Johnny Hartman

John Maurice Hartman (July 13, 1923 – September 15, 1983)[1] was an American bass jazz singer who specialized in ballads and earned critical acclaim, though he was never widely known. He recorded a well-known collaboration with the saxophonist John Coltranein 1963 called John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, and was briefly a member of Dizzy Gillespie‘s group. Most of his career was spent recording solo albums. On the shortlist of the greatest jazz singers of all time, Johnny Hartman possessed a beautiful voice, good looks and an engaging stage presence, yet the crossover fame he richly deserved eluded him during his lifetime. Hartman’s lush bass was similar to Billy Eckstine’s, but less mannered; Hartman always cited Frank Sinatra and Nat “King” Cole as his primary influences, audible in his naturalistic phrasing and attention to the narrative detail of a lyric.

“My One And Only Love” with Coltrane

“It Never Entered My Mind” Can you believe that was Sammy David playing vibes!!

“In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning”

While Hartman recorded infrequently over a four decade career (especially in comparison to his peers), Songs From the Heart (1955), I Just Dropped By to Say Hello and John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (both 1963) easily rank alongside the greatest jazz albums ever, vocals or no vocals. Esquire magazine even chose his collaboration with Coltrane as the greatest album ever made, and while rock fans would argue that point, the masterpiece is certainly one of the most exquisitely beautiful ever recorded. Although a select group of loyal fans and (especially) jazz musicians loved these albums, by the late-1960s Hartman was working primarily in Japan and Australia (where he starred in his own TV specials). By the late-’70s Hartman was working back in the States, where he earned a Grammy nomination in 1980. Then, just as his career was taking off again, he developed cancer and died in 1983. In the mid-’90s, longtime fan Clint Eastwood included a handful of Hartman tracks in his darkly romantic adaptation of The Bridges of Madison County. The film introduced Hartman to a whole new generation of listeners, and the resulting soundtrack CD, as well as two re-issued Hartman albums, quickly sold more than any of his work had during his lifetime.

“These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You”

Sources: Wikipedia, youtube,,


  • Songs from the Heart (Bethlehem, 1955)
  • All of Me (Bethlehem, 1956)
  • Johnny Hartman Sings…Just You, Just Me (Savoy Jazz, 1957)
  • And I Thought About You (Roost, 1959)
  • John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Impulse!, 1963)
  • I Just Dropped By to Say Hello (Impulse!, 1963)
  • The Voice That Is! (Impulse!, 1965)
  • Unforgettable Songs (ABC-Paramount, 1966)
  • I Love Everybody (ABC-Paramount, 1967)
  • Today (Perception Records, 1972)
  • I’ve Been There (Perception, 1973)
  • Johnny Hartman (Musicor, 1977)
  • Once In Every Life (Bee Hive Records, 1980)
  • This One’s for Tedi (Audiophile, 1985)
  • For Trane (Blue Note, 1995)
  • Johnny Hartman Collection 1947-1972 (Hip-O, 1998)
  • Thanks for Everything (Audiophile, 1998)
  • Complete Regent Recordings (Jazz Factory, 2001)
  • You Came A Long Way From St. Louis (Definitive, 2003)
  • A Proper Introductio to Johnny Hartman: There Goes My Heart (Proper, 2004)
  • Tokyo Albums (Gambit, 2005)
  • Boston Concert 1976 (Gambit, 2007)
  • Dancetracks: “Beyond the Sea” & “Caravan” recorded in 1979 (Grenadilla Music, 2010)

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