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4.8 out of 5 stars24
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 16 December 1999
Usually quite judicious in my praise, I must start nonetheless by saying that this is one of the greatest jazz albums of all time (truly among the ranks of, if you're curious as to my frame of reference, Brubeck's "Time Out," Ella's 'Mack the Knife' Berlin concert, Trane's "My Favorite Things," Miles' "Kind of Blue," and "Porgy and Bess," Sonny Rollins' "Saxophone Colossus," and perhaps Bill Evans' "Conversations with Myself"). Obscure and almost unknown up through his death and for several years thereafter, Johnny Hartman's music has been discovered by many in an upswing which.. probably can be traced to the use of several of his tracks in the otherwise forgettable film version of "Bridges of Madison County." On Hartman's other recordings, it seems as if his producers could not decide whether he was the next Nat King Cole or was a jazz balladeer. This is where he belongs. His luscious, resonant bass (let's not kid ourselves, Hartman's got more of what it takes than a mere baritone) is, on this record, particularly skillful and tremendously expressive. Coltrane, likewise is wonderfully restrained for a point so far along in his career, and McCoy Tyner and the rest provide a splendid backdrop.
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on 22 December 1999
First of all, the songs on the CD's are American classics, written by the likes of Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn, Richard Rodgers, and Billy Strayhorn. The songs are of a lyrical and structural quality that is so striking when compared to today's music.
Then, Johnny Hartman's beautiful, deep baritone is stunning! How did Hartman not become one of America's great voices? Why is he still so obscure? When you hear him sing these songs you will instantly recognize him for what he was, an unforgettable singer who makes the songs his own and sings with an intimacy that is truly remarkable.
As if that weren't enough, the jazz trio features the greatest sax player ever, John Coltrane. The music was recorded in an era of minimalistic production - you hear only Hartman's voice and the Jazz trio. And when Coltrane blows his sax, you feel the emotion of his music.
Add it all up, and it is a breathtakingly romantic CD that gets better each time you listen. You won't really know this music until you've heard it 100 times.
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on 17 March 2000
A perfect marriage of rich sounds. Hartman's superb deep brown vocals are perfectly matched by the silky smooth tenor sax sound of Coltraine. Accompaniment is supportive yet subtle and only those without a soul will fail to float into a dreamy ecstacy whilst litening.
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on 29 May 2008
... and, wow, it really is...

Showing Coltrane's mellow and romantic side (also seen on his "My Favorite Things"), this album brings the great and precise vocalist Hartman into Coltrane's classical band and together they create something so delicate and subtle I hardly believed it when I heard it. This means that Tyner's intelligent piano and Garrison's and Jones' unobtrusive rhythmical support are also essential for this musical triumph.

Is it modern jazz? Is it musically conservative? Answers to both questions should probably be in the affirmative; great music is often too complex to be placed in neatly divided groups...

Coltrane's tone is, I must admit, far from being among my favorite sounds in jazz, but on this album even that aspect of his music pleases me very much. He is as light and full of innuendos as the tone of Johnny Hodges, Paul Desmond and Lester Young at their most breazy and mellow, but at the same time the Trane is still strong and autoritative in creating his solos and obligattos.

If I repeat some words in this clumsy description, it is not just because English is not my mother tongue: no language can truly explain these subtle sounds and emotions; only a lyrical poem could suffice (and I'm no poet).
Just listen how Hartman merges with Coltrane and his band from the beginning of "You are too beautiful ...".
A true object of beauty.
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on 16 August 2010
When I purchased this album, as part of the essential John Coltrane canon, on the Impulse label, I had never heard of singer Johnny Hartman, but this turned out to be a most welcome discovery. He is a ballad singer, with an exquisitely gentle and lilting tone, albeit with a slight 20-a-day touch, and it is a voice that comes across very well on this recording. The regular John Coltrane quartet provides a suitably laid-back `after hours' accompaniment, and the whole thing works very well. In the modern parlance, this is probably the ultimate `chill-out' album; it's smoother than a well-oiled seal, and if you want to relax, then just put this CD on, and you'll not even need that whisky and soda.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 July 2014
If you loved Coltranes' 'Ballads' album and have a taste for sophisticated crooners such as Billy Eckstein ,Nat 'King' Cole and Mel Torme then you must ask yourself, have I missed a trick by not having this disc in my collection? The answer to that question is surely 'Yes'! Luckily, this is an omission that soon can be redressed.

