ART TATUM

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Arthur Tatum, Jr. (1909-10-13 – 1956-11-05) was a famous American jazz pianist known for his virtuosic playing and creative improvisation.

Tatum drew inspiration from his contemporaries James P. Johnson and Fats Waller, and had a great influence on other famous jazz pianists, such as Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Chick Corea, and Oscar Peterson. Saxophonist Charlie Parker took his first job in New York as a dishwasher where Tatum played, just for the experience of hearing Tatum's harmonic inventions.

Tatum was widely recognized among his colleagues as the most gifted jazz pianist alive, some going so far as to say he was one of the greatest pianists of any genre. Such classical luminaries as Vladimir Horowitz and Sergei Rachmaninov greatly admired his technique. Unusually for a jazz musician, Tatum rarely abandoned the original melodic lines of the songs he played, preferring innovative reharmonization (changing the chord progressions that supported the melodies).
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The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 1The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 1
Pablo 1990
$12.81 (used)
Art Tatum's Finest HourArt Tatum's Finest Hour
Verve 2000
$6.77
$1.69 (used)
Art Tatum SwingsArt Tatum Swings
Mazur Média 2001
$4.00 (used)
The V-DiscsThe V-Discs
Remastered
1201 MUSIC 1995
$4.49
$5.99 (used)
Poor ButterflyPoor Butterfly
Past Perfect
$15.21 (used)
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 1The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 1
Remastered
Original Jazz Classics 2013
$7.98
$7.87 (used)
Nine Classic AlbumsNine Classic Albums
Reel to Reel 2019
$6.80
$10.01 (used)
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ART TATUM Discography

