(137) Dan Ouellette, Billboard -- April, 2008

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. -by Dan Ouellette-

Dan Ouellette
April, 2008