BENNIE MAUPIN — The Bennie Maupin Ensemble : Penumbra (review)

BENNIE MAUPIN — The Bennie Maupin Ensemble : Penumbra album cover Album · 2006 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
snobb
Multi-reedist Bennie Maupin made his name playing on Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew", and later being a member of Herbie Hancock's funky Headhunters. His moment of real glory is still "The Jewel in the Lotus"(1974) - Maupin's debut as a leader and one of the very best jazz fusion albums ever recorded. In 1977 he released "Slow Traffic To The Right" - strong fusion album, recorded in a key of its predecessor, another year later - less successful, "Moonscapes". Than Maupin stayed in silence for twenty years, returning for " Driving While Black..."(1998), and for the upcoming quarter of the century he released only four more albums. But Bennie was still more active as a collaborator on other artists releases.

Having a cult status among fans of early fusion, Maupin's extremely rare more current albums didn't attract a lot of attention, and in the case of "Penumbra", it's a real shame. Released on the avant-garde jazz label, Cryptogramophone, and recorded in California, this album contains an excellent incarnation of Maupin's music, in a new key and with a new band. Maupin predominantly plays bass clarinet and tenor sax here, the band contains excellent Polish bassist Darek Oles, LA-based veteran drummer Michael Stephans and percussionist Munyungo Jackson.

The album's music is mostly midtempo, very percussive and groovy, quite minimalist and almost chamber. All but one of the songs are Maupin originals ("Penumbra" is credited to all quartet members). Maupin's solos lead each song, sometimes lyrical, soulful, or in other cases - more meditative. It sounds very much as a seasoned veteran telling his life story from the distance of years, with maturity, but without sentimentality or melancholy. Very often Maupin's solos sound as monologues. Surprisingly enough, Bennie's playing is free, "Penumbra" is his freest album for sure. Rhythm section is very supportive, intuitive end intelligent adding lots of modern textures to this intimate music.

Along with "The Jewel in the Lotus", "Penumbra" is one of the very best Maupin albums, a real secret jam.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
Blue Train Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Up High, Down Low Progressive Big Band
ALAN FERBER
Buy this album from MMA partners
Estrellero Post Bop
LEO GENOVESE
Buy this album from MMA partners
Shades Of Rainbow Post Bop
MIKI YAMANAKA
Buy this album from MMA partners
Gabby Fluke-Mogul, Dave Rempis : Lip Avant-Garde Jazz
DAVE REMPIS
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

Kromfot
SKARBØ SKULEKORPS
js· 23 hours ago
Harold López-Nussa - Funky (Official Video)
HAROLD LÓPEZ-NUSSA
snobb· 1 day ago
Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra - Nyjah's Theme (2020)
THE PAN AFRIKAN PEOPLES ARKESTRA (WITHOUT HORACE TAPSCOTT)
snobb· 2 days ago
I've Got A Feeling For You
CLIFFORD JORDAN
snobb· 2 days ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us