This CD describes an enchanting tale -- the adventures of a bee called Maya, as she rebels against a life she is expected to lead as a member of the hive. This life is laid down by her teacher Cassandra in "Rule of the Game": "It's the rule of the game, and it's always the same/For a bee's never selfish or mean/You fly away, but think of home/And remember you die for the Queen." The album was adapted by Rachel Klein from a children's book written in 1912 by the German author Waldemar Bonsels. It's a bee version of Gulliver's Travels combined with a tale of feminist defiance. This is the second jazz story released in 2000 by Harrow. The other, The Marble Faun, is based on a work by Nathaniel Hawthorne and is a bit more dark and devious. However, while Maya is a charming story, it's no sugarcoated fairy tale. On her travels, Maya encounters death, disappointment, selfishness, and the horrors of war as well as bravery and compassion. There is a happy ending when, after engaging in her capers and satisfying her curiosity, she returns home to follow the "Rule of the Game." But she also is now the role model for the little girl bees in the hive.
Once more, Harrow has gathered top-drawer musicians for her project. The extraordinarily talented Grady Tate is the narrator and sings and plays the drums. His storytelling manner keeps the listener riveted to the CD player. Singer Daryl Sherman is along in a singing role. Roland Hanna performs his arranging magic and plays the piano. Bill Easley's reeds and flute are critical in helping to give meaning to each of the songs. And the lyrics are reprinted in the liner notes. The story adaptation has been transferred to the stage, as a puppet show, playing regularly in New York City. The CD is recommended.