Released in 1981 on Bee Hive Records.
In 1946, when Hartman was 23, he won a singing contest; eventually, he earned a spot in Dizzy Gillespie's band. Hartman labored largely unappreciated after getting kicked out of the band. That is, until he was spotted by John Coltrane and got pulled into creating what is probably his most noted recording, John Coltane and Johnny Hartman. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin routinely sought out Hartman's shows to soak up how he caught the phrase of a song just so. Sadly, Hartman was felled by lung cancer at age 60; both his work and his story are heartbreakingly underappreciated.
This was Johnny Hartman's next-to-last album (he made a record for Audiophile 12 days later) and the 57-year-old singer was still in prime form. His rich baritone voice is joined by a sextet also including Frank Wess (on tenor and flute), trumpeter Joe Wilder and pianist Billy Taylor.
The ballads range from slow to a brighter medium-tempo pace, and Hartman (particularly on such tunes as "Easy Living," "Wave" and "I Could Write a Book") shows that he still had it this late in his career, writes AllMusic. In his film "Bridges of Madison County" Clint Eastwood used four tracks from Once in Every Life. That movie turned a lot of people on to Johnny Hartman.
Needless to say, the richness of this SACD reissue doesn't stop with Hartman's easy, mellow voice. Not by a long shot. To present his gorgeous tone in its best light we relied upon the always-top-notch mastering of Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, and the superior analog-like sound of SACD. Top it off with a 8-panel booklet with session photos in a Super Jewel case and you've got the best Johnny Hartman reissue album you'll ever own.
|Brand||Bee Hive Records / Analogue Productions|
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