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Art Tatum

Art Tatum was among the most extraordinary of all jazz musicians, a pianist with wondrous technique who could not only play ridiculously rapid lines with both hands (his 1933 solo version of "Tiger Rag" sounds as if there were three pianists jamming together) but was harmonically 30 years ahead of his time; all pianists have to deal to a certain extent with Tatum's innovations in order to be taken seriously. Able to play stride, swing, and boogie-woogie with speed and complexity that could only previously be imagined, Tatum's quick reflexes and boundless imagination kept his improvisations filled with fresh (and sometimes futuristic) ideas that put him way ahead of his contemporaries.

Born nearly blind, Tatum gained some formal piano training at the Toledo School of Music but was largely self-taught. Although influenced a bit by Fats Waller and the semi-classical pianists of the 1920s, there is really no explanation for where Tatum gained his inspiration and ideas from. He first played professionally in Toledo in the mid-'20s and had a radio show during 1929-1930. In 1932 Tatum traveled with singer Adelaide Hall to New York and made his recording debut accompanying Hall (as one of two pianists). But for those who had never heard him in person, it was his solos of 1933 (including "Tiger Rag") that announced the arrival of a truly major talent. In the 1930s, Tatum spent periods working in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and (in 1938) England. Although he led a popular trio with guitarist Tiny Grimes (later Everett Barksdale) and bassist Slam Stewart in the mid-'40s, Tatum spent most of his life as a solo pianist who could always scare the competition. Some observers criticized him for having too much technique (is such a thing possible?), working out and then keeping the same arrangements for particular songs, and for using too many notes, but those minor reservations pale when compared to Tatum's reworkings of such tunes as "Yesterdays," "Begin the Beguine," and even "Humoresque." Although he was not a composer, Tatum's rearrangements of standards made even warhorses sound like new compositions.

Art Tatum, who recorded for Decca throughout the 1930s and Capitol in the late '40s, starred at the Esquire Metropolitan Opera House concert of 1944 and appeared briefly in his only film in 1947, The Fabulous Dorseys (leading a jam session on a heated blues). He recorded extensively for Norman Granz near the end of his life in the 1950s, both solo and with all-star groups; all of the music has been reissued by Pablo on a six-CD box set. His premature death from uremia has not resulted in any loss of fame, for Art Tatum's recordings still have the ability to scare modern pianists. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Centennial Celebration

