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Art Tatum is the most outstanding single performer in jazz. Single because he, more than any other jazz musician, wishes to be completely independent. On few occasions has he been heard with other musicians, such as this trio which comprises the inimitable Slam Stewart and the amazing Tiny Grimes, a trio which offers wonderfully refreshing music.

Art Tatum who hails from Toledo, Ohio, was originally a Violinist but later abandoned the violin for the piano. When he started on a musical career he was so young that Adelaide Hall, the famous singer, had to promise to look after him, also because he is almost blind. During this period on the stage and as accompanist he gained valuable experience. From New York he went to California and from there in 1938 to England where he became a Sensation. In 1955 his second European tour was arranged exactly as for any classical piano recitalist.


It is said that Art Tatum sat at the piano from 3 o'clock in the morning until the following noon, just playing and playing, improvising as long as half an hour on a Single tune. Asked how he does it he answers "just let the piano play".

For two reasons Art Tatum is one of the mental fathers of all modern jazz. First there is his prodigious technique, playing at an astonishing speed which was later also adopted by Gillespie, Parker, de Franco, Peterson et alias. Second there are the superb harmonic changes he incorporates in his playing, regardless of tempo. He will carry the melody completely out of key at times, baffling listeners, but never losing sight of the original key. In this respect, "I Got Rhythm" commands Special attention as its harmonies are the fundamental chord pattem for many improvisations, later called "Shaw Nuff", "Anthropology". "52nd StreetTheme" etc. Here then is a true genius: Art Tatum and his piano !
Dr. Schulz-Koehn,  1956 


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