No small wonder

by Paul Burmeister

I have admired Bennie Maupin’s Jewel in the Lotus (1974) for over 35 years and return to my vinyl copy when I crave music that is grounding. This example, from a fine jazz musician who may be primarily known for his association with Herbie Hancock during the 1970s, is textural and almost leaderless—with minimal soloing and a collective, ensemble attentiveness foregrounded instead. I was unaware of the music’s origination in rhythms of Buddhist chanting, which I learned in a Pitchfork review.
I also learned of bassist Buster William’s key role in the formation of this music. I shouldn’t be surprised because Williams is a wonderful player who figured prominently on another favorite album from this time, Joe Farrell’s Outback (1971.) On Maupin’s Jewel in the Lotus, I recommend “Ensenada” especially.

Maupin B Jewel in the Lotus.png