Monday, July 03, 2023

Debonair Check: Johnny Hartman 100

Johnny Hartman - If

July kicks off with the centennial of one of the great singers.

My friend was saying this guy had the voice of a cello.
That's as accurate as anything I can come up with on my own.

Possessed of 101% perfect diction and the persona of the ultimate velvet-voiced crooner, this cat sang one syllable and you knew it was nobody else.

Beginning with Earl "Fatha" Hines in the 1940s up until his death in 1983, there was no more recognizably-toned vocalist.

After a stint with Dizzy Gillespie, he was asked to participate in the signature project of his career, an album of ballads with John Coltrane, who had come to admire his work.

This album, titled simply John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman, is surely one of top 100 all-time classic Jazz records of any kind ever made.

His other Impulse! LPs, like The Voice That Is and In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning, are every bit the equal of his platter with 'Trane.

After the Sixties ended and Rock came in to replace The American Songbook, he struggled to find a niche, working cabarets and nightclubs and making more diverse albums.

He'd have been 100 today, so we are all about the great Johnny Hartman and this crackling concert that played over the radio in the Boston area in the winter of 1976.

Johnny Hartman
The Merry-Go-Round
Copley Square Hotel
Boston, Massachusetts USA

01 On Green Dolphin Street
02 intro By Johnny Hartman
03 Sometimes I'm Happy
04 Didn't We
05 Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered
06 On a Clear Day
07 Misty
08 Watch What Happens
09 Blues & outro
10 By the Time I Get to Phoenix
11 The More I See You
12 If
13 Help Me Make It Through the Night
14 The Way We Were
15 Bidin' My Time
16 The Folks Who Live On the hill
17 Down In the Depths (On the 90th Floor)
18 Lush Life
19 Feelings
20 I've Got to Be Me
21 Blues & outro

Total time: 1:20:53
disc break goes after Track 11

Johnny Hartman - vocals
Reggie Moore - piano
Alex Lane - bass
Bill English - drums
MC - Tony Cennamo

off-air capture of the original WBUR-FM broadcast, sourced from the 2007 bootleg CD "The Boston Concert" on the Gambit label
303 MB FLAC/direct link

We made these wild mosaic shirts to mark Johnny Hartman's centernary, so grab one and be the coolest-attired person at the supermarket in July.

I'll be back in a while, once I get back to the chicken shack and whip up this 80th b'day thing I have cooking for a recently departed lady of song.

That said, today's all about living that Lush Life and celebrating Johnny Hartman, 100 years old and still sounding fresh as a neatly-pressed tuxedo!--J.

7.3.1923 - 9.15.1983

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