Johnny Hartman

Just You, Just Me...

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Johnny Hartman was only 24 years old when this album was cut, and both his youth and inexperience show. Hartman's warm, rich baritone (reminiscent of Billy Eckstine's, who was the African-American crooner of the late '40s) is already in place here, but neither his delivery nor his phrasing is fully developed yet. It's not a bad session though -- just a disappointing one when placed next to what Hartman would cut in the years ahead. This CD reissue is relatively hard to find, but all of its tracks (plus plenty of others) also appear on Complete Regent Recordings, released in 2001. That superior collection shows what a quick study Hartman was -- soon after recording this album he really hit his stride and quickly developed into one of the finest jazz balladeers of all time.

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