Woodwind legend Bennie Maupin, best known for his work with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver, The Headhunters, and many others, follows his highly acclaimed 2006 CD Penumbra, with Early Reflections, a beautiful recording of Maupin s European quartet featuring pianist Michal Tokaj (Tomasz Stanko), and guest vocalist Hania Rybka. Early Reflections features a brilliant new version of Maupin's classic composition, The Jewel in the Lotus.
While veteran multireeds player Bennie Maupin has enjoyed a rich history performing in bands led by Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, he's also a potent leader in his own right, as evidenced on "Early Reflections." A passionate outing of rumination and whimsy in the company of an all-Polish trio, the album serves up melodic gems by Maupin on tenor and soprano sax and alto flute, half of which develop fully in the two- to four-minute range. He's playful on "Inside the Shadows," soulful on the happy-go-lucky "Prophet's Motifs," swinging on the sprightly "Black Ice" and hushed on the gentle "Within Reach." Best of the bunch: the slow dance "Escondido," which Maupin delivers with earthy bass clarinet clarity, and two tunes featuring Hania Chowaniec-Rybka improvising wordless vocals in the mix. - Dan Ouellette - Billboard [April, 2008]