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Bennie Maupin: The Jewel In The Lotus

 

No doubt, this cover is pure kitsch. In their first ten years, ECM took bold risks in the jazz world by delivering cover designs incl. nature‘s wide open spaces not hesitating to make use of doves in the sky or a yellow milky sun. But it worked, and it had an impact. Now this one surely was quite over the top. But, in a strange way, I even liked it, after a while, maybe because of the warm colours, and, oh boy, this was definitely Bennie Maupin‘s masterpiece. It is part of the 25 albums of the touchstone series published by ECM in May, and a wonderful journey to one of the lesser known gems of the so-called fusion era. Percussionist Alan Rudolph told me once that when he was 18 or 19 years old, he became a witness of the recording. And he felt from the start the special beauty of this music. (me)

 

 

 

 

 

„In 1974, the multireedist Bennie Maupin released his first solo album, the endlessly eloquent jazz masterpiece The Jewel in the Lotus. The title is a translation of a Buddhist chant, “Om Mani Padme Hum,” which evokes an ancient story. The Buddha once stood in front of an assembly of monks to deliver a sermon, and instead of speaking, silently held up a lotus flower. The lotus became a powerful symbol in the religion, a flower that can grow without roots, from muddy water. And though Maupin is listed as the leader, The Jewel in the Lotus defies assumptions about the hierarchy of musical composition and performance. “A more selfless album is hard to imagine,” said the review in Down Beat. Maupin may have taken his cues from Buddhism, but the resulting music implies a more expansive principle, about jazz in particular and self-expression in general.“

 

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