14 June 2015
Bennie Maupin - 1978 - Moonscapes
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out of 5
Another fusion fanatic who served with Miles Davis on his most far-reaching explorations of electronic sound as well as being a part of Herbie Hancock's 70's crew, including the Headhunters. The funk extravaganza of the Headhunters is the main reference point, although with the better side of smooth jazz inflecting the proceedings. Funny thing about the smooth jazz and new age. They were pretty groovy in the analog 70's, but quickly melted into tross once early digital recording reared its head. Anywho, I keep checking the liner notes to see if Herbie found his way into these sessions, and I guess he didn't (unless he used a pseudonym like on Roy Ayers "Virgo Vibes"), but analog synth expert Patrick Gleeson is present. It's a interesting moment to come across Gleeson as he makes fine use of the polytonal pads that were unavailable at the time of his recordings with Herbie.
I keep running through the tracks as I tend to ramble specifically in my second paragraph, but I've got to take this album as a polished sphere. While not monotonous, the tunes do pretty well glide on from one track to the next. I guess that's also true of the Headhunter albums, although these songs are not the 10-15 minutes jam outs that that band slid so easily into. Just start at the beginning, don't worry about the time, and let it stop or repeat at the end as desired.
There are only, like, two full-on studio albums with the Headhunters, so this isn't a bad place to come searching for another fix. The electronic funk and mild sci-fi conceptual overlay is just about as satisfying.