ART TATUM albums / top albums

ART TATUM Decca Presents Art Tatum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Decca Presents Art Tatum
Swing 1940
ART TATUM Piano Solos Album album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano Solos Album
Swing 1944
ART TATUM Art Tatum Trio album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum Trio
Swing 1944
ART TATUM Piano Impressions album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano Impressions
Swing 1945
ART TATUM Art Tatum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum
Swing 1950
ART TATUM Art Tatum Trio (Dial) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum Trio (Dial)
Swing 1950
ART TATUM Piano Solos With Rhythm Accompaniment album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano Solos With Rhythm Accompaniment
Swing 1950
ART TATUM Piano Solos Vol. 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano Solos Vol. 2
Swing 1950
ART TATUM Gene Norman's 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gene Norman's "Just Jazz"
Swing 1951
ART TATUM Encores album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Encores
Swing 1951
ART TATUM Footnotes To Jazz Vol.2:Rehearsal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Footnotes To Jazz Vol.2:Rehearsal
Swing 1952
ART TATUM The Art Tatum Trio album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Trio
Swing 1953
ART TATUM The Genius Of Art Tatum #1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum #1
Swing 1954
ART TATUM The Genius Of Art Tatum # 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum # 2
Swing 1954
ART TATUM The Genius Of Art Tatum #3 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum #3
Swing 1954
ART TATUM The Genius Of Art Tatum # 4 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum # 4
Swing 1954
ART TATUM The Genius of Art Tatum #5 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius of Art Tatum #5
Swing 1954
ART TATUM The Genius Of Art Tatum #6 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum #6
Swing 1954
ART TATUM The Genius Of Art Tatum # 7 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum # 7
Swing 1954
ART TATUM The Genius Of Art Tatum #8 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum #8
Swing 1954
ART TATUM The Genius of Art Tatum #9 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius of Art Tatum #9
Swing 1954
ART TATUM The Genius of Art Tatum #10 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius of Art Tatum #10
Swing 1954
ART TATUM Art Tatum - Benny Carter - Louis Bellson album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum - Benny Carter - Louis Bellson
Swing 1954
ART TATUM Makin' Whoopee (aka  Art Tatum / Benny Carter / Louis Bellson ‎– The Tatum Group Masterpieces Vol. 2) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Makin' Whoopee (aka Art Tatum / Benny Carter / Louis Bellson ‎– The Tatum Group Masterpieces Vol. 2)
Swing 1954
ART TATUM Here's Art Tatum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Here's Art Tatum
Swing 1955
ART TATUM The Genius Of Art Tatum Number Eleven album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum Number Eleven
Swing 1955
ART TATUM The Art Tatum - Ben Webster Quartet (aka The Tatum Group Masterpieces akaThe Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 8) album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Art Tatum - Ben Webster Quartet (aka The Tatum Group Masterpieces akaThe Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 8)
Swing 1956
ART TATUM Touch album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Touch
Swing 1956
ART TATUM Presenting The Art Tatum Trio (aka Art Tatum-Red Callender-Jo Jones aka The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 6) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Presenting The Art Tatum Trio (aka Art Tatum-Red Callender-Jo Jones aka The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 6)
Swing 1957
ART TATUM The Art Tatum - Buddy De Franco Quartet (aka Art Tatum-Buddy DeFranco aka The Flying Fingers Of Art Tatum And Buddy DeFranco aka The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 7) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum - Buddy De Franco Quartet (aka Art Tatum-Buddy DeFranco aka The Flying Fingers Of Art Tatum And Buddy DeFranco aka The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 7)
Swing 1958
ART TATUM The Art of Tatum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art of Tatum
Swing 1958
ART TATUM The Incomparable Music of Art Tatum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Incomparable Music of Art Tatum
Swing 1959
ART TATUM More Of The Greatest Piano Of Them All album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
More Of The Greatest Piano Of Them All
Swing 1960
ART TATUM Still More Of The Greatest Piano Of Them All album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Still More Of The Greatest Piano Of Them All
Swing 1960
ART TATUM In Person album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Person
Swing 1960
ART TATUM Art Tatum (1965) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum (1965)
Swing 1965
ART TATUM The Art Of Art album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Of Art
Swing 1966
ART TATUM Art! album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art!
Swing 1967
ART TATUM Solo Piano (Capitol Jazz Classics Vol.3) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Solo Piano (Capitol Jazz Classics Vol.3)
Swing 1972
ART TATUM Classic Piano Solos album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Classic Piano Solos
Swing 1974
ART TATUM Art Tatum At The Crescendo Vol. I album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum At The Crescendo Vol. I
Swing 1975
ART TATUM Art Tatum At The Crescendo Vol. II album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum At The Crescendo Vol. II
Swing 1975
ART TATUM The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 1
Swing 1975
ART TATUM The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 2
Swing 1975
ART TATUM The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 3 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 3
Swing 1975
ART TATUM Art Tatum / Benny Carter / Louis Bellson ‎: The Tatum Group Masterpieces Vol. 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum / Benny Carter / Louis Bellson ‎: The Tatum Group Masterpieces Vol. 1
Swing 1975
ART TATUM Art Tatum / Benny Carter / Louis Bellson ‎: The Tatum Group Masterpieces Vol. 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum / Benny Carter / Louis Bellson ‎: The Tatum Group Masterpieces Vol. 2
Swing 1975
ART TATUM The Tatum Group Masterpieces : Art Tatum - Buddy De Franco album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Group Masterpieces : Art Tatum - Buddy De Franco
Swing 1975
ART TATUM The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 4 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 4
Swing 1975
ART TATUM The Keys Tone Sessions album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Keys Tone Sessions
Swing 1976
ART TATUM Tatum / Hampton/ Rich: . . . Again! - The Tatum Group Masterpieces (aka The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 4) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tatum / Hampton/ Rich: . . . Again! - The Tatum Group Masterpieces (aka The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 4)
Swing 1976
ART TATUM The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 5 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 5
Swing 1977
ART TATUM The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 6 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 6
Swing 1977
ART TATUM The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 7 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 7
Swing 1977
ART TATUM The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 8 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 8
Swing 1977
ART TATUM The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 9 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 9
Swing 1979
ART TATUM The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 10 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 10
Swing 1980
ART TATUM The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 11 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 11
Swing 1981
ART TATUM The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 12 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 12
Swing 1982
ART TATUM The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 13 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 13
Swing 1982

