Top positive review
66 people found this helpful
Look out !!!...
on March 12, 2002
Outstanding.Amazing.Stupendous.Miraculous.Extraordinary.Majestuous.Imperial.This is Art Tatum (1910-1956) at his highest level.THis is simply piano playing at its highest level,wether it is jazz,classical,or any kind of music.NOBODY never reached,or just approached Tatum's incredible technique.Born blind,Tatum arrived in NYC in 1933 with Adelaide Hall,an ex-Ellington singer and quickly became the King.It is said that Fats Waller,playing one night in a club,and seeing Tatum in the hall,said "I'm playing here but God is in the house tonight";masters like Toscanini,Rubinstein and Horowitz used to listen to him and were fascinated by his talents.Tatum could play improbable chords progressions at the highest speed,and the swing was always here.He was one of the greatest geniuses in the history of music,and this record may be the most beautiful introduction to his world.
Most of the tunes were recorded July3,1955 in Beverly Hills,at Ray Heindorf's home,who was Musical Director for Warner Bros.EVERY tune is a masterpiece.You can't believe your ears when you listen to these treasuries."Sweet Lorraine",for example,is one of the most magnificent piece of music ever recorded.Or "begin the beguine",played at an infernal tempo;or George Gershwin's "someone to watch over me".Or "you took advantage of me",in which shades of Teddy Wilson appear.By the way,Tatum once said that he would have loved to BE ABLE to play like Wilson.The great Teddy never received a better hommage."yesterdays" is another gem,and Bud Powell could have played the ad-lib introduction;then,every classical pianist must have been terrified by what's coming.The somptuous "I'll never be the same" makes me think of the masterpiece Billie Holiday and Lester Young made of this tune,some 17 years earlier.The rare "little man,you've had a busy day" finds here its greatest interpretation."My heart stood still" again makes me think to Bud Powell,and also to Dinah Washington's gorgeous version.Tatum played the blues very rarely;of course,he waxed a couple of boogies that were real nightmares for every tickler;his version of Freddie Shayne's "Mr Freddie's blues" is a masterpiece of swing,sometimes remembering another mad man,Fats Waller.Sometimes,I wondered why Bud Powell played "there will never be another you";now,I know why.Once again,after an improbable introduction,Tatum goes into the tune with his very personnal,relaxed tempo that swings like mad.Same thing for "wrap your troubles in dreams",a tune Louis Armstrong made popular many many years before.And,to me,one of the most beautiful compositions in the jazz history,"memories of you",written by the immense pianist,Mr Eubie Blake (1883-1983).The fact is,that each musician who recorded this tune made a masterpiece of it: Armstrong,Monk,Pee Wee Russell,Doc Cheatham,Dollar Brand among others.
This two cd set is a magnificent introduction to Art Tatum's music,but more than this,it ranks among the greatest milestones in the music of the 20th century.Please,don't miss these hours of pure joy.