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Jazz Figures: Art Tatum, Vol. 2 (1939-1943)

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Album Review

This third Decca CD wraps up GRP's Art Tatum reissue series. There are two piano solos ("Tea For Two" and "Deep Purple"), an obscure 1935 version of "Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle" with an unidentified group, the full session (including two alternate takes) by Art Tatum's "Swingsters" in 1937, two instrumentals from 1940 with a sextet including trumpeter Joe Thomas and clarinetist Edmond Hall and ten performances by Tatum's famous 1944 trio with guitarist Tiny Grimes and bassist Slam Stewart. Tatum's playing throughout is typically miraculous and this CD offers ample proof that he could play with other musicians, providing they were flexible and strong themselves. Highly recommended.


Born: 13 October 1909 in Toledo, OH

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s

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...
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