It’s been said many times before, but it’s worth repeating. Art Tatum plays the kind of music that is best savored in small, but intense doses. Like a landscape painted on a small canvas, Tatum recordings need to be savored individually. They are so replete with astonishing detail that using the repeat button on your CD player may be a wise thing indeed.The piano solos are simply sublime. Tatum’s name must be mentioned in the same breath with the other great arrangers of jazz of his time – Ellington, Strayhorn, Sauter and Evans. For those of us who never heard him in person, the sheer technique and brilliance of his conception makes one wonder how those who sat there and heard that music pouring out of the piano processed it. The stories about pianists’ temporary pianistic paralysis after hearing Tatum play for the first time, or the need to escape from the room where he was playing become all the more believable.
Art Tatum with the Clib Norman Orchestra, Bill Carter (tp), Bill Povey (as), Johnny Ord (ts), Art Tatum (p), Ned Ciashine (acc.), Murray Lauder (b), Don Hilton (dr),