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Piano Master

Art Tatum

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Album Review

Piano Master is a collection of early piano solos by Art Tatum, recorded most likely in the mid-'40s. Most of the cuts here are standards, and the evolution of his busier style in the late '40s and early '50s presents itself elegantly; the playing throughout is brilliant. This is a decent budget-priced compilation to start listening to Tatum, but there is little to no track information. The highlights here are fine readings of "Over the Rainbow," "Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'," "Night and Day," and "Jitterbug Waltz."


Born: October 14, 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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