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

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Spacious Mind - Cosmic Minds at Play – The Spacious Mind is the latest band to emerge from the burgeoning progressive scene in Sweden. Abandoning the more symphonic influences of countrymen Änglagård, Manticore, and Landberk,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues