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Tiger Rag - The Best of Art Tatum

Art Tatum

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Album Review

It is generally agreed that Art Tatum was the greatest jazz virtuoso of them all. Legally blind in one eye and seriously impaired in the other, Tatum learned to read music by Braille. His genius was recorded during the '30s, when swing was the dominant music of choice. He incorporated ragtime, blues, swing, boogie-woogie, and classical influences to form his unique style. His virtuosic performances quickly became legendary and were even attended by the great classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz. This recording is from Tatum's massive Pablo output (eight solo recordings and eight group recordings) made between 1953-55. The group recordings ultimately were less effective, as Tatum proved to be almost impossible to compliment; however, all are highly recommended. The selections here from the 16 sessions are a fine representation, but it is highly recommended that this just be the starting point.

Biography

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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