ART TATUM EPs & splits

ART TATUM Embraceable You album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Embraceable You
Swing 1955
ART TATUM Art Tatum / Erroll Garner : Giants Of The Piano (aka Art Tatum - Erroll Garner) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum / Erroll Garner : Giants Of The Piano (aka Art Tatum - Erroll Garner)
Swing 1956

ART TATUM live albums

ART TATUM Gene Norman Presents An Art Tatum Concert album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gene Norman Presents An Art Tatum Concert
Swing 1953
ART TATUM An Art Tatum Concert Plus His First Three Recorded Solos album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
An Art Tatum Concert Plus His First Three Recorded Solos
Swing 1957
ART TATUM God Is in the House: Original 1940-41 Recordings album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
God Is in the House: Original 1940-41 Recordings
Swing 1973

ART TATUM demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

ART TATUM re-issues & compilations

ART TATUM Art Tatum With Benny Carter & Louie Bellson : Art Tatum & His Friends Vol.I album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum With Benny Carter & Louie Bellson : Art Tatum & His Friends Vol.I
Swing 1957
ART TATUM The King And Queen Of Jazz Piano (with Mary Lou Williams ) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The King And Queen Of Jazz Piano (with Mary Lou Williams )
Swing 1958
ART TATUM The Greatest Of Them All album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Greatest Of Them All
Swing 1958
ART TATUM The Complete Art Tatum Piano Discoveries album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Art Tatum Piano Discoveries
Swing 1961
ART TATUM Piano Starts Here album cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
Piano Starts Here
Swing 1968
ART TATUM The Tatum / Hampton / Rich Trio  (aka  Art Tatum, Lionel Hampton & Buddy Rich ‎– The Tatum Group Masterpieces) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum / Hampton / Rich Trio (aka Art Tatum, Lionel Hampton & Buddy Rich ‎– The Tatum Group Masterpieces)
Swing 1975
ART TATUM Art Tatum / Lionel Hampton / Harry Edison / Buddy Rich / Red Callender / Barney Kessel ‎: The Tatum Group Masterpieces album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum / Lionel Hampton / Harry Edison / Buddy Rich / Red Callender / Barney Kessel ‎: The Tatum Group Masterpieces
Swing 1975
ART TATUM Art Tatum / Roy Eldridge / John Simmons / Alvin Stoller ‎: The Tatum Group Masterpieces album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum / Roy Eldridge / John Simmons / Alvin Stoller ‎: The Tatum Group Masterpieces
Swing 1975
ART TATUM The Best of Art Tatum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Art Tatum
Swing 1987
ART TATUM The Complete Capitol Recordings Of Art Tatum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Capitol Recordings Of Art Tatum
Swing 1988
ART TATUM The V-Discs album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The V-Discs
Swing 1989
ART TATUM The Complete Capitol Recordings, Volume 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Capitol Recordings, Volume 1
Swing 1989
ART TATUM The Complete Capitol Recordings, vol. 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Capitol Recordings, vol. 2
Swing 1989
ART TATUM The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1932-1934 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1932-1934
Swing 1990
ART TATUM Standards album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Standards
Swing 1990
ART TATUM Solos (1940) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Solos (1940)
Swing 1990
ART TATUM Art Tatum / Benny Carter / Louis Bellson ‎: The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum / Benny Carter / Louis Bellson ‎: The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 1
Swing 1990
ART TATUM The Complete Pablo Group Masterpieces album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Pablo Group Masterpieces
Swing 1990
ART TATUM Classic Early Solos (1934-1937) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Classic Early Solos (1934-1937)
Swing 1991
ART TATUM The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1934-1940 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1934-1940
Swing 1991
ART TATUM The Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces
Swing 1991
ART TATUM Fine and Dandy album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fine and Dandy
Swing 1994
ART TATUM An Introduction to Art Tatum: His Best Recordings 1933-1944 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
An Introduction to Art Tatum: His Best Recordings 1933-1944
Swing 1995
ART TATUM The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1944 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1944
Swing 1995
ART TATUM The Art of Tatum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art of Tatum
Swing 1995
ART TATUM The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1940-1944 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1940-1944
Swing 1995
ART TATUM 20th Century Piano Genius album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
20th Century Piano Genius
Swing 1996
ART TATUM Body and Soul album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Body and Soul
Swing 1996
ART TATUM The Complete Capitol Recordings album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Capitol Recordings
Swing 1997
ART TATUM Ultimate Art Tatum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ultimate Art Tatum
Swing 1999
ART TATUM Midnite Jazz & Blues: Cocktails for Two album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Midnite Jazz & Blues: Cocktails for Two
Swing 1999
ART TATUM The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1945-1947 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1945-1947
Swing 1999
ART TATUM 1949 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1949
Swing 2000
ART TATUM Art Tatum's Finest Hour album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum's Finest Hour
Swing 2000
ART TATUM Over the Rainbow album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Over the Rainbow
Swing 2000
ART TATUM Art Tatum: Complete Original American Decca Recordings album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum: Complete Original American Decca Recordings
Swing 2001
ART TATUM The Definitive Art Tatum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Definitive Art Tatum
Swing 2002
ART TATUM Hall of Fame album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hall of Fame
Swing 2002
ART TATUM Hold That Tiger! album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hold That Tiger!
Swing 2002
ART TATUM The Quintessence album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Quintessence
Swing 2002
ART TATUM The Best of the Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of the Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces
Swing 2003
ART TATUM Piano Grand Master album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano Grand Master
Swing 2003
ART TATUM The Genius of Art Tatum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius of Art Tatum
Swing 2006
ART TATUM Piano Starts Here / Live At The Shrine album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano Starts Here / Live At The Shrine
Swing 2008
ART TATUM Performance: Solo Piano Recordings From 1933 to 1952 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Performance: Solo Piano Recordings From 1933 to 1952
Swing 2010
ART TATUM More Of The Greatest Piano Of Them All album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
More Of The Greatest Piano Of Them All
Swing 2015
ART TATUM Nine Classic Albums album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Nine Classic Albums
Swing 2019

