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Piano Starts Here

19 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 26, 1995
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 26, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia Jazz Masterpieces
  • ASIN: B000002AAW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,926 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By madamemusico on August 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
When I was in college and studying piano, I chanced upon this album on an old Columbia LP. I could not believe my ears, then, and am still stunned by the playing on here now. What Tatum does is nearly impossible, both as a musical and as a technical concept, juxtaposing each hand moving independently of the other to create massive, swirling collages of sound. When Tatum's first solo records (reproduced here) first appeared in 1933, he was accused of using a second pianist on the sessions!

The remainder of these cuts come from a concert in 1949, when Tatum was at the very peak of his powers. Several of these pieces were re-recorded for Norman Granz's Clef label a few years later (now reissued on Pablo CDs as "The Tatum Solo Masterpieces"), but these versions are even more spontaneous and exciting. This version of "Yesterdays," in particular, inspired me to attempt to play it, a venture I soon discovered impossible once I got past the intro into the swirling figures!

Tatum was often accused of playing superfluous runs and arpeggios, especially for white or mixed audiences, in order to add unnecessary "flash" to his playing. There is certainly some truth in this statement. In his few surviving live recordings before audiences in all-black clubs, Tatum plays less floridly, more inventively at times, than he does here, but that is like accusing a world-class gymnast of waving his arms in the air as he or she sticks their landing...this would in no way detract from the beauty or originality of the routine itself. Tatum's elegance, and eloquence, may not be greatly helped by his glassy runs, but if one accept them for what they are the essential core of his genius is still apparent.

This CD reissue is vastly superior to the original LP release as it totally eliminates the artificial "stereo" sound considered so chic in those days. Highly recommended!!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By William A. Morgan on November 24, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I just picked up this album a few days ago after hearing numerous good things about it. After popping in the cd and sitting down to take it all in, it is very hard to say what exactly took place. I had heard Art Tatum was a great player, but that is actually an understatement. Amazement, Bewilderment and Befuddlement is all i can remember feeling after hearing "Tiger Rag". But that feeling doesnt stop at just that one track, every single track is incredible and almost unhuman. From the pristine runs to the complex chordal changes, the man absolutely blew me away with his playing. He is without a doubt a very special individual who needs to be heard by anyone who loves jazz or music in general. His creative genius is parallel with very few people, Coltrane being the person in my mind who seems to come close (But not quite there!). Although he never composed any of his own material, the standards that he plays are so elegantly played and touched with his genius that it is hard to imagine them played any other way. PLEASE, LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM. I BEG YOU. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED and at 12 dollars it is a bargain. If this album was priced at 50 dollars, i would probably still pay for it without any regrets. It will be a beloved part of my music collection and I hope you will listen to it and enjoy it as much as i do.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By JEAN-MARIE JUIF on February 17, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Toledo,Ohio,October 13,1910: the nightmare of all piano players,I mean classical or jazz piano players,is born.Art Tatum,the most talentuous pianist of all times,was born and after he became blind,started to learn piano.Adelaide Hall,Duke Ellington's singer in the late twenties,found him during a tour and brought him in NYC.And the nightmare started.Year 1933.Art was in the Big Apple,and intended to eat it completely.And he did.Horowitz,Rubinstein,Toscanini came to some obscure Harlem's clubs to listen to him.If he had the possibility to record some tunes of Bach or Chopin,he would have killed everybody.There are two quotes that are very interesting: the immense Thomas "Fats" Waller,playing one night in a club,said something like "I'm here playing tonight,but God's in the house" as Tatum was sitting before the stage;and Tatum saying,sorry I don't have the original words,that he'd like to play like Teddy Wilson;maybe the greatest tribute for one of the most discreet musicians.
This too short CD proposes four tracks (1-4) recorded in NYC,1933,when Adelaide Hall brought him;among them,"Tiger rag",maybe the most terrific thing I ever heard.Tatum plays the tune at a terrifying speed,and offers us some of the most incredible stride piano playing.The Nightmare begins to eat the Big Apple,and nothing will stop him.
Tracks 5-13 were recorded in 1949,At the Shrine Auditorium,Los Angeles;every interpretation is superlative.Anton Dvorak's "Humoresque" can let you think how great Tatum could have been if he had the opportunity of playing classical music."Tatum pole boogie" is the most horrific way to play a boogie.Or the best way to decide you to cut your fingers.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 21, 1998
Format: Audio CD
This CD is a terrific introduction to the genius of Art Tatum, perhaps the greatest Jazz pianist ever. It's all here; brilliant technique, wonderfully complex variations, simple and playful melodies, all played by the quickest and most nimble fingers to touch ivory. Sometimes happy and exhuberant, other times beautifully heart-wrenching, but throughout the CD there is not a note out of place and not an instant where the playing is anything less than magnificent. This CD is a must have for those starting out their collection, or introducing themselves to Tatum, or for anyone who enjoys exquisite Jazz piano....
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