Earl Coleman

Love Songs

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Despite his warm voice and the optimistic liner notes, this album was Earl Coleman's only recording as a leader from 1957-76. Coleman, whose baritone voice was originally influenced by Billy Eckstine, is long overdue for rediscovery, as was Johnny Hartman who gained some posthumous fame in the 1990s. Coleman is joined by either a big band led by pianist Billy Taylor and featuring flutist Jerome Richardson, or by Taylor's combo with trumpeter Eddie Williams, guitarist Gene Bertoncini, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Bobby Thomas. A few of the tunes, such as "People" and "Charade," are throwaways, but even those are uplifted by Coleman's warmth. Highlights include "There's No You," "I Wish I Knew" and "When Did You Leave Heaven." This underrated LP will hopefully be reissued on CD someday and makes one regret that Coleman recorded so little during his prime.

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