ART TATUM
Swing • United States

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ART TATUM picture
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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5h
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6h
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6h
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Art Tatum Genius of Jazz CD Art Tatum Genius of Jazz CD USD $10.00 Buy It Now 7h
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7h
Presenting The ART TATUM TRIO * Columbia CLEF 10” 1957 Presenting The ART TATUM TRIO * Columbia CLEF 10” 1957 USD $8.14 (0 bids)
7h
Unknown Artist Art Tatum 1934-1940 CD Unknown Artist Art Tatum 1934-1940 CD USD $9.94 Buy It Now 8h
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8h
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10h
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1955 JAZZ PIANO GOD Here's ART TATUM Brunswick BL 54004 Vintage vinyl LP VG/G+ 1955 JAZZ PIANO GOD Here's ART TATUM Brunswick BL 54004 Vintage vinyl LP VG/G+ USD $4.99 (0 bids)
14h
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ART TATUM CLASSIC SOLOS ON ALAMAC JAZZ KINGS LABEL QSR 2402 LP NM SRINK ART TATUM CLASSIC SOLOS ON ALAMAC JAZZ KINGS LABEL QSR 2402 LP NM SRINK USD $6.95 (0 bids)
14h
ART TATUM - PERFORMANCE [ART TATUM] [CD BOXSET] [2 DISCS] - NEW CD BOXSET ART TATUM - PERFORMANCE [ART TATUM] [CD BOXSET] [2 DISCS] - NEW CD BOXSET USD $18.74 Buy It Now 15h
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ART TATUM & ERROLL GARNER: Les Geants du Piano (jazz vinyl import LP) ART TATUM & ERROLL GARNER: Les Geants du Piano (jazz vinyl import LP) USD $25.00 Buy It Now 15h
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15h
Art Tatum Album Solo Piano Capitol Jazz Classics Vol, 3  Capitol 11028 Art Tatum Album Solo Piano Capitol Jazz Classics Vol, 3 Capitol 11028 USD $5.99 (0 bids)
15h
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15h
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16h
Art Tatum - Masterpieces and James P. Johnson Plays Fats Waller 2LP MCA vinyl Art Tatum - Masterpieces and James P. Johnson Plays Fats Waller 2LP MCA vinyl USD $17.95 (0 bids)
16h
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ART TATUM Piano Solos Volume One 10 ART TATUM Piano Solos Volume One 10" LP DECCA 5086 USD $30.95 Buy It Now 16h
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17h
JAZZ 2 LP - COMPLETE ART TATUM PIANO DISCOVERIES - ORIGINAL 20TH FOX TCF-102-2 JAZZ 2 LP - COMPLETE ART TATUM PIANO DISCOVERIES - ORIGINAL 20TH FOX TCF-102-2 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 17h
Scarce Art Tatum Trio 45 EP with pic cover 1953 Vol 2 EX vinyl Brunswick Scarce Art Tatum Trio 45 EP with pic cover 1953 Vol 2 EX vinyl Brunswick USD $15.00 Buy It Now 17h
ART TATUM - 20TH CENTURY PIANO GENIUS ART TATUM - 20TH CENTURY PIANO GENIUS USD $19.99 (0 bids)
18h
Vol. 3-Solo Masterpieces - Art Tatum Vol. 3-Solo Masterpieces - Art Tatum USD $8.74 Buy It Now 19h
The genius of ART TATUM EP 7 The genius of ART TATUM EP 7" 45 Picture Sleeve USD $20.00 Buy It Now 19h
ART TATUM/ROY ELDRIDGE/JOHN SIMMONS/ALVIN STOLLER LP ART TATUM/ROY ELDRIDGE/JOHN SIMMONS/ALVIN STOLLER LP USD $13.99 Buy It Now 21h
THE ART TATUM TRIO Remarkable Art of Tatum LP NM- THE ART TATUM TRIO Remarkable Art of Tatum LP NM- USD $15.99 Buy It Now 21h
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Art Tatum - Vol. 2-Solo Masterpieces CD Art Tatum - Vol. 2-Solo Masterpieces CD USD $14.17 Buy It Now 1 day
ART TATUM pure genius AF/D118 uk affinity 1984 DOUBLE LP PS EX/EX ART TATUM pure genius AF/D118 uk affinity 1984 DOUBLE LP PS EX/EX USD $26.96 Buy It Now 1 day
The Genius of ART TATUM # 10- Clef/VERVE LP MGV 8059--USED The Genius of ART TATUM # 10- Clef/VERVE LP MGV 8059--USED USD $25.00 (0 bids)
1 day
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The Genius of ART TATUM # 8- Clef/VERVE LP MGV 8057--USED The Genius of ART TATUM # 8- Clef/VERVE LP MGV 8057--USED USD $25.00 (0 bids)
1 day
The Genius of ART TATUM # 7- Clef/VERVE LP MGV 8056--USED The Genius of ART TATUM # 7- Clef/VERVE LP MGV 8056--USED USD $25.00 (0 bids)
1 day
The Genius of ART TATUM # 11- Clef/VERVE LP MGV 8095--USED The Genius of ART TATUM # 11- Clef/VERVE LP MGV 8095--USED USD $25.00 (0 bids)
1 day
Art Tatum The Complete Art Tatum Piano Discoveries 20th Fox  TCF 102-2 ---USED Art Tatum The Complete Art Tatum Piano Discoveries 20th Fox TCF 102-2 ---USED USD $15.00 (0 bids)
1 day
Art Tatum-The Art of  Art Verve /VSP- LP VSPS-33--USED Art Tatum-The Art of Art Verve /VSP- LP VSPS-33--USED USD $6.50 (0 bids)
1 day
