Lush Life – 1983

Johnny Hartman

 

A priceless version of Hartman singing the song that he made famous with John Coltrane

Johnny Hartman (1923-83) was a superior ballad singer who had an up-and-down career that included some memorable highpoints.

Although he sang with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra as early as the late 1940s, his most notable recordings were three albums made for the Impulse label in the early 1960s, including a classic set with John Coltrane in 1963.

Best known from the latter album was his version of “Lush Life” which made the Billy Strayhorn song into a standard.

Shortly before his death from cancer (which had not been diagnosed yet), Hartman appeared on the Jonathan Schwartz television show and performed “Lush Life” with pianist Tony Monte and bassist Lisle Atkinson in what was one of his final performances.

Johnny Hartman is at his very best on this memorable and haunting telecast.

-Scott Yanow

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