Professor Akkerman To Publish First-Ever Biography Of Jazz Vocalist Johnny Hartman

February 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Spartanburg, S.C. – Dr. Gregg Akkerman, associate professor of music and director of jazz studies and commercial music at the University of South Carolina Upstate, will publish a first-ever biography of jazz vocalist Johnny Hartman (1923-1983). The book, titled The Last Balladeer: The Johnny Hartman Story will be published by Scarecrow Press in summer 2012 as part of its prestigious “Studies In Jazz” series. The book will be available worldwide in both hardcover and e-book formats.

A critically-acclaimed artist, Hartman was known for an iconic album with saxophonist John Coltrane and as the singing voice behind many scenes in Clint Eastwood’s The Bridges of Madison County. While Hartman spent most of his career recording solo albums, he was briefly a member of Dizzy Gillespie‘s group.

Akkerman’s research for The Last Balladeer: The Johnny Hartman Story has already included interviews with legendary figures such as, Billy Taylor, Bill Cosby, Cedar Walton, and Bill Henderson. Last summer Akkerman reviewed dozens of rare and unpublished recordings at the Library of Congress and this summer he anticipates traveling to New York City to interview Hartman’s surviving family members.

Akkerman’s book deal with Scarecrow Press follows the launch of the new Bachelor of Arts in Commercial Music degree at USC Upstate, which will provide students first-hand experience of the level of research and communication skills required to complete such a project. Akkerman has already incorporated his contract negotiation process into the curriculum for a class on Music Entrepreneurship.

For more information, contact Dr. Akkerman, associate professor of music and director of jazz studies and commercial music at USC Upstate, at (864) 503- 5263 or gakkerman@uscupstate.edu.