In his new book, New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff listens to music with jazz greats, drawing them out about what they're listening for and why.
Here he talks with an exceptional musician not in the book: L.A. -based saxophonist Maupin, famous for his role in Miles Davis' Bitches Brew and for his own critically acclaimed albums- Los Angeles Public Library
Bennie Maupin is best known for his atmospheric bass clarinet playing on Miles Davis classic "Bitches Brew" album, as well as other Miles Davis recordings such as, "Big Fun," "Jack Johnson," and "On the Corner."
He was a founding member of Herbie Hancock's seminal band The Headhunters, as well as a performer and composer in Hancock's influential Mwandishi band. Born in 1940, Maupin started playing clarinet, later adding saxophone, flute and, most notably, the bass clarinet to his arsenal of woodwind instruments. He has freelanced with groups led by Marion Brown, Pharoah Saunders, and Chick Corea, and played regularly with Roy Haynes and Horace Silver.
He also recorded with McCoy Tyner, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Jack DeJohnette, Andrew Hill, Eddie Henderson, and Woody Shaw to name only a few. Maupinâ€™s own discography as a leader includes The Jewel in The Lotus (1974), Slow Traffic to the Right(1976), Moonscapes(1978), and Driving While Black. (1998).
His current group, The Bennie Maupin Ensemble, harkens back to the tradition of great saxophone-bass-drum trios, such as the group led by Sonny Rollins with Wilbur Ware and Elvin Jones. He maintains active performing and teaching careers in Europe, and the US. Bennie Maupin currently resides in the Los Angeles area.
Ben Ratliff has been a jazz critic at The New York Times since 1996. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and their two sons. His New York Times Essential Library: Jazz was published in 2002.
He has written three books: The Jazz Ear: Conversations Over Music (2008); Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (2007, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award); and Jazz: A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings (2002).