Great Friends is an artifact. Recorded on July 7, 1986, at Sysmo Studio in Paris, it is the only recorded output of the aggregation that included alto saxophonist Sonny Fortune, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, Stanley Cowell at the piano, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Billy Hart. Until this reissue on the Pennsylvania indie Evidence Music, Great Friends was only available in Europe, on the French label Black & Blue. While led by the bristling tones of Fortune's alto, the recording gives equal time to each musician, allowing its titular egalitarianism to color each of the eight tracks included. Workman's bass solos on Stanley Cowell's "Equipoise" and his own "Synapse," in particular, reveal the clear lines of communication that define this recording.
Trio Transition were a short-lived trio consisting of pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Frederick Waits; this is the first of the only two CDs they recorded for DIW prior to Waits' death in 1989. The two standards include a driving version of "I Hear a Rhapsody" and an easygoing "Like Someone in Love," though most of the session focuses on originals. Miller contributed three songs, including the constantly shifting post-bop vehicle "No Sidestepping," the unusually structured ballad "Whisper," and the thoughtful hard bop tune "Second Thoughts," the latter a tune that shows the influence of James Williams, with whom Miller had recorded previously while working with Art Blakey.
Traces the Beats from Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac's meeting in 1944 at Columbia University to the deaths of Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs in 1997. Three actors provide dramatic interpretations of the work of these three writers, and the film chronicles their friendships, their arrival into American consciousness, their travels, frequent parodies, Kerouac's death, and Ginsberg's politicization. Their movement connects with bebop, John Cage's music, abstract expressionism, and living theater. In recent interviews, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kesey, Ferlinghetti, Mailer, Jerry Garcia, Tom Hayden, Gary Snyder, Ed Sanders, and others measure the Beats' meaning and impact.