Johnny Hartman, a critically acclaimed baritone jazz singer, is considered the quintessential romantic balladeer of our time. Born John Maurice Hartman on July 23, 1923, in Louisiana, he began singing and playing the piano at the age of eight. He grew up in Chicago and won a scholarship to study voice at the Chicago Musical College. After a tour of duty in the Army during WWII, in 1946 he won a singing contest and a one week engagement with Earl Hines at a Chicago nightclub. He sang with Hines for a year before joining Dizzy Gillespie’s big band. He also worked with pianist Erroll Garner before going solo in 1950. Johnny Hartman’s first solo album, Songs from the Heart was released in 1955. He joined with John Coltrane in 1963 for the only recording Coltrane did with a vocalist. John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman features all ballads including “ Lush Life” and “My One And Only Love” and is considered a classic. He played cocktail lounges in New York and Chicago and travelled abroad. He recorded several albums in Japan, including a tribute to Coltrane after the sax player’s death in 1967. Hartman’s recording “Once In Every Life” earned him a 1981 Grammy nomination for Best Male Vocalist. This was followed by his last album of newly recorded material titled “This One’s for Tedi”, a tribute to his wife. In the early 1980’s he performed on television, radio and for several jazz festivals before succumbing to lung cancer at age sixty. His reputation exploded considerably in 1995 when the soundtrack of Clint Eastwood’s The Bridges of Madison County featured several songs from his Grammy nominated album. With a more recent demand for his masculine deep baritone, romantic ballads, all the music from his solo albums have been reissued. Though he did not receive the wider recognition he deserved, most will agree with Tony Bennett, who said in 2011 “Johnny Hartman is one of the great singers of all time”.