The Jewel In The Lotus

Bennie Maupin

CD10,90 out of stock
LP14,90 out of print
CD from the "Touchstones" Series.
Bennie Maupin has been an inventive contributor to iconic records including Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew, Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi and Headhunters and Marion Brown’s Afternoon Of A Georgia Faun. His recordings under his own name have been infrequent but his leader debut, is indeed a jewel. “A more selfless album is hard to imagine”, said Down Beat in 1975. “On The Jewel In The Lotus, the sound is supreme, and all the players strive to achieve a thorough blending”. Recorded in New York in 1974, the disc’s personnel is drawn from the circle around Herbie Hancock in the period, but the music has a character all its own.
Featured Artists Recorded

March 1974, Record Plant New York City

Original Release Date


  • 1Ensenada
    (Bennie Maupin)
  • 2Mappo
    (Bennie Maupin)
  • 3Excursion
    (Bennie Maupin)
  • 4Past + Present = Future
    (Bennie Maupin)
  • 5The Jewel In The Lotus
    (Bennie Maupin)
  • 6Winds Of Change
    (Bennie Maupin)
  • 7Song For Tracie Dixon Summers
    (Bennie Maupin)
  • 8Past Is Past
    (Bennie Maupin)
Bennie Maupin, the reeds master whose contributions to the landmark Miles Davis Bitches Brew session and to Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi band were so sparingly telling, reemerged last year with an unusual new album… This is the companion-piece… The rich soundscapes of Bitches Brew and early Weather Report are strong references, with Maupin far more of an enabler and a colourist than a flat-out soloist. But his rich tapestries are more acoustic than most early 1970s fusion, and this is an absorbing collage of long flute sounds over marimba vamps and loosely impressionistic percussion, water-churning noises and electric keys washing around brooding bass clarinet lines, airy soprano melodies over Buster Williams’ bowed bass.
John Fordham, The Guardian
Last year’s come-back Penumbra distilled the multi-instrumentalist’s sparse, rhythmically intriguing world-jazz concept to magnificent effect. The Jewel In The Lotus feels mines remarkably similar territory, melding Maupin’s loyalty to Yusef Lateef’s multi-culturalism with the other-worldly, impressionistic stream of ideas he’ forged on Bitches Brew. Remastered by Manfred Eicher, these largely acoustic compositions are way more abstract than Maupin’s groove-loving followers might expect. Instead, he brings in three percussionists, with himself, Buster Williams and Herbie painting loose, Eastern-influenced colours on top. … A sophisticated work of art, well worth revisiting.
Tom Barlow, Jazzwise
This is the first time on CD for a long-unavailable collectors’ item. With The Jewel in the Lotus, Maupin, the great multireedman, produced something visionary and, for some perhaps, joltingly unexpected: a series of mostly rubato aural paintings using piano, electric piano, bass, three drummers, multitracked saxophone, bass clarinet and flute, and trumpet on two tracks. … Soloists include Herbie Hancock and Maupin, but this is a composer’s work; ad libs and interplay notwithstanding, the ensemble is paramount.
Ray Comiskey, Irish Times
Recordings as a leader have been infrequent. This was his first, and now appears for the first time on CD, still sounding entirely fresh and original. … There’s no doubt it’s a very beautiful and unusual creation.
Andy Hamilton, The Wire
The Jewel In The Lotus weht von ganz weit her. 1974 aufgenommen, jetzt remastered. Am Klavier und den Keyboards Herbie Hancock, am Bass Buster Williams. Zwei Drummer, ein Percussionist, dazwischen Maupins Flöte und Klarinette. Die Erschütterungen von Miles Davis’ erdrutschartigem Album Bitches Brew (Maupin hatte auch da mitgetan) ist noch spürbar. Aber die Juwelen, die Maupin hier aufbietet, sind Klangjuwelen, formen sich zu sinnlich breiten Panoramen. Musik als Vision.
Tilman Urbach, Stereo
Two special re-releases in August 2007 by great American reedmen, each of whom has had a profound, if under-acknowledged, impact on the development of jazz. We’re glad to welcome back into the catalogue Dewey Redman’s “The Struggle Continues”, and Bennie Maupin’s “The Jewel In The Lotus”, long out-of-print titles now making their first appearance on CD.

Bennie Maupin was one of the first musicians to record for ECM, playing on Marion Brown’s “Afternoon Of A Georgia Faun” in August 1970, when the label was just a few months old. “The Jewel In The Lotus”, made four years later, was Maupin’s first date as a leader, but he had already left his imprint on some very significant recordings. Born in Detroit in 1940, Maupin was encouraged in his early musical development by Yusef Lateef, John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy. Jack DeJohnette introduced him to Miles Davis, and Bennie’s bass clarinet was to become one of the signature sounds of the epochal “Bitches Brew”; he also appeared on Miles’s “On The Corner” and “Big Fun”. The early 70s, however, were spent mostly working with Herbie Hancock’s ensembles - the Mwandishi group and the Headhunters - and the line-up on “The Jewel In The Lotus” is essential a pooling of players from the Hancock circle, including Herbie himself in his only ECM appearance. If Hancock’s groups were beginning to lean toward funk in this era, the groove – even with three percussionists interacting - is often dispatched altogether on “The Jewel In The Lotus”, which is essentially a sequence of pulsing tone-poems, full of glowing, compound sound-colours and subtle interactions, a jazz-and-Buddhism-inspired floating chamber music that was way ahead of its time. The recording shows Maupin very much concerned with the totality of the musical conception, with the form as a whole. He is an exceptional improviser, thinking compositionally and directing group music in the moment. Said Down Beat in 1975: “On ‘The Jewel In The Lotus’ the sound is supreme, and all the players strive to achieve a thorough blending.” Produced by Manfred Eicher in New York in 1974 and, for its first CD appearance, remastered by Eicher with Jan Erik Kongshaug in Oslo in February 2007.