'Coltrane and Hartman' (1963)puts the great saxophonist with his rhythm section (McCoy Tyner: piano /Jimmy Garrison: bass/ Elvin Jones: drums) in the company of Johnny Hartman, a singer with a penchant for lush romantic ballads. Hartman's voice has a deep-dark richness that finds its full beauty in languid melancholic tunes, where longing and nostalgia are the order of the day. An unlikely paring it might seem but like the Tony Bennett /Bill Evans collaborations, the results are a revelation. It works because Coltrane holds back on the fireworks, content to provide little intros or solos that veer little from the main melody. While Tyner provides restrained accompaniment - a few flourishes here or there but essentially his task to tastefully and unobtrusively support the vocalist, which on tunes like 'You Are Too Beautiful' he does to superb effect. In other words Coltrane are in sympathy with the singer, not at war with him.

Hartman sings in a simple, unaffected style that is all about the feelings expressed in the song. Listen to him but for a short while and you too will be entranced! Its a real shame that Hartman isn't better known, because then more people could get to know and love this beautiful set. So to sum up: great songs, great performances and a great production job. Who could ask for more?

Hardened Jazz fan or not, lovers of romantic music should approach this disc with open hands (and wallets). Recommended.
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on 28 July 2010
The only flaw in this recording is that there isn't more of it! We all know Coltrane and his superb tone. His gift for improvisation however never prevented him from emphasising a beautiful melody and we have 5 of those here. Johnny Hartman on the other hand is known only to a select few having been overshadowed by better known performers such as Billy Eckstine. Suffice to say he is soulful, an excellent interpreter of a ballad and technically as perfect as Mel Torme but with a richness of tone that totally seduces and enchants the listener. The combination makes for one the greatest Jazz recordings of all time complete with an outstanding team of sidemen (!) in McCoy Tyner,Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones. Coltrane demonstrates his musicality by showing that he doesn't always have to be the main event and complements Hartmans cultured delivery perfectly in complete understated comfort. The choice of material is ideal to showcase Hartmans classic phrasing and effortless power. Its worth the price for My One and Only Love alone! An unmissable delight!
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on 27 March 2013
How you rate this album probably depends largely on whether you consider it as a Coltrane album or as a Johnny Hartman album. As a Coltrane album it's a bit of an aberration - the quartet (this the classic quartet who were to produce A Love Supreme a year later!) are little more than a framing device for the singer and hardly get much opportunity to play, particularly Coltrane himself who is pretty quiet for most of this short (31 minutes) album. The solos are short a lot more like the "lighter" Coltrane of 1956 than the Coltrane of 1963; no sheets of sound, no modal intensities. It was released (along with "Ballads" and "Duke Ellington & John Coltrane") to counter the growing accusations that Coltrane was playing "anti-jazz"; but at least on those (purely instrumental) albums Coltrane was playing on his own terms (for all that Coltrane is known as an extreme technician, he played ballads like "Naima" through his whole career) rather than as an accompanist. In this context it's hard not to feel that this is little more than a commercial exercise on Coltrane's part, rather than something to which he attributed any real importance.

That said, if you can overlook the fact that it's not at all representative of Coltrane's playing in this period, it might be the most sheerly pretty album Coltrane ever recorded. Hartman sings well and these are all lovely renditions of all the songs; Coltrane & pianist McCoy Tyner in particular play beautifully and there's little to fault in any of the playing when considered purely in its own terms. If you like the male crooners in jazz then you'll love this album, and if you find Coltrane's free-er playing to be inaccessible then you may well enjoy this a lot, though I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction to Coltrane because as noted it's very unrepresentative.

Some may feel 3 stars is too harsh a rating, but remember it's an "Average" rating, not really a negative or critical one (I'd give three-and-a-half if I were allowed). People are too eager to give out five-star reviews for everything.
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on 18 November 2010
This album has tended to put off many Coltrane fans due to the smooth crooning of Hartman seeming incompatible with Coltrane's fiery music.Likewise,I've heard of Hartman fans who can't cope with the Coltrane "twiddlybits".For those like me,however,who adore any Coltrane despite the setting,I feel that some of this music is Coltrane's finest and I personally find "Lush Life" and "Autumn Serenade" with Hartman's soulful singing followed by a double time dose of Coltrane-Elvin Jones ecstacy to be outstanding examples of the tender side of the Coltrane Quartet.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 September 2006
The only reservation with this album is that is sadly very short (about 31 mins), but it's a truly marvellous album.

Hartman is blessed with as clear a baritone voice as you're ever likely to hear. There are a couple of moments on this recording where the Tenor Sax stops and Hartmans voice starts and its completely seamless.

These are all classic ballad songs, so if you're expecting long Coltrane solos forget it. This is mellow, and laid back. Think of Coltrane on the Ballads album but more so. A number of people I've spoken to over the years have used this as springboard to get into Coltrane.

The track listing is:

1. They Say It's Wonderful

2. Dedicated To You

3. My One and Only Love

4. Lush Life

5. You are too beautiful

6. Autumn Serenade

Sadly Hartman doesn't seem to have recorded much else (or its unavailable) but this album from 1963 is an absolute classic.
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