Tuesday, January 17, 2006

BlueTrain Music




In 1995 my husband John Hartmann started a music management company with Gary Katz and Gary Stromberg. It started out as Blue Train Music and later became Jake Records. Gary Katz produced all of the Steeley Dan Records and he worked with Joe Cocker and Diana Ross too. Gary Stromberg is a veteran publicist and his clients ranged from Muhammad Ali to Barbara Streisand and he wrote and produced the movie "Car Wash". John Hartmann has managed such luminaries as Peter, Paul and Mary, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Eagles, Jackson Browne, America and Poco. John ran the west coast and Gary and Gary ran the east coast division in New York. John released 8 albums and the last album he executive produced is the one that I want to focus on. It is an album called "Session 55" 1936-2000 Les Brown and his Band of Reknown. This was the last album that Les Brown recorded before his death on Jan.24, 2001. Les Brown and the band brought a young Doris Day into prominence with the song "Sentimental Journey". They were the house band for the Dean Martin Variety Show and the Steve Allen Show. Les performed with virtually every major singer of their time which includes Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole. The release of "Sentimental Journey" coincided with the end of WWII in Europe and was the homecoming theme for many veterans . They had 9 number one hit songs and performed with Bob Hope and did 18 USO tours for troops around the world. Tony Bennett was discovered by Bob Hope and did his first public performance with Les and the Band. Session 55 is a wonderful album and it was an honor to meet Les and see him perform with his son Les Brown Jr. and brother Stumpy also in the band. This particular album featured two guest singer/performers. One is a young and extremely talented and beautiful jazz vocalist named Jane Monheit and the other was Lou Rawls. Lou Rawls was the quintessential performer. We met him at the studio and he did two songs in two takes, period. He didn't even need to do two takes as the 1st take was perfect! His voice was so unique and there is nobody that sounds like him. The guy was such a pro and the nicest man you could ever meet. He is a legend and I know he is missed. I feel lucky to have met these amazing talents and see first hand how accomplished they were and even at the latter part of their lives they were creative and on their game.

This is a dimensional painting I created that was housed in the lobby of Blue Train/Jake Records .

19 comments:

Twisselman said...

Making my way to your IF post for the letter 'e' (I see it down there, and I'll get to it) and got caught up in this post on the music legends. This is so interesting. And yes, Lou Rawls will definitely be missed.

Gabriella Travaline said...

Music and art! What a wonderful combo! I grew up in a musical family. I started off in music and then ended up in visual arts. Those great deep colors- I guess that's oil?? I absolutely love your style- very bluesy. Thank u 4 your encouragement on my blog!!!

andrea said...

They were lucky to get your art! So many of those you mentioned I have loved over the years. It must be great to meet some of your musical heroes. Fascinating post, Val.

...Kat said...

on the way to art I was waylaid by music
eloquent heartfelt posting
thanks for the moment's delay

Toni said...

Wow Val how wonderful to have been able to meet such great artists in music. I loved Lou Rawls and had his first album. Unfortunately I don't know what happened to it.

Janet said...

I'll just have to echo what everyone else has said....fascinating!

catnapping said...

What a great history! I envy you meeting these folks. I've always thought that I'd have liked Lou Rawls and Tony Bennett as neighbors. They seemed really easy going, and very interesting.

Your houses are so animated. It's like they have souls of their own.

Great post!

carla said...

Facsinating story, Val...and what a very special piece of art...happy, friendly, alive:> You've certainly lived in a charmed circle...so many legends!

Tintagua said...

I love your use of color ! So vibrant and happy !
Can I post a link to your blog on mine? Your blog also ROCKS.

Beth said...

I like the style of all of your buildings.

violetismycolor said...

I love the way the distortion makes the house look so cool! Wonderful story, too!

RedT0pMedusa said...

yes it's funny how little encouters mean so much and make you who you are today. if you had never had those amazing people in your life you would never have created such an lovely piece, that's just one thing out of many i'm sure. don't let your memories drop like stones they are all we have of who we were, and lead us on the path to who we become

Mike Thompson said...

Such a light-hearted and whimsical style you have! Thanks for the comment on my blog.

Artsy Momma Chic said...

Wow I love all of your 3D pieces! The colors make the 3D areas pop even more. Wonderful!

Thanks for the comment on my vacationing elf!!

modroom said...

Woahh, fascinating. Like the atmosphere of city at night as all this music was being played and recorded.
...::: )

Penguin said...

Interesting story; it's always inspiring to be around greatness.

The Whippy Curly Tails said...

I feel like singing...maybe only in the shower!

Wonderful art.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I love this happy-looking city! :-)

ronji said...

Thank you for your comment...you have some nice-looking work here. I was excited to read your post, because I am a huge Steely Dan fan!

Best,

-ron