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JAZZ NOTES

'Bridges' Leads to New Interest in Hartman

July 07, 1995|ZAN STEWART | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

There are several instances in the film "The Bridges of Madison County" when the soundtrack all but overshadows the developments on-screen. One of those moments comes when the characters, played by Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, are in her kitchen slowly dancing to a song on the radio. The record that sets the mood is "For All We Know," sung by Johnny Hartman.

Hartman's delicious baritone is ideally suited for this moment, as his notes glide seamlessly from one to the next, creating a fireplace-warm feeling. At other points in the film, he's heard singing "Easy Living" and "I See Your Face Before Me."

It's ironic that the singer, who died in 1983 of cancer at age 60 after struggling to achieve success during his lifetime, now should be receiving exposure to millions via "Bridges" and its resulting brisk-selling soundtrack on Malpaso Records.

Eastwood, who also directed the film, said that Hartman was his first choice when he started putting together the "Bridges" soundtrack, which also includes numbers Dinah Washington and Irene Kral.

"I first heard Hartman when I was a kid growing up in the [San Francisco] Bay Area in the '40s and I was quite enthralled by him," Eastwood said in press notes for the soundtrack. ". . . His vocal quality, his style and delivery were exactly what I had in mind for some of the more romantic moments in the movie."

Many jazz fans will also remember Hartman, the Chicagoan who began his career in the late '40s with Earl Hines and Dizzy Gillespie, from his wondrous 1963 album with saxophonist John Coltrane, an eponymously titled recording that have been reissued on Impulse! Records. The album spotlights Hartman in telling versions of "Lush Life," "My One and Only Love" and others. Despite the popularity of that album, Hartman never really achieved any subsequent fame or solid financial success.

Other Hartman albums available on CD include "The Voice That Is" and "I Just Dropped By to Say Hello" on Impulse!, "This One's for Tedi" on Audiophile and "Songs From the Heart" and "All of Me" on Bethlehem.

How much does Eastwood like Hartman? It's been reported that Eastwood has purchased the rights to Hartman's "Once in Every Life," arguably Hartman's best album, from a small Chicago-area label and will reissue it on his Malpaso Records. Hartman received his only Grammy nomination for that album (in the category of best male jazz vocalist), but Al Jarreau took the honor in 1981.

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Jazz for Juniors: More than 100 musicians from Los Angeles County middle and high schools are taking part in the second season of JazzAmerica, an educational program that teams young students with experienced jazz players.

These master classes, held for six Saturdays from June 10 through July 22 (there are no sessions this Saturday), are being conducted in rehearsal rooms of the Music Center at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and are partially funded by a grant from Associated Presentations, the Music Center's presenting arm.

The kids are recommended through their school music programs. The instructors include woodwind artist Buddy Collette, who is JazzAmerica's president and artistic director, trumpeters Bobby Bryant and Fernando Pullum, pianist Gerald Wiggins, bassist Richard Simon and drummer Ndugu Chancler. Information: (213) 957-5113.

Riffs: Pianist Marian McPartland, scheduled to appear Monday at the Jazz Bakery, has canceled her performance because of an injury to her hand. "Her doctor doesn't want her to leave New York, where she lives, much less play," says Ruth Price, the Bakery's artistic director. Her date has not been rescheduled yet. . . . Hideaki Tokunaga, a guitarist from Osaka, Japan, who recently graduated from Cal Arts, has received one of three Outstanding Jazz Instrumental-College awards from Down Beat magazine.

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Surfing the Jazzwaves: McPart-land's radio program, "Piano Jazz," can be heard Tuesdays at 11 p.m. (with repeats on Fridays at 2 p.m.) on KPCC-FM (89.3). This Tuesday, McPartland's guest on the taped series is pianist McCoy Tyner, the artist with the massive sound and sure sense of swing whose trio begins a six-night stand at Catalina Bar & Grill that same evening. Preceding "Piano Jazz" at 10 p.m., there's "JazzSet," with bands led by two modern masters: reed artist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Tom Harrell. . . .

"Jazz Central," Black Entertainment Television's jazz show, is scheduled Monday through Thursday from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m., and on Fridays from 10 p.m. to midnight. Tonight, pianist-singer Diana Krall and singer Vanessa Rubin are featured, while Monday, there's a special release party for "Urban Knights," the new recording with Ramsey Lewis and Grover Washington Jr., and a video of Sarah Vaughan in concert. On Tuesday, Chick Corea's Akoustic Band performs.

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Good Music, Better Price (Free): Masterful drummer Billy Higgins leads his band with sax giant Harold Land on Thursday, 5 to 8 p.m., at the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art, (213) 621-1749. . . . The rollicking Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans performs Sunday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Warner Park, 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, (818) 704-1358. . . . Decidedly modern reedman Vinny Golia's quintet works tonight (and July 14), 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Frank Capp's swinging Juggernaut big band appears at LACMA on Sunday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., (213) 857-6522. . . . On Wednesday, there's no-holds-barred piano playing from Horace Tapscott at noon at California Plaza, 350 Grand St., downtown, (213) 687-2159.

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