Tuesday, January 17, 2006
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 .