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Album Review

The first side of I Love Everybody finds crooner Johnny Hartman in an orchestral pop setting, with lush, sweeping strings arranged by Jack Pleis. Those familiar with the intimate small-group albums Hartman recorded for Impulse might find the backing just a bit saccharine, but fortunately the orchestra never overwhelms Hartman's incredible voice. The song selection on this side is strong, too, with "I Cover the Waterfront" and "If I Had You" being the standouts. The superior second side features a big band of Hollywood studio musicians arranged by the inventive Oliver Nelson. If the first side is a showcase for Hartman's much-lauded ballad technique, the second side finds him in a party mood. There's an appreciative live studio audience on hand to hear Hartman and band tackle up-tempo dance numbers ("Today I Love Everybody"), blues ("T'Ain't No Need"), and a rousing medley of "Old Black Magic" and the calypso "Matilda," with a few phrases of the Yiddish folk tune "Greena Couzina" thrown in for good measure. The two sides of I Love Everybody seem like separate mini-albums, but both are strong and offer a good showcase for Hartman's impressive vocal technique.

Biography

Born: 03 July 1923 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Though he was never the most distinctive vocalist, Johnny Hartman rose above others to become the most commanding, smooth balladeer of the 1950s and '60s, a black crooner closely following Billy Eckstine and building on the form with his notable jazz collaborations, including the 1963 masterpiece John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. Born in Chicago, he began singing early on and performed while in Special Services in the Army. Hartman studied music while at college and made his professional debut in...
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I Love Everybody, Johnny Hartman
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