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Bennie Maupin - The Jewel in the Lotus CD (album) cover

THE JEWEL IN THE LOTUS

Bennie Maupin

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.19 | 10 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Bennie Maupin will be a name familiar to those who are into Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. He played clarinet on "Bitches Brew" as well as being part of the "Mwandishi" albums by Hancock. He was the only one from those album to record with Herbie on "Headhunters". The lineup here on "The Jewel In The Lotus" includes Hancock, Hart and Williams from the "Mwandishi" albums along with Summers from the "Headhunters" sessions. Maupin surrounded himself with those he knew during the recording of this album. Besides Hart on drums we also get Waits doing the same. What he did was have one drummer coming through the left channel and the other coming through the right channel playing completely different things. We also have Sullivan playing trumpet on two tracks.The music here is different from any of the bands he had played with before. Some call it Avant Jazz and maybe that's part of it, but to my ears this is melancholic and minimalistic while intricate sounds often come and go. I was not expecting this at all. This was such a great time for those into experimental Jazz because these amazing musicians were trying new things and trail- blazing at the same time.

"Ensenda" opens with bass as we get some atmosphere with marimba, piano and bells. Everything is so intricate as sounds come and go. "Mappo" opens with trumpet and intricate sounds. Some flute after a minute as sounds come and go until after 1 1/2 minutes when it settles in.They quickly go back to the intricate sounds. Piano and bass standout after 3 1/2 minutes and the piano sounds amazing as it gets pretty intense. It settles back down before 8 minutes. "Excursion" has this atmosphere that hovers and it's dark as vocal melodies come in. It turns insane as piano, trumpet, drums and more blast the soundscape. "Past + Present = Future" is a short piece with percussion, piano, flute and atmosphere.

"The Jewel In The Lotus" has these experimental sounds as the horns come in. It's brief as we get a dark calm with sparse piano, bass and cymbals. Sax before 2 minutes joins in. Bass clarinet follows. Sax and bass then lead but the piano and drums are prominant as well. Cool sounds end it. "Winds Of Change" is a short piece where sounds rise and fall. "Song For Tracie Dixon Summers" opens with bass then horns as drums join in around 2 minutes, piano too. "Past Is Past" has these mournful sax melodies with piano. Drums come in later in this melancholic closer.

A unique album played by some of the best on the planet.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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