Jazz Great Bennie Maupin to Perform the Jewel in the Lotus at REDCAT on December 8th

Bennie Maupin, photo by Gerry Walden Photography

The Bennie Maupin Ensemble will be performing the music from Maupin’s classic album The Jewel in the Loutus in concert at REDCAT on Friday, Decemeber 8th at 8:30 PM. Released in 1974 on the ECM label, the date was the reedman’s first as a bandleader. The vinyl edition has long been a treasured item among record collectors; long out of print in any format, the recording is now available for download or streaming with ECM finally opening its catalog to most of the leading digital platforms as of November 17th.

Having already recorded with such artists as Horace Silver and McCoy Tyner, Maupin achieved major recognition in 1970 with his work on two of that year’s most outstanding jazz albums: Marion Brown’s Afternoon of a Georgia Faun and on Miles Davis’s landmark Bitches Brew (he would record with the trumpeter again on 1972’s no less significant On the Corner). Maupin went on to perform in Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi and Headhunters bands, and the keyboardist returned the favor by playing on The Jewel in the Loutus. While songs from the album have remained in Maupin’s repertoire–a different arrangement of the title track can be heard on his excellent 2008 Cryptogramophone release Early Reflections–this will represent the first live performance of the complete song cycle that makes up the album.

In addition to Mr. Maupin on a variety of saxophones, clarinets, flutes and perhaps other instruments, the Bennie Maupin Ensemble will feature bassist Derek Oles, percussionist Munyungo Jackson, David Johnson on vibraphone and marimba, drummer Gene Coye, guitarist Jeff Parker, Lindsey Hundley on piano and keyboards, violist Eyvid Kang and Shana Tucker on cello and vocals. The original recording of “The Jewel in the Lotus” from 1974 emerged from the avant-garde, fusion and soul jazz of the era, whereas the 2008 recording took the song’s melody and pulse and recast it as a more traditional acoustic jazz quartet. It will be interesting to see what changes the music undergoes with the expanded instrumentation available with the Ensemble.

The Bennie Maupin Ensemble, December 8th, 8:30 pm. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012. (213)237-2800. $25 general, $20 students. Website.

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