Johnny Hartman (1923-1983) was a distinguished vocalist who is best remembered for his recordings of romantic ballads. Born and raised in Chicago, John Maurice Hartman began studying voice and piano at the age of eight, sang in his church choir and for his high school glee club, and won a scholarship to study voice at the Chicago Musical College. After serving in the army in World War II, Hartman returned home where he won an amateur singing contest which led him into a professional singing career, working with pianist and bandleader Earl “Fatha” Hines. In 1949, when Hines’ band folded, Hartman was recruited to sing with jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie; their collaboration was memorable because of the contrast between Gillespie’s ‘hot’ trumpet playing and Hartman’s smooth ‘cool’ baritone voice. Hartman sang briefly with the pianist Errol Garner and his trio.
Hartman’s attachment to the love balla…
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