1. Just One Of Those Things

2. Moonglow

3. In A Sentimental Mood

4. Tea For Two

5. A Foggy Day

6. September Song

7. It's Only A Paper Moon

8. Where Or When

9. Yesterdays

10. This Can't Be Love

11. Over The Rainbow

12. How High The Moon

x

Track List: Piano Starts Here: Live At The Shrine/Zenph Re-Performance

1. Tea For Two

2. St. Louis Blues

3. Tiger Rag

4. Sophisticated Lady

5. Humoresque (Live)

6. Tatum Pole Boogie (Live)

7. Someone To Watch Over Me (Live)

8. How High The Moon (Live)

9. Yesterdays (Live)

10. Willow Weep For Me (Live)

11. The Kerry Dance

12. Gershwin Medley

13. I Know That You Know

14. Tea For Two (Live Stereo)

15. St. Louis Blues (Live Stereo)

16. Tiger Rag (Live Stereo)

17. Sophisticated Lady (Live Stereo)

18. Humoresque (Live Stereo)

19. Tatum Pole Boogie (Live Stereo)

20. Someone To Watch Over Me (Live Stereo)

21. How High The Moon (Live Stereo)

22. Yesterdays (Live Stereo)

23. Willow Weep For Me (Live Stereo)

24. The Kerry Dance (Live Stereo)

25. Gershwin Medley (Live Stereo)

26. I Know That You Know (Live Stereo)

x

Track List: Chronological Clasics: Art Tatum 1949-1953

1. Goin' Home

2. Blue Skies

3. It's The Talk Of The Town

4. Dancing In The Dark

5. Tenderly

6. Melody In F

7. September Song

8. Would You Like To Take A Walk

9. Tea For Two

10. Out Of Nowhere

11. Lover

12. Just One Of Those Things

13. Indiana

14. Can't We Be Friends

15. This Can't Be Love

16. Elegie

17. Memories Of You

18. Over The Rainbow

19. If You Hadn't Gone Away

20. Body And Soul

21. The Man I Love

22. Makin' Whoopee

x

Track List: Art Tatum Live 1953 - 55 Volume 7

1. Caravan

2. If

3. Soft Winds

5. Yesterdays

6. Someone To Watch Over Me

7. Flying Home

8. Tenderly

10. Sweet Lorraine

11. Body And Soul (live)

12. Sweet Lorraine

13. Memories Of You

14. Air Mail Special

15. Tea For Two

16. Dialogue

17. Someone To Watch Over Me

18. Sweet Lorraine (Live)

19. Fine And Dandy

20. Someone To Watch Over Me

22. My Heart Stood Still

x

Track List: Willow Weep For Me

Disc 1

1. Tiger Rag

2. Tea For Two

3. St. Louis Blues

5. Sophisticated Lady

6. Moonglow

7. I Would Do Anything For You

8. When A Woman Loves A Man

9. Emaline

10. Love Me

11. Cocktails For Two

12. After You've Gone

13. Stardust

14. Ill Wind

15. The Shout

16. Beautiful Love

17. Liza

18. I Ain't Got Nobody

19. Stay As Sweet As You Are

20. I Wish I Were Twins

21. Gone With The Wind

22. Stormy Weather

23. Chloe

24. The Sheik Of Araby

26. Deep Purple

27. It Had To Be You

Disc 2

1. Oh, You Crazy Moon

2. Over The Rainbow

3. Day In Day Out

4. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm

5. Elegie

6. Humoresque

7. Sweet Lorraine

8. Get Happy

9. Lullaby Of The Leaves

10. Tiger Rag

11. Sweet Emaline, My Gal

12. Love Me

13. Begin The Beguine

14. Rosetta

15. Indiana

16. Wee Baby Blues

17. Stompin' At The Savoy

18. Last Goodbye Blues

19. Battery Bounce

20. Lucille

21. Rock Me Mama

22. Corrine Corrina

23. Lonesome Graveyard Blues

24. I Got Rhythm

25. Mop Mop

26. Esquire Bounce

Disc 3

1. My Ideal

2. Exactly Like You

3. Flying Home

