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, which is spare, open, spacious and often unhurried. His arrangements are little nuggets of invention. He builds "Penumbra on a sparse dialogue between Darek "Oles Oleszkiewicz's bass and Daryl Munyungo Jackson's percussion. Their quiet eloquence is raised when Maupin joins in on alto flute and Michael Stephans inflects accents on the cymbals. Maupin creates a soft sheen that's resplendent in its conception, flowing in quiet majesty.
The mood sweeps upbeat on "See the Positive. The rhythm section flexes a jumpy pulse which Maupin extends with a mellifluent air on soprano sax, wallowing in the melody and injecting it with sprightly verve. When Maupin wrote a "Message to Prez, he gave himself room to manoeuvre. A fissiparous opening where figures form and dissipate moves into a pronounced melodic body injected with sinew. The rhythm section brings in interesting contrasts: Oleszkiewicz keeps the beat pegged on the bass, while Jackson uses the shakers to swish across the lines of the bass clarinet.
A welcome return from Maupin.
Neophilia 2006; Walter Bishop, Jr.; Level Three; Blinkers; Penumbra; Mirror Image; Message To Prez; Tapping Things; Vapors; One For Eric Dolphy; See The Positive; Trop On A Rope; The 12th Day; Equal Justice.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.