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


Bennie Maupin


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.26 | 23 ratings

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5 stars This is one of the many Mwandishi offshoot releases, an album recorded by virtually the same line-up as Hancock's early 70's masterpieces. But this one is composed by clarinet player Bennie Maupin, and it is very different from Crossings or Sextant, demonstrating how this line-up had reached a level of creativity and collective intuition that allowed them to take on entirely different and very challenging material.

'The Jewel in The Lotus' is a very experimental album, avant-garde almost, but not of the hard-core kind. The music is free-jazz based and largely eschews traditional melodic playing but it is still very rich harmonically, leaving an impression that it was composed as much as improvised. The tight grooves, which drove Hancock's albums, are absent. Instead the drums, just like all other instruments, are used to create an atmospheric texture that ebbs and flows as graciously as the waves, very fluent, continuous music with vague abstract patterns. It's hard to grasp sometimes, and nearly impossible to analyze, but at the same time it's one of those albums that totally drags you into its gentle dreamy mood. It's brooding, mesmerizing, addictive. Even during the wilder atonal sections.

I've only recently got to know this album thanks to a much appreciated suggestion from a hard-core fan. I can see why now, this work quickly established itself as one of my favorite titles of my most beloved jazz period, that of the early 70s, where a deeply psychedelic and intuitive approach embraced some of the energy and electricity of rock. A masterpiece. Much recommend to fans of the early Weather Report albums and Davis' Silent Way.

Bonnek | 5/5 |


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