4. Dark Eyes

5. Body And Soul

6. I Know That You Know

8. Yesterdays

9. Tatum Pole Boogie

10. Willow Weep For Me

11. I Cover The Waterfront

12. Aunt Hagar's Blues

13. Nice Work If You Can Get It

14. Someone To Watch Over Me

15. Dardanella

16. Time On My Hands

17. Sweet Lorraine

18. Somebody Loves Me

19. Don't Blame Me

20. My Heart Stood Still

21. You Took Advantage Of Me

22. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues

Disc 4

1. Goin' Home

2. Blue Skies

3. It's The Talk Of The Town

4. Dancing In The Dark

5. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams

6. Sittin' And A-Rockin'

7. You're Driving Me Crazy

8. In A Sentimental Mood

9. She's Funny That Way

10. I'll Never Be The Same

11. Night And Day

12. It's Only A Paper Moon

13. Three Little Words

14. On The Sunny Side Of The Street

15. Why Was I Born

16. If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight

17. Mean To Me

18. I Guess I Have To Change My Plans

19. Can't We Be Friends

20. What Is This Thing Called Love

21. Crazy Rhythm

22. Limehouse Blues

23. I'm Coming Virginia

24. The Man I Love

x

Track List: Ultimate

1. Tenderly

2. I Cover The Waterfront

3. Body And Soul

4. Someone To Watch Over Me

5. In A Sentimental Mood

6. Yesterdays

7. Willow Weep For Me

8. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams

9. Over The Rainbow

10. I'll Never Be The Same

11. Sweet Lorraine

12. There Will Never Be Another You

13. Without A Song

14. Little Man You've Had A Busy Day

15. Too Marvelous For Words

16. Love For Sale

x

Track List: 20th Century Piano Genius

Disc 1

1. Just Like A Butterfly (That's Caught In The Rain)

2. Tenderly

3. I Cover The Waterfront

4. Body And Soul

5. Someone To Watch Over Me

6. In A Sentimental Mood

7. Yesterdays

8. Willow Weep For Me

9. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams

10. Makin' Whoopee (Incomplete)

11. Memories Of You

12. September Song

13. Begin The Beguine

14. I'll Never Be The Same

15. Over The Rainbow

16. Love For Sale

17. My Heart Stood Still

18. Sweet Lorraine

19. Louise (Incomplete)

Disc 2

1. Don't Blame Me

2. There Will Never Be Another You

3. Without A Song

4. Moon Song

5. You Took Advantage Of Me

6. Little Man You've Had A Busy Day

7. Danny Boy

8. Some Other Spring

9. Love For Sale [1950]

10. Mighty Like A Rose

11. Sweet Lorraine [1950]

12. Someone To Watch Over Me [1950]

13. Mine

14. Too Marvelous For Words

15. Jitterbug Waltz

16. Mr. Freddie Blues

17. Body And Soul [1950]

18. Yesterdays [1950]

19. Honeysuckle Rose

20. After You've Gone

x

Track List: The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces Volume One

1. Moonglow

2. Love For Sale

3. Body And Soul

4. Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin'

5. It's Only A Paper Moon

6. Have You Met Miss Jones

7. Stay As Sweet As You Are

8. My Last Affair

9. Willow Weep For Me

10. Too Marvelous For Words

11. You Took Advantage Of Me

12. Sophisticated Lady

13. I'm In The Mood For Love

14. Everything I Have Is Yours

15. Blue Lou

16. Embraceable You

x

Track List: Classic Early Solos (1934-1937)

