Friday Night Jazz: Johnny Hartman

I_just_dropped_by_to_say_hello
I previously mentioned Johnny Hartman in passing (in the Joe Williams post some time back) — but Hartman deserves his own FNJ post:

Harman’s voice is deep, dark and rich, his sense of pitch superb, his diction outstanding. If you want a mellifluous, honey-toned baritone, there is none better.

He was a crooner on par with Sinatra (if not better); indeed, Hartman may very well have been the greatest jazz balladeer of all time.

John_coltrane_johnny_hartmanHis best known work was the superb John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman – a beautiful, must own jazz classic — but in the same year (1963), he also released I Just Dropped by to Say Hello, with Illinois Jacquet as his sideman.

It is an overlooked masterpiece.

There’s a terrific NPR Jazz Profile of  Johnny Hartman that is well worth exploring — definitely check out Murray Horowitz and A.B. Spellman discussing the John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman album.

bonus trivia: Clint Eastwood (a jazz aficionado) used 4 of Hartman’s songs in the soundtrack to The Bridges of Madison County — Hartman became more popular after his death than he was when he was alive.

This was the only youtube video I could find — the second song (Nobody Home) is more of a showcase for his voice:

Johnny_hartman

I also have to check out Johnny Hartman – The Voice That Is — looks pretty interesting

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Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration

StaxStax 50th Anniversary Celebration:   Last year, Concord Music purchased Fantasy Records, and as a bonus, they landed the "bulging Stax
catalog."

For those of you not fans of 1960s/70s Soul music, Stax was one of the richest sources of R&B, Soul and Blues. They were home to such artists as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, William Bell, and Booker T. 

For some reason, they were overshadowed somewhat by Gordy Berry and Motown. This double CD features 50 hit singles from Stax (and Stax-Atlantic) from the labels’ 1960s and ’70s heyday, and attempts to make up some of that ground.

The WSJ had a glowing review of the set:

"Stax, the music label responsible for superior soul,
R&B and an occasional slice of the blues in the ’60s and early
’70s, is observing its 1957 founding in everything but name by
releasing "Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration," featuring 50 of the best
tracks from its vaults. It could have released twice as many, or more,
without a dip in quality. In fact, it did release twice as many in 2000
under the title "Stax Story" and almost 2½ times as many in 1991 in the
superb boxed set "The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968." Two
subsequent collections from the archives of Stax and its Volt
subsidiary raised the number of tracks issued in the past 15 years to
652, more than 13 times what’s in the 50th anniversary box.

[Illustration]
 

A joy from the first cut to the last, "Stax 50th
Anniversary Celebration" is a reminder of the glory days of R&B,
when singer, song and band came together with fervor to spark body and
soul. The music all but sweats with the musicians’ passion: There are
no drum machines and no vocal bent to pitch by software. The punchy
horns are real brass and reeds, not lines played on synthesizers. Now
and then, a musician flubs a note or misses a cue, but an absolute
reliance on musicians’ creativity can deliver brilliant pop music
that’s timeless. Especially if the vocalists are the likes of Eddie
Floyd, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and the Staple Singers."

The Journal eds were kind enough to move the full article over to the free site for the linkfest, so you guys get an early viewing pre-weekend.

And, while the Double CD is on sale at Amazon for $11.99 (a deal), the real bargain is here: You can stream the entire CD over at CNET for free:

click for CNET media player

Cnet_stax

Several videos are after the jump:

>


Sources:
Golden Oldies: Stax Releases A 50th-Anniversary Boxed Set
JIM FUSILLI
WSJ, April 4, 2007; Page D9
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117564579112759055.html

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