Here’s Art Tatum Brunswick LP Mono BL 54004 --USED Here’s Art Tatum Brunswick LP Mono BL 54004 --USED USD $65.00 (0 bids)
1 day
LOT of 3 THE ART TATUM SOLO MASTERPIECES PABLO LPS VOLUMES 7 – 9 --USED LOT of 3 THE ART TATUM SOLO MASTERPIECES PABLO LPS VOLUMES 7 – 9 --USED USD $20.00 (0 bids)
1 day
LOT OF 2 Art Tatum VERVE LP’S---USED LOT OF 2 Art Tatum VERVE LP’S---USED USD $47.00 (0 bids)
1 day
LOT of 4 THE ART TATUM SOLO MASTERPIECES PABLO LPS VOLUMES 10-13--USED LOT of 4 THE ART TATUM SOLO MASTERPIECES PABLO LPS VOLUMES 10-13--USED USD $38.00 (0 bids)
1 day
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1 day
LOT of 3 THE ART TATUM SOLO MASTERPIECES PABLO LPS VOLUMES 4 -6--USED LOT of 3 THE ART TATUM SOLO MASTERPIECES PABLO LPS VOLUMES 4 -6--USED USD $21.00 (0 bids)
1 day
ART TATUM - Best of the Pablo Solo Masterpieces ART TATUM - Best of the Pablo Solo Masterpieces USD $6.49 Buy It Now 1 day
Art Tatum - Classic Years (2012) Art Tatum - Classic Years (2012) USD $8.14 Buy It Now 1 day
ART TATUM - THE ART OF TATUM - DECCA  LP ART TATUM - THE ART OF TATUM - DECCA LP USD $3.99 (0 bids)
1 day
Snub Mosely & Art Tatum Bands (Jazz) - E2 Snub Mosely & Art Tatum Bands (Jazz) - E2 USD $7.34 (0 bids)
1 day
Art Tatum - Piano Starts Here Columbia Hall of Fame Series vinyl Art Tatum - Piano Starts Here Columbia Hall of Fame Series vinyl USD $14.95 Buy It Now 1 day
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KEYBOARD KINGS Erroll Garner Art Tatum Oscar Peterson Flying Home VA Various KEYBOARD KINGS Erroll Garner Art Tatum Oscar Peterson Flying Home VA Various USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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THE ART TATUM LEGACY LP VINYL STEREO & 4 CHANNEL QUAD COMPATIBLE THE ART TATUM LEGACY LP VINYL STEREO & 4 CHANNEL QUAD COMPATIBLE USD $7.99 (0 bids)
1 day
GEORGE GERSHWIN THE MAN I LOVE ART TATUM TRIO DARK EYES COMET LABEL T 1-A NICE GEORGE GERSHWIN THE MAN I LOVE ART TATUM TRIO DARK EYES COMET LABEL T 1-A NICE USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
ORIG JAZZ LP - HERE'S ART TATUM - BRUNSWICK BL 54004 ORIG JAZZ LP - HERE'S ART TATUM - BRUNSWICK BL 54004 USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Art Tatum Masterpieces vinyl 2x LP 1973 MCA Records VG+ Art Tatum Masterpieces vinyl 2x LP 1973 MCA Records VG+ USD $9.95 Buy It Now 1 day
Art Tatum/Benny Carter/Louis Bellson-SEALED-Three Giants-Verve 8013-GREAT Art Tatum/Benny Carter/Louis Bellson-SEALED-Three Giants-Verve 8013-GREAT USD $39.99 Buy It Now 1 day
ART TATUM-His Rarest Solos-Jazz Piano-England Import LP-SAGA 6915 ART TATUM-His Rarest Solos-Jazz Piano-England Import LP-SAGA 6915 USD $12.94 Buy It Now 1 day
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THE GENIUS OF ART TATUM #8 LP CLEF MGC-659 MONO JAZZ THE GENIUS OF ART TATUM #8 LP CLEF MGC-659 MONO JAZZ USD $31.99 Buy It Now 1 day
the great art tatum-33rpm the great art tatum-33rpm USD $6.50 (0 bids)
1 day
COMBO JAZZ Coleman Hawkins Buck Clayton Woody Herman Art Tatum Sonny Berman LP COMBO JAZZ Coleman Hawkins Buck Clayton Woody Herman Art Tatum Sonny Berman LP USD $11.97 Buy It Now 1 day
JAZZ-TATUM...ART TATUM on PAUSA RECORDS PR 9017 JAZZ-TATUM...ART TATUM on PAUSA RECORDS PR 9017 USD $2.95 (0 bids)
1 day
Capitol Records  Art Tatum Trio 10 Capitol Records Art Tatum Trio 10" 33RPM Microgroove LP H408 Stewart, Barksdale USD $39.00 Buy It Now 1 day
ART TATUM - Masterpieces - MCA 2LP 1973 NM ART TATUM - Masterpieces - MCA 2LP 1973 NM USD $8.99 (0 bids)
1 day
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9 Classic Albums - Art Tatum9 Classic Albums - Art Tatum
Import
Real Gone Jazz 2014
Audio CD$6.91
$10.71 (used)
The AlbumThe Album
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
ESSENTIAL JAZZ CLASS 2009
Audio CD$7.79
$7.19 (used)
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 1The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 1
Remastered
Original Jazz Classics 2013
Audio CD$5.95
$4.97 (used)
Art Tatum & Ben Webster QuartetArt Tatum & Ben Webster Quartet
Import
Phoenix Spain 2012
Audio CD$7.78
$15.09 (used)
Piano Starts HerePiano Starts Here
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$2.42
$2.42 (used)
PortraitPortrait
Box set · Import
Past Perfect 2007
Audio CD$63.44
$33.66 (used)
Piano Grand MasterPiano Grand Master
Box set · Import
Proper Box UK 2003
Audio CD$15.33
$14.95 (used)
Complete Capitol Recordings of Art TatumComplete Capitol Recordings of Art Tatum
Blue Note Records 1997
Audio CD$14.97
$7.90 (used)
The Complete Pablo Solo MasterpiecesThe Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces
Box set
Pablo 1991
Audio CD$66.26
$39.76 (used)
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ART TATUM Discography

