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”.
With over 37 recordings to her credit, the latest by Beegie Adair “The Real Thing” is highly recommended. This is a most enjoyable live recording, with great song selections and arrangements. The CD stands out because you can put it on and let it play, all 11 songs and you do not have to skip over any of them. Favorites are the Latin classic - Besame Mucho, the rarely recorded - The Lamp Is Low and Duke Ellington’s - Caravan. Beegie Adair is featured on the piano, Roger Spencer on the bass and Chris Brown on the drums. It was recorded over two nights at “The Cave” part of the Nashville Jazz Workshop. Beegie said, “We decided that our theme for the concerts would simply be the songs we love to perform, old chestnuts that we have played many times.” This recording is one you will love to listen to.
Like a great cup of coffee, The Baltimore Blend is a great way to start the morning. Hosted by longtime Baltimore musician and drummer Robert Shahid, with co-host Carla Wills and news by Beverly Burke, The Blend highlights the best of Baltimore and the uniqueness of WEAA. Each morning features news; interviews with local community leaders, artists, and WEAA public affairs personalities; and a musical blend that includes jazz, blues, inspirational and even a little house music. Mondays offer a look at the weekend’s sports highlights in the “Monday Morning Quarterback” segment. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays feature interviews with everyone from local politicos to artists to business leaders. “Your Way Wednesday” gives listeners an opportunity to request their favorite tunes via the request line. The “Thursday Morning Jam Session” introduces listeners to a local jazz artist who spends the morning in studio. The week wraps up with the “Friday Morning House Party,” a house music mix put together by the hosts of WEAA’s Saturday night show, “Audio Infusion.” All week long, hosts of WEAA’s public affairs shows check in to offer an update on the evening’s programs, and listeners weigh in on the “Coffee House Question of the Day,” a topic that has everyone buzzing. Once a month The Baltimore Blend goes live with a “Community Coffee Talk,” an on-location broadcast where community members join in on a discussion about a critical issue.
"The Brew Crew":
Robert Shahid, Host Robert E. Shahid is a graduate of Florida A&M University and he grew up with a constant musical influence in the city of Philadelphia. His mother sang opera, his aunt composed and played piano, his grandfather sang in the famed Philadelphia Male Chorus, and his uncle was a legendary vibraphonist for Dave Brubeck, Lynn Hope and Red Prysock. With those musical influences, Robert studied drums in high school and later founded The New Philadelphia Jazz Quintet.
Robert has been privileged to perform with Nat Adderly, Rufus Harley, Red Prysock, The Fabulous Emotions, Bobby Timmons, Percy Mayfield, Melton Mustafa, and has been invited to sit in or “share the stage” with countless others. Robert has been a contributor to the famed Baltimore music scene and has been instrumental in performing for and encouraging youth to pursue their musical interest. “The language of music has been the most consistent common denominator for the sharing of appreciation for the gift of life.”
Robert performs regularly with a variety of local and national ensembles.
Carla Wills, Producer and Co-host Carla Wills is an award-winning veteran journalist with more than 16 years in print, broadcast and online media. She most recently served as senior producer of The Michael Eric Dyson Show, which was nationally syndicated and produced out of WEAA 88.9 FM in Baltimore. She produced segments with notables from Harry Belafonte to Jay-Z, and the show won Salute to Excellence awards from the National Association of Black Journalists for hour-long specials with Maya Angelou and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon. Carla comes to radio after a career in print, where she held senior editorial positions at national magazines including Essence, Uptown and Savoy. She began her media career in her native Baltimore as the founding editor of Jubilee Magazine, a publication of The Baltimore Sun.
Carla has a life-long interest in music, beginning with instrumental performance in elementary through high school. An experienced choral singer, she currently performs with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.
Beverly Burke, News Anchor/Director After TV news anchor stints in Los Angeles at KCBS and WUSA in Washington, D.C., and as a reporter and talk show host on Sirius and XM satellite radio, Beverly Burke landed at Baltimore’s WEAA Radio. In 1984 Beverly joined WJZ-TV in Baltimore as news anchor, reporter and co-host of “People are Talking” replacing Oprah Winfrey with Richard Sher. She moved on to WMAR TV to anchor the evening news with Stan Stovall and head Contact-2, an investigative consumer-help unit . As WEAA news director and on -air anchor, Beverly provides reports on the day’s news, special reports , breaking news and live coverage of special events.