BHM – Album Highlight – John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

Sorry for missing a few days folks.  I’ve been really crazy busy at work trying to push out a release.  I needed a break so I’m over here to highlight something that is out of my comfort zone.  In the last few years, I have been getting into more classic jazz music with such artists as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, and John Coltrane.  I guess the inspiration to listen to more jazz came from a trip to New Orleans and seeing how much jazz played a roll in the culture of New Orleans and some of the other styles of music that I enjoy.

I find jazz relaxing and quizzical.  I enjoy trying to figure out what an artist is trying to convey musically without a damn bit of words.  It’s like an abstract or impressionist painter in some regards.  A hint of subject is there, can you figure it out?  I’m a real amateur at this, but enjoy the challenge.  With this new fascination, I have started to collect a few jazz albums here and there.  Most recently picking up a box set from Ella Fitzgerald; however, the album I chose to spotlight today is from my personal collection, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.

John Coltrane was born in North Carolina in 1926 and became one of the most respected jazz saxophonist and composers.  He recorded and played with many jazz greats and passed away at the very young age of 40 due to liver cancer.

Johnny Hartman was a jazz singer known for his ballads.  He never really made it big, but did get noticed by Coltrane and was asked to record with him.  At first Hartman was reluctant to record with Coltrane, thinking their styles wouldn’t mesh, but after seeing Coltrane perform live, they quickly went to the studio.

The result is a mix of great jazz and sweet, deep ballads.  With only about a 30 minute run time, the album leaves you wishing for more, but the tracks that made the cut are top notch.  Coltrane’s sax runs on Autumn Serenade make you feel like you are strolling with your baby in a park in the fall.  I know jazz isn’t for everyone, but at only 30 minutes, it’s a quick listen.

If you have time, take in Coltrane’s “Alabama” and try to think about what he was trying to convey in this song.  He wrote it about 4 young girls who were killed in a church bombing by the KKK in 1963.

That’s it for now.  I hope to have additional time to go more in depth on some really great albums in the next few weeks.  Until then, keep listening.

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