The Jewel in the Lotus

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The Jewel in the Lotus
Bennie Maupin's studio album



Label (s) ECM

Format (s)


Genre (s)


Title (number)


running time




Manfred Eicher

Studio (s)

Record Plant Studio, New York City

The Jewel in the Lotus Slow Traffic to the Right

The Jewel in the Lotus is a jazz album by Bennie Maupin that was recorded at Record Plant Studio in New York City in March 1974 and released on ECM that same year .

The album

The year before, Bennie Maupin had worked on Herbie Hancock's recordings for his fusion album Head Hunters . Maupin's “contemplative play, carried by a warm, dark sound” has “shaped various groups of Hancock” such as the formations Mwandishi and Sextant .

On his own album The Jewel in the Lotus , the title of which refers to the Buddhist mantra Om mani padme hum , Maupin brought in befriended musicians from the Headhunters band; these were the percussionist Bill Summers and Hancock himself. He also brought in the drummer Billy Hart and the bassist Buster Williams , who also came from Hancock's earlier groups. Added to this was the second drummer Freddie Waits , a former Motown - studio musician knew from his hometown of Detroit, the Maupin. Charles Sullivan played trumpet on two tracks.

The album begins after six seconds of silence with the percussive introduction by Ensenada , with Buster Williams' double bass, Freddie Waits' marimba , Bill Summers' bells and Hancock's piano, before Maupin is in the foreground on the flute, playing long lines and Billy Hart finally begins to hit the edge of his tom-toms with his sticks . Hancock contributes a rhythmic ostinato in the middle register .

In contrast, the sensational beginning of Mappo is dominated by the two drummers; “ Rhythms and themes change and more notes are added, but everything only with a skeletal structure. Subjects disappear to make way for others to return, and everything becomes circular. The whole title - notwithstanding the untamed but taut percussion and the intense archery of Williams - remains in the realm of absolutely crystalline beauty. "

The wild improvisation excursion (with introductory vocal contributions by Maupin) is followed by the short ostinato title Past + Present = Future . This (at the beginning of the B-side of the record) adds the e-piano sound, which reminds the critic Thom Jurek in the title track of Eduard Artemjev's score for Tarkowski's Solaris (1972) - deep modal lines by Williams and Maupin's muscular tenor saxophone playing . Tension arises at the borders between light and dark, especially with the lines of the bass clarinet and the flute in the short Winds of Change . After the modal ballad Song for Tracie Dixon Summers with the interplay of Williams, Summers, Maupin's saxophone and Hancock, Past Is Past closes the album.

Freddie Waits

The titles

  • Bennie Maupin - The Jewel in the Lotus (ECM 1043)
    1. Ensenada - 8:15
    2. Mappo - 8:30
    3. Excursion - 4:52
    4. Past + Present = Future - 1:52
    5. The Jewel in the Lotus - 10:02
    6. Winds of Change - 1:30
    7. Song for Tracie Dixon Summers - 5:19
    8. Past Is Past - 3:57

All compositions are by Bennie Maupin

Editorial notes

After its first publication by ECM, Jewel in the Lotus was in the catalog as a record for many years , was then sold out and was only re-released in 2007 as a compact disc with a new cover design.

Reception of the album

Thom Jurek awarded the album the highest rating of five stars in Allmusic and wrote:

“It's a classic of the 1970s spiritual jazz, and just as much as the Strata East or Black Jazz recordings , Maupin's ECM offering is a marvel of arrangement and composition with great ensemble playing, long but frugal passages, space, and true weirdness. Maupin played all the woodwind instruments plus a carillon; Summers' percussion effects also include a trash can filled with water. The two drummers twirl in two different channels but never play the same thing, and Hancock plays the most spartan, lyrical modal piano in his entire career. […] The real value of Jewel in the Lotus lies in the fact that perhaps no other bandleader at the time was able to bring together players from such different points of reference in their own musical development and let them interact with material that was so densely arranged and its dynamics and tensions are so distinct and persistent. […] Jewel in the Lotus is a true jazz classic because only jazz in the early 70s was big enough to produce music like this, with all its seeming paradoxes, and standing on its own. This album sounds just as timeless and sophisticated today as it did when it was released. Amen."

John Fordham reviewed the album when it was re-released in 2007 in the Guardian and compared it to the then fusion productions Bitches Brew by Miles Davis (on which Bennie Maupin played bass clarinet ) and Weather Report :

“The mighty soundscapes of Bitches Brew and the early Weather Report are strong points of reference, […] Maupin's rich soundscapes are more acoustic than most of the early 70's fusion music like Hancock's Mwandishi , and this is a fascinating collage of long flute sounds over Marimba improvisations and loosely impressionistic percussion, water-stirring noises and electric keyboards with lines on the bass clarinet and airy soprano saxophone melodies over Buster Williams' bowed bass. There are also free jazz-like outbreaks, for example by Herbie Hancock in Mappo , which surprise every listener familiar with Hancock. "

John Kelman describes the album as the "holy grail of record collectors" given the fact that it was long out of print. It ranges from "almost pastoral beauty to fiery free play"; the contributions of drummers Frederick Waits and Billy Hart were reminiscent of early Weather Report tonal poems such as Joe Zawinul's Orange Lady (1971). Even if the game becomes more abstract , as in Mappo and Excursion (both with trumpeter Charles Sullivan), there is a sure sense of atmosphere, which gives even “the greatest extreme a strange beauty”. Kelman especially goes into the ten-minute title track of the album; In the long introduction, Maupin's soprano saxophone meshes with Williams' arco bass and Hancock's electric piano; the result would be "a sound that is entranced, but still somehow grounded". […] “Maupin's compositions are often characterized by strong lyricism, but it is the permanent interplay of this sextet / septet that makes this album so remarkable. Just as the space-creating play of the three percussionists has to be observed, a thread-like, shimmering transparency [...] appears here, which makes The Jewel in the Lotus a masterpiece that is finally available again. "

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Kunzler : Jazz Lexicon . Rowohlt, Reinbek 2002 (2nd edition), ISBN 3-499-16512-0 vol. 1; ISBN 3-499-16317-9 vol. 2
  2. a b c d e f Review of Thom Jurek's album at Allmusic (English). Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  3. Original: “ It is a classic of 1970s spiritual jazz, and as much as any recording on Strata East or Black Jazz, Maupin's ECM offering is a wonder of arrangement and composition with gorgeous ensemble play, long yet sparse passages, space, and genuine strangeness. Maupin plays all of his reeds and flute in addition to glockenspiel here; Summers' percussion effects include a water-filled garbage can. The two drummers swirling around in different channels don't ever play the same thing, but counter and complement one another. And Hancock plays some of the most truly Spartan and lyrically modal piano in his career here. [...] The true worth of Jewel in the Lotus is that perhaps no other bandleader at the time could bring together players from such different backgrounds and relationships to his own musical development and make them interact with one another with material that is scored so closely and whose dynamics and tensions are so pronounced and steady. Maupin was so utterly accomplished as a composer as well as a soloist by this time it comes as a shock that he hadn't been making records regularly - and even more so that he has only recorded very sporadically as a leader since (only a handful of recordings bear his name on top but they are all as fine as they are different from one another). Jewel in the Lotus is a true jazz classic because only jazz was big enough in the early '70s to hold music like this, with all its seeming paradoxes, and recognize it as its own. This album sounds as timeless and adventurous in the present as the day it was released. Amen. "
  4. ^ John Fordham: Review of the album in The Guardian (2007)
  5. ^ Joh Kelman: Review of the album in All About Jazz