Jesse Harris himself alerted marlbank to the Parisian singer-songwriter Gabi Hartmann back in the summer who he produces here. Thank goodness he did as we were blissfully unfamiliar with the singer until then. Roused certainly listening today you get high immediately when the flute comes in on 'I'll Tell You Something' because it is so well-judged after the lovely traipsing around in the set-up then Hartmann singing very characterfully in English. Multi-lingual, French jostles with Portuguese and English (the French language ones seem to come off best of all), some of the songs are by Harris in co-writes with Hartmann. The Barbara-loving Hartmann's own song 'La Mer' (obviously it's not the Charles Trenet song) steals the show. It's quite beautiful.
The EP includes a wonderful cover sung in Portuguese of Roberto Moreno song 'Coração Transparente' spare vocal against guitar. 'Je n'apprends rien' the melody of which resembles Harris' 'You, The Queen' covered on Surpresa issued this year echoes the vulnerability and sentiment of a song that happens to be called bravely 'Always Seem To Get Things Wrong', and that has that naive run of cadences and gentle approach that Harris does so well and made his sound ubiquitous in early-period Norah Jones. Hartmann is a soul mate. Only an EP but quality not quantity so more a statement of intent and it's over far too soon. I think we will be hearing a lot more beyond the Francophone world of Hartmann and you would guess big labels will be forming a queue if they aren't already to give her a hefty marketing push on some new project or other if they can be arsed. (Kudos to Komos by the way for putting this out: they also came up with a great result with their Julien Lourau CTI homage that we loved back in July.) While a different kind of singer to Melody Gardot, softer and more intimate, Hartmann's vision is a parallel running, not as glam but just as coherent. Harris stakes his case once again as a producer of jazz and near-jazz singers to begin to rival even Larry Klein. 'La Mer' is the pièce de résistance swirling amid mistily sustained organ so start there first and remember to pick your jaw up off the floor. Next the search will be on to hear Hartmann live so we hope to run that voodoo down some time. SG