ART TATUM singles (0)

ART TATUM movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

ART TATUM Reviews

ART TATUM Piano Starts Here

Boxset / Compilation · 1968 · Swing
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Chicapah
For most of my life Art Tatum was just another name to me. I worked in a few record stores back in the 70s to make ends meet (during spells when my chosen field of work, creating music, didn’t) and he was just one on a list of long-gone artists who populated the jazz bins. It wasn’t until I saw and heard a brief snippet of him in Ken Burns’ excellent documentary on the genre that I got a taste of his piano wizardry. As I eagerly absorbed all I could of that in-depth history of jazz I was introduced to a myriad of great artists that I knew little about but none electrified me the way Mr. Tatum did. I simply couldn’t fathom what I was listening to and knew that I had to hear more. It took a while but I finally started my journey of discovery when my son gave me “Piano Starts Here” for a Christmas present. Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed in what it contains.

I understand why this giant of jazz may not be familiar to you. Born in Toledo in 1909, he had everything going against his ever being successful, much less noticed. He was a black man, he was almost totally blind, he was overweight, he played strictly by ear and most of the time he worked solo in an era when jazz was still considered a novelty unless it was being presented in a big band format. But even before he turned 20, by word of mouth, Art was acknowledged as a genuine prodigy and luminaries such as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong went out of their way to see him whenever they toured through Ohio. While backing singer Adelaide Hall he made his way to New York and, in 1933, recorded four tunes for the Brunswick label. After that what had been rumor grew to become an accepted fact among pianists from both the jazz and classical sides who knew a unique virtuoso when they heard one. Many concurred that Art Tatum was the greatest piano player who ever lived. I know that’s a lofty designation but it’s one confirmed by the likes of Oscar Peterson and Vladimir Horowitz. As respected music critic Leonard Feather wrote in ’68, “We are fortunate to have lived in a century that could produce even one Art Tatum.” Lend an ear to the 13 tracks on this CD and you’ll better understand the cause for his praise.

