John Heartsman | Music Of My Heart

Jazzman (2010)
By GUSTAVO TURNER  |  January 19, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars


John Heartsman's career had two modest peaks. In the mid to late 1950s, he was an in-demand session guitarist who backed many stars in the R&B circuit, just as the genre was birthing rock and roll. In the 1980s, blues fans in Europe rediscovered him and hired him to tour there, which he did until his death, in 1996.

More recently, crate diggers have found evidence of his years in the wilderness in the form of this ultra-rare private-press double LP he cut in 1977 in Sacramento, where he had a regular gig at a club. This is music out of time, bringing together B.B. King and Luis Bonfa covers with spiritual jazz, jump blues, and the fusion of an artist still soldiering on in the trenches of the R&B idiom in the face of disco and grand funk railroads.

Funk collectors have been trampling one another over copies of this, but now you can have it in a lovingly put-together package that's part of Jazzman's deservedly named "Holy Grail" series. Play it back to back with any of the unsubtle white "blooze" that was so popular while Heartsman toiled in Sacramento and you'll feel like Steve Buscemi in Ghost World. Screw Blues Hammer — this is the real deal!

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