—an era whose success was due in no small part to Maupin—he is now an exemplar of fusion's excitement, rather than a victim of its excesses and flippancy.

2006 saw the release of the wonderful Penumbra, a compelling statement for someone who had only four albums as a leader to his credit in the prior decades. Maupin seemed to distill his entire career on that album, an excellent calling card. He follows up that effort with Early Reflections, an album that adheres to much the same pattern as the first, Maupin once again crafting an album of vignettes, alternating brief sketches with more fully formed compositions. The group is different—a trio of Polish players which now includes a piano instead of percussion—but they are equally invested in Maupin's aesthetic. That is one of languorous movement, Maupin writing deliberate, organic compositions. Despite his layoff, the pieces demonstrate a veteran's savvy, with no rushing and supreme confidence. He appears on bass clarinet but also on display are tenor sax (his forgotten instrument for many), soprano sax and alto flute. On the record for two tunes is Polish vocalist Hania Chowaniec-Rybka, whose contributions are as subtle as the rest of disc. Maupin performed at the end of April as part of the Cryptogramophone Festival at Jazz Standard, playing a mix of pieces from both discs with the group from Penumbra. The club was filled to the rafters, audibly appreciative that Maupin's history is still being written.

"The Jewel in the Lotus" from the new album actually dates back to Maupin's titular debut as a leader for ECM in 1974, a date receiving overdue reissue. The album captures a particular period in Maupin's development; his first record would have been different if it were waxed during his mid '60s experimental period, later '60s hardbopping, turn-of-the-decade pre-fusion ruminations with Miles or '70s funkouts with Mwandishi or the Headhunters. Maupin enlists some of his Mwandishi cohorts for this album—keyboardist Herbie Hancock, bassist Buster Williams, drummer Billy Hart—effectively making this part of that circle of records that also includes Eddie Henderson's first discs. Though the instrumentation is fairly standard, with Charles Sullivan's trumpet matched against Maupin's reeds, the sound of the album is vaguely electronic and plenty amorphous, an atomization of Electric Miles. It must have been a shock back then and maybe needed to sit on the shelf for 30 years. It fits perfectly now with the modern state of jazz, just like its architect.


Tracks and Personnel

Early Reflections

Tracks: Within Reach; Escondido; Inside the Shadows; ATMA; Ours Again; The Jewel in the Lotus; Black Ice; Tears; Not Later Than Now; Early Reflections; Inner Sky; Prophet's Motifs; Spirits of the Tatras.

Personnel: Bennie Maupin: bass clarinet; tenor and soprano saxophones, alto flute; Michal Tokaj: piano; Michal Baranski: bass; Lukasz Zyta: drums, percussion; Hania Chowaniec-Rybka: voice (4, 13).

The Jewel In The Lotus

Tracks: Ensenada; Mappo; Excursion; Past + Present = Future; The Jewel in the Lotus; Winds of Change; Song for Tracie Dixon Summers; Past is Past.

Personnel: Bennie Maupin: reeds, voice, glockenspiel; Herbie Hancock: piano, electric piano; Buster Williams: bass; Frederick Waits: drums and marimba (left channel); Billy Hart: drums (right channel); Bill Summers: percussion, water-filled garbage can; Charles Sullivan: trumpet (2, 3).


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble, et. al Multiple Reviews The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble,...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Holiday Roundup 2017 Multiple Reviews Holiday Roundup 2017
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Old, Borrowed and Just a Little Blue Multiple Reviews Old, Borrowed and Just a Little Blue
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade Multiple Reviews Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade
by John Eyles
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 12, 2017
Read Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed Multiple Reviews Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed
by Nigel Campbell
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues" Multiple Reviews Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series" Multiple Reviews Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants" Multiple Reviews The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants
by Nigel Campbell
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon" Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "A Sense of Place" Multiple Reviews A Sense of Place
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!