Read the story in the Detroit Free Press on Bennie Maupin. Mark Stryker creates a very personal portrait of the man and musician who returned to his hometown for a performance this past weekend at the Detroit International Jazz Festival.
These days, the Los Angeles-based Maupin frequently performs in Europe (especially in Poland) but stays tied to the L.A. community with occasional performances and by leading an amateur band under the name of the Ikeda Kings Orchestra.
On the brink of his 40th birthday, Maupin began studying with the late Lyle (Spud) Murphy, a renowned composition teacher. He enrolled in a degree program at Pasadena City College, digging deeper into not only music but also political science, English and other subjects.Read the full story here, and listen to some mp3s interview extras in the "Related Links" box there, especially his dedication to Richard "Prophet" Jennings.
He played clarinet in a chamber orchestra, took no jazz gigs and worked the graveyard shift at an electronic surveillance company, where he could practice the clarinet while keeping an eye on the video monitors and computers.
Most of his peers were baffled. In 1982, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard offered him $6,000 for a two-week European tour, but Maupin said no because he had only a few weeks left in an English class that he needed to graduate. "People thought I was nuts," he says.
[Herbie] Hancock saw the wisdom in his path. "Studying and going back to school -- what a wonderful choice for him to make," he says. "A lot of musicians wouldn't have had the courage to make that choice. That's a sign of a secure human being."
You can also refer to my previous post on Maupin for a concert review and some mp3s from his acclaimed new release Penumbra.