ART TATUM albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Decca Presents Art Tatum
Swing 1940
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum Trio
Swing 1944
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano Solos Album
Swing 1945
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum
Swing 1950
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano Solos With Rhythm Accompaniment
Swing 1950
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Encores
Swing 1951
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gene Norman's "Just Jazz"
Swing 1951
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Trio
Swing 1953
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum #1
Swing 1954
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum # 2
Swing 1954
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum #3
Swing 1954
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum # 4
Swing 1954
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius of Art Tatum #5
Swing 1954
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum #6
Swing 1954
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum # 7
Swing 1954
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum #8
Swing 1954
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius of Art Tatum #9
Swing 1954
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius of Art Tatum #10
Swing 1954
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tatum, Carter, Bellson
Swing 1954
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Here's Art Tatum
Swing 1955
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume 1 (feat. Benny Carter, Louis Bellson)
Swing 1955
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume 2
Swing 1955
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume 3
Swing 1955
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume 4
Swing 1955
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume 5
Swing 1955
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius Of Art Tatum Number Eleven
Swing 1955
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Art Tatum - Ben Webster Quartet
Swing 1956
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Touch
Swing 1956
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 6
Swing 1956
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume 7
Swing 1956
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume 8
Swing 1956
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art of Tatum
Swing 1958
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Greatest Of Them All
Swing 1959
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Person
Swing 1960
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum (1965)
Swing 1965
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Of Art
Swing 1966
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art!
Swing 1967
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum, Red Callender, Jo Jones
Swing 1975
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
God Is in the House: Original 1940-41 Recordings
Swing 1999

