The singer’s first major LP release, Songs from the Heart, was recorded in New York in October, 1955 and featured Hartman backed by trumpeter Howard McGhee, pianist Ralph Sharon, bassist Jay Cave and drummer Christy Febbo. The album, presented here, included a unique blend of classics from the jazz and pop idiom. The timber of Hartman’s exquisite baritone and perfect vocal control, delicate mellifluous phrasing, and timeless floating delivery can be heard to great effect from the first moments of “What Is There to Say”, to the closing notes of “Moonlight in Vermont”. Backed by the sensitive yet swinging Ralph Sharon trio, and the fine muted sounds of Howard McGhee’s trumpet, Hartman makes the most of his first important recording opportunity. As is often the case with albums of rare brilliance, it is difficult to pick out any particular highlights. Cole Porter’s “Down in the Depths (of the 90th Floor)” certainly receives the most unusual treatment, with the rhythm section seamlessly switching between a Latin groove and a steady swing feel.
JOHNNY HARTMAN, vocals HOWARD McGHEE, trumpet RALPH SHARON, piano JAY CAVE, bass CHRISTY FABBO, drums
New York, October, 1955.
SIDE A: 01 WHAT IS THERE TO SAY? 02 AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ 03 I FALL IN LOVE TOO EASILY 04 WE’LL BE TOGETHER AGAIN 05 DOWN IN THE DEPTHS 06 THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE ME 07 DOWN IN THE DEPTHS *
SIDE B: 01 I’M GLAD THERE’S YOU 02 WHEN YOUR LOVER HAS GONE 03 I’LL REMEMBER APRIL 04 I SEE YOUR FACE BEFORE ME 05 SEPTEMBER SONG 06 MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT 07 I’LL REMEMBER APRIL [alternate take] 3:26*