1. Moonglow

2. When A Woman Loves A Man - Take A

3. When A Woman Loves A Man - Take D

4. Emaline

5. Love Me

6. Cocktails For Two

7. After You've Gone - Take A

8. After You've Gone - Take C

9. Ill Wind

10. The Shout

11. Liza - Take A

12. Liza - Take D

13. I Would Do Anything For You

14. Stardust

15. I Ain't Got Nobody

16. Beautiful Love

17. Gone With The Wind

18. Stormy Weather

19. Chloe

20. The Sheik Of Araby

x

Track List: The Best Of Art Tatum

1. Night And Day

2. Willow Weep For Me

3. (I'm Left With The) Blues In My Heart

4. Caravan

5. A Foggy Day

6. Hallelujah

7. Can't We Be Friends?

8. Have You Met Miss Jones?

9. Elegy

10. Love For Sale

x

Track List: Finest Hour

1. Liza

2. Gone With The Wind

3. Stormy Weather

5. Deep Purple

7. Get Happy

8. Tiger Rag

9. Begin The Beguine

10. Rosetta

11. Wee Baby Blues

12. I Got Rhythm

13. Mine

15. Honeysuckle Rose

18. Jitterbug Waltz

19. Moon Song

x

Track List: Storyville Masters Of Jazz: Art Tatum

1. Tiger Rag

3. Lulu's Back In Town

4. Boots And Saddle

6. Dixieland Band

7. The Shout

8. Tiger Rag

9. Stay As Sweet As You Are

10. Monday In Manhattan

11. I Would Do Anything For You

12. Theme For Piano

13. In The Middle Of A Kiss

14. Rosetta

15. I Wish I Were Twins

16. Devil In The Moon

17. Can't We Be Friends

19. Sweet Lorraine (live)

20. You Took Advantage Of Me

21. Louise

22. Song Of The Vagabonds

23. Night And Day

24. The Continental

26. Willow Weep For Me

27. Memories Of You

28. Don't Blame Me

29. Where Or When

Comments

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weather
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Always enjoyed listening to Art Tatum, truly a wonderful pianist.
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The guy could truly affect your brain in such a positive manner. When someone is dying, put on an Art Tatum recording and let them depart with a sincere smile.
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Very nice jazz
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parallax58
no mention of Eubie Blake, who still scares everyone, piano or otherwise.
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I lived about 20 miles from the Hollywood Bowl in 1956 when Tatum gave his last concert there, and I did not find out about it until decades later! I still grieve over that. I did see him in or about 1953 in concert at the University of Illinois. The reception was so uproarious that he was said to be unable to hold back tears after the concert. He was simply wonderful.
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Heart of playing
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My all time favorite of Tatum is Tea For Two. Absolutely fantastic.
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The art of appreciating gr8 music truly has no equal.
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My man , man!
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art tatum is the most
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Fantastic!
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When he played a bad piano in a club 1 nite, he picked up the 6 sticking keys after each time struck and the audience never knew.
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The Les Paul anecdote is great. He heard a Tatum record, went to see him live, then switched from piano to guitar forever from that night on. Waller adored Tatum, and would always acknowledge him (as God) when they visited each other in the clubs where they were playing. Art liked to sing the Blues but there is scarce little of it recorded. He usually stopped in to other clubs after his own gig was done for the night. Insomniac, or just longing always to be in musical company? There's a story o
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Mr. Tatum, thank you for being.
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antoniopenam d
Maybe the best jazz pianist I ever heard. He is a real genius!
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Art is truly something The Lord made he is the truth
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He made me love Jazz! Without discovering him I would've never dared to discover Monk!!! Love him for that!!!
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Art is filled with technique, style and just a natural grace and there is nothing wrong with that.
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I've been listening to Art since the middle 60's, and have never tired of him, he's so smooth..
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Truly a genius.
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According to his biography, the (now) renowned guitarist Les Paul was training to be a jazz pianist. He saw Tatum play once, and gave up that dream and took up the guitar.
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lexicogr
No rock guitarist ever claims to be better than Jimi Hendrix, no harp player says he's better than Little Walter... and no jazz pianist claims to be better than Tatum.
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Unarguably and undisputedly the greatest pianist of all time regardless of genre. I hate to say such things because there have been so many greats before and after, but Art is without verbal description. Even Oscar Peterson pales in comparison. When God speaks we must listen!
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Quite possibly the greatest piano player of all time and I agree with bigmacalifor n i a ' s comment below - if I did I'd be considered a virtuoso on my instrument.
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The man must have been born with twenty fingers!
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jorgemachado
I wish I had 1/10th the talent Art Tatum had.
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rick4303
Of the few who've really lit me up- Art is heart and soul above the rest; I can't say it any other way. Another (of course) is Chick, but not as well known, magical -and (unfortunate l y ) gone is custom Hammond B3 organist Dick Heintze- playing D.C. circuits (early to mid '70s) with guitar legends the likes of Danny Gatton & Roy Buchanan. "Dripping" with talent, his execution was precise, effortless - nothing short of insane. In tribute and quiet rememberance , I include his name here as well ..
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joe4101
Art Tatum was the very best & probably will always be. Turly a master of master(s).
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the best :)
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Answered your own question-can anybody outplay the King of the Stride Piano - don't think so. BF.
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smooooooooot h
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carolewinsto n
He is a genius. His technique is amazing!! Can anyone outplay Tatum? Nah.
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dr_rawilliam s _ j r
God just told me that if there is a booger on my window sill, then that is definitely a booger on that person's tooth. Ask me if there is a booger on my window sill.
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http://www.y o u t u b e . c o m / w a t c h ? v = M t v Y W m k L u O w
So kewl, so mellow, so perfect!
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The best of the best.
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Wow! Amazing!
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artalpert54
Art Tatum is, in my opinion, the best jazz piano player of all time.
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emilykkingst o n
My Grandpa used to listen to Art Tatum when I was a kid, and listening to Art always reminds me of my Grandpa.
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When Fats said God is in the house, it was an understatmen t . No one even comes close.First time you hear him you wonder Who are those guys.
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Where are the Pablo Group Masterpieces ? !
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Love that crazy sound. Art is a wonderful pianist.
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jabbb1
WOW! Unbelievable ! ! !
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Shake it up, break it up, take it in and let the music spin your ears! This is one great example of why I looooooooooo o o o o o o o o o v e Jazz.
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lemonhead97
This guy set the bar way up there. Four classically trained hands couldn't keep up with "The Art of Jazz"
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Wow! He can tickle that ivory!!! I'm not kidding. Not too many pianists can play like that!
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Art Tatum was very popular in France, before he became popular in the USA
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dsanborn4
upon my ears like leaves in early fall. my soul sighs "aah"
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HIS bIO MAKES HIM SEEM LIKE A VERY COOL PLAYER.
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ART TATUM AND EARL GARDNER ARE TWO OF THE BEST! I COULD LISTEN ALL DAY.
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