Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

118

Fortune/Harper/Cowell/Workman/Hart: Great Friends

By

Sign in to view read count
Great Friends, originally released in France in 1986, is a reissue of the only studio recording made by a star-studded quintet that performed briefly in the ‘80s: Sonny Fortune (alto sax), Billy Harper (tenor sax), Stanley Cowell (piano), Reggie Workman (bass), and session leader Billy Hart (drums). The album was recorded right after a tour, while the collective groove was still strong, and the result is exemplary.

"Cal Massey," with Cowell's deft keyboard dancing, leads off the disc. The elaborately titled "Is It Not True Simply Because You Cannot Believe It?" has a Middle Eastern tinge, not unlike "Caravan," and Harper's rich opening solo clears a path for the band to follow. In the middle of the tune "Thoughts", after crisp turns by Cowell and Harper, the beat is suspended, like the broken record effect on "Take Five," with Hart briskly filling the space.

"Equipoise" features lovely call and response work by Harper and Fortune on the theme, and a passionate plucked solo by Workman, with Hart and Cowell murmuring in the background. "Synapse" is an almost symphonic number with deep free jazz roots. "East Harlem Nostalgia," a Latin-flavored swing with difficult and tricky chord changes finds Harper and Workman each building thoughtful, exuberant solos. "Insight" showcases the reedman trading off furiously, like two people amicably but passionately debating until they finally reach an understanding. Closing the disc, "Awakening" features a beautiful a capella opening by Fortune, who sounds like a songbird warbling at daybreak.

There are no belabored points on Great Friends. Each member of the band except for Hart composed these excellent songs. Their familiarity with the material and tremendous talent account for the tight arrangements and overall fluency. After being sequestered abroad for so long, it's about time this recording was brought home.

Track Listing: 1. Cal Massey 3:52 2. Is It Not True Simply Because You Cannot... 6:48 3. Thoughts 7:11 4. Equipoise 5:11 5. Synapse 10:12 6. East Harlem Nostalgia 8:43 7. Insight 9:53 8. Awakening 10:01

Personnel: Stanley Cowell - Piano, Sonny Fortune - Sax (Alto), Billy Harper - Sax (Tenor), Billy Hart - Drums, Reggie Workman - Bass.

Title: Great Friends | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Evidence Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019
Read Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band Album Reviews
Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band
By Jerome Wilson
May 23, 2019
Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Dan Bilawsky
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019