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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Impulse: The Vocal Sides

Impulse Records gained renown in the 1960s for its progressive-vanguard releases, but it also released some jazz-vocal LPs by singers such as Johnny Hartman.

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Impulse

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Impulse Records

Impulse Records gained renown in the 1960s for its progressive-vanguard and cutting-edge releases by artists such as John Coltrane and Archie Shepp, but the label also released a handful of albums by singers such as Johnny Hartman, Jackie Paris and Lorez Alexandria.

Impulse’s History

Impulse was founded at the dawn of the 1960s by producer Creed Taylor, who was already on his way to becoming a legend in the music business. The label’s gatefold LPs, with their orange, black and white design and trademark inverted exclamation point logo would become iconic symbols of 1960s and 70s jazz – not to mention the sounds of adventurous, modern jazz etched on the vinyl within.

Taylor left Impulse not long after starting it. He went on to Verve Records and eventually founded another, very successful label, CTI, in the 1970s. He was succeeded at Impulse by Bob Thiele, a record producer who in his past work with other labels had favored bringing more singers aboard, and who would try to move in that direction with Impulse.

Thiele’s jazz-vocal projects at Impulse produced one classic LP, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (a ballad collection and collaboration so iconic that singer Kurt Elling has recently done a tribute to it). He also produced lesser-known but sparkling vocal dates from Paris, Alexandria, and Freda Payne, as well as further small-group sessions with Hartman.

By 1965, though, all such records were being routed through the ABC-Paramount label, leaving the albums featured on this show as an interesting chapter in the history of Impulse.

Other Resources

Listen to previous Night Lights shows about the artists mentioned above:

Watch Johnny Hartman (introduced by his friend Sammy Davis Jr.) sing “It Never Entered My Mind”:

Music Heard On This Episode

My One and Only Love
John Coltrane — John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Impulse, 1963)
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My One and Only Love
John Coltrane — John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Impulse, 1963)

Notes: Johnny Hartman on vocals.

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If Love Is Good to Me
Jackie Paris — The Song Is Paris (Impulse, 1962)
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Tonight
Jackie Paris — The Song Is Paris (Impulse, 1962)
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In the Wee Small Hours
Johnny Hartman — I Just Dropped By to Say Hello (Impulse, 1963)
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Stairway to the Stars
Johnny Hartman — I Just Dropped By to Say Hello (Impulse, 1963)
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Get Me to the Church on Time
Lorez Alexandria — Alexandria the Great (Impulse, 1964)
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The Best Is Yet to Come
Lorez Alexandria — Alexandria the Great (Impulse, 1964)
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Duke's Place
Jackie Paris — The Song Is Paris (Impulse, 1962)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

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After the Lights Go Down Low
Freda Payne — After the Lights Go Down Low (Impulse, 1964)
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Lonely Woman
Freda Payne — After the Lights Go Down Low (Impulse, 1964)
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It's Sand, Man
Lambert, Hendricks and Ross — Sing a Song of Basie (Impulse, 1965)
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Fiesta in Blue
Lambert, Hendricks and Ross — Sing a Song of Basie (Impulse, 1965)
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My Ship
Johnny Hartman — The Voice That Is (Impulse, 1964)
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Sunrise, Sunset
Johnny Hartman — The Voice That Is (Impulse, 1964)
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Lush Life
John Coltrane — John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Impulse, 1963)

Notes: Johnny Hartman on vocals.

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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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  • http://fcbco-systems.com James Haskell

    I love John Coltrane. I grew up listening to him at my grandmothers house. Thank you for the great post

  • CESAR KJAZZ 88.1

    I have all the inpulse records on lp’s not cd’s !!!
    if you need help with research please e-mail me!!

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