ART TATUM EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Embraceable You
Swing 1955

ART TATUM live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
An Art Tatum Concert Plus His First Three Recorded Solos
Swing 1957

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

ART TATUM boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The King And Queen Of Jazz Piano (with Mary Lou Williams )
Swing 1958
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
Piano Starts Here
Swing 1968
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Art Tatum
Swing 1987
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The V-Discs
Swing 1989
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Capitol Recordings, Volume 1
Swing 1989
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Capitol Recordings, Volume 2
Swing 1989
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1932-1934
Swing 1990
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Solos (1940)
Swing 1990
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Standards
Swing 1990
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1934-1940
Swing 1991
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces
Swing 1991
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Classic Early Solos (1934-1937)
Swing 1991
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 1
Swing 1992
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 2
Swing 1992
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 3
Swing 1992
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 4
Swing 1992
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 5
Swing 1992
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 6
Swing 1992
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 7
Swing 1992
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Volume 8
Swing 1992
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fine and Dandy
Swing 1994
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1944
Swing 1995
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The Art of Tatum
Swing 1995
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
An Introduction to Art Tatum: His Best Recordings 1933-1944
Swing 1995
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1940-1944
Swing 1995
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
20th Century Piano Genius
Swing 1996
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Body and Soul
Swing 1996
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Capitol Recordings
Swing 1997
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ultimate Art Tatum
Swing 1999
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Midnite Jazz & Blues: Cocktails for Two
Swing 1999
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Chronological Classics: Art Tatum 1945-1947
Swing 1999
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum's Finest Hour
Swing 2000
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Over the Rainbow
Swing 2000
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art Tatum: Complete Original American Decca Recordings
Swing 2001
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Definitive Art Tatum
Swing 2002
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hall of Fame
Swing 2002
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hold That Tiger!
Swing 2002
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Quintessence
Swing 2002
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of the Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces
Swing 2003
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano Grand Master
Swing 2003
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Genius of Art Tatum
Swing 2006
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano Starts Here / Live At The Shrine
Swing 2008
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Performance: Solo Piano Recordings From 1933 to 1952
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ART TATUM Piano Starts Here

Boxset / Compilation · 1968 · Swing
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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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