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