It starts with his first studio sessions from March of ’33. At first glance “Tea for Two” might cause you to smirk sarcastically but his rendition reminds me of a memorable scene in the movie “Amadeus.” Court composer Salieri toiled for weeks to prepare a short piece in honor of Mozart’s anticipated visit to the king’s palace but after hearing it only once the young man vamps on the simple theme grandly, elevating it into a much more complex and intricate etude on the spot. Salieri is floored in awe. I have no doubt that many proficient pianists felt likewise upon hearing his spectacular version of this old chestnut. During “St. Louis Blues” I detect no delay or interruption between what Art’s imaginative mind envisioned and what his nimble fingers produced. His jazzy, impressionistic intro for “Tiger Rag” throws you for a loop before he suddenly roars into the number with the ferocity and blinding speed of a fighter jet. His take on Ellington’s classic “Sophisticated Lady” is so graceful yet so inventive that if he’d been playing it in a restaurant you were dining at you’d never have gotten around to eating because you would’ve been so thoroughly entranced by his elegant mastery. It’s hard to believe that this brand of jazz was recorded in 1933.

The remaining nine cuts were taped live in the spring of ’49 at the “Just Jazz” concert held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. If anything he’s even more phenomenal! Opening with “How High the Moon,” he demonstrates that his smooth articulations had deepened, his harmonic daring was breathtaking, he was still quick as a spooked hare and his innate timing is beyond belief. When he performs Dvorak’s “Humoresque” he utilizes all 88 keys equally and I confess that I’ve never heard anyone else’s phrasing that can top his fluid approach. He could change the entire mood at the drop of a hat. Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me” follows and his introductory flourish gives the impression that he’s either amusing himself or toying with the audience (or both) but what he does with one of my all-time favorite melodies defies description. On the gem “Yesterdays” his uncanny gift for dynamics is on full display as incidental trills, brisk runs and abstract intrusions come zipping in from all directions without warning. By the time you get to “I Know That You Know” it sinks into your brain that you’re experiencing the talents of a bonafide keyboard savant doing things effortlessly that 99.99% of his peers could never pull off on their best day. Of this number Feather commented, “He tears into the standard at a breakneck pace, later halves the time and finally doubles up again, with a tongue-in-cheek ending that shows the sly sense of humor that informed so much of his work.”

“Willow Weep for Me” is the next classic song to receive the Tatum treatment as he decorates this oft-covered ditty with unbelievable showers of glittery arpeggios. As if he’d gotten bored, he plunges headlong into his own “Tatum Pole Boogie” with its eight-to-the-bar and octave-jumping bass patterns that’ll make your head spin like Linda Blair. It’s speed-demon stuff, for sure, but one is struck by the delicate touch he applies that stands in clear contrast to the heavy-handed techniques of the boogie-woogie pioneers. The calmer “The Kerry Dance” is the shortest cut but it’s also the most humorous in that it’s like he was sharing an inside joke with the crowd. The liner notes relate that it was often employed as a playful encore for his club act when the patrons wouldn’t let him go. He ends with Gershwin’s “The Man I Love” wherein he stupefies all in attendance with cascades of notes that thrill and delight. His was an amazing artistry, indeed.

Feather told of hearing Art one particular night in the mid 40s at New York’s tiny Three Deuces packed with pianists. Duke Ellington was there and “declared himself too overwhelmed to express his feelings.” Eddie Heywood, one of the top piano names of the day, was quoted as saying “The more I hear him the more convinced I am that I’d better quit playing and drive a truck.” None other than Charlie Parker once took a job as a dishwasher at a joint in Harlem just so he could hear him improvise nightly. At one point Tatum tried to expand his visibility by forming a trio but found no drummer or bassist that could keep up with him so he resigned himself to being a one-man force of nature. Art died of kidney failure at age 46 but thanks to the preservation of recordings such as this one we can share in his genius. Feather put it bluntly. “The feeling then, and it prevails to this day among thousands of musicians, was that Art Tatum represented the apotheosis of jazz improvisation. He was the greatest soloist in jazz history, regardless of instrument.” Chew on that a while and then get this CD. You’ll probably find yourself agreeing with his assessment.

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