Exposé Online banner

The Bennie Maupin Ensemble — Penumbra
(Cryptogramophone CG 129, 2006, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-01-01

Penumbra Cover art

Bennie Maupin is primarily known for his rooting bass clarinet work on Miles Davis’ Jack Johnson and Bitches Brew sessions. Later he would cement his legacy with Herbie Hancock in the fiercely popular Head Hunters funk jazz act. His newest four-piece band is a perfect foil showcasing his keen introspection and instrumental dexterity. His tenor and soprano sax work (on par with his noted bass clarinet playing) is both emotive and questing, informed primarily by his 60s peers Eric Dolphy and Yusef Lateef. At times the compositional tone is slow, waxen, and purposefully disheartened, represented on “Walter Bishop Jr.” and “Trope on a Rope.” Short vignettes such as “Blinkers” and “Mirror Image” appear to signify the free spirit burning in Maupin’s psyche. The well paced title track is a joint ensemble of joyful expression with Maupin employing alto flute, creating a rich but elusive African backdrop. This works in stark contrast to the up-tempo spirited workouts on “See the Positive” and “The 12th Day.” The former piece is driven by Derek Oleszkiewicz’s bouncy bass playing while the latter is propelled in part by Daryl Munyungo Jackson’s pattery congas. “Equal Justice” closes out the disc with Maupin’s contemplative piano leading a careful tone poem of resonant beauty. Taken on the whole Maupin’s songwriting with his telepathic quartet demonstrates mastery of widely distinct moods and song forms.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Bennie Maupin

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Shylock - Gialorgues – Most prog bands that came out of France in the 70s had something stylistically in common: a minimalist approach. Not minimalist in the sense of Philip Glass, say, but rather a profound thematic...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues