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Complete Capitol Recordings of Art Tatum

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 25, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Disc one has 15 songs. Disc two has 14 songs.

Amazon.com

All of Art Tatum's solo recordings are spectacular, and the 20 tunes he recorded for Capitol in 1949 are no exception. Each piece is subjected to Tatum's unique powers, with sudden rhythmic shifts, florid embellishments of the original melody, and cascading arpeggios that reach for, and achieve, new harmonic possibilities. Whether it's "Goin' Home," by Antonin Dvorak, or "Aunt Hagar's Blues," Tatum recasts his material into a complex, rhapsodic marvel. The final eight tracks are by a 1952 trio. While Tatum's momentum could carry a rhythm section, there's a special appeal to his group playing, a heightened sense of detail and a superbly relaxed swing. Everett Barksdale's light rhythm guitar keeps things sparking and Slam Stewart turns in some of his patented bowed bass work with accompanying humming, creating the illusion of a low-pitched kazoo. --Stuart Broomer
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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2:54
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2:42
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2:48
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11
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12
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13
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2:56
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14
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15
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2:02
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Disc 2
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2:44
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3:09
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3
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2:52
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3:20
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5
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2:57
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6
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3:08
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7
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9
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3:09
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10
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2:49
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11
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12
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13
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3:36
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14
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 25, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B000005GVR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,207 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. Dorward on October 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Art Tatum began recording in 1932, when he was only 22; though he often worked in groups, the core of his oeuvre is his solo performances. It's deeply unfortunate that his recorded legacy is sometimes hampered by indifferent sound & indifferent pianos, since Tatum had not simply a phenomenally fast technique but, more importantly, a gorgeous sound on the piano; so for me much of the attraction of this set is that it's among the few occasions where Tatum got a great piano & excellent studio sound. Twenty tracks here are piano solos, dating from 1949. These include a rare instance of Tatum's playing the blues, on WC Handy's "Aunt Hagar's Blues"; this is a well-known track among many jazz musicians because it's one of the few Tatum solos to present few obstacles to transcription & reproduction! (See the transcription in John Mehegan's well-known theory books.) Tatum played many of these tunes over & over again--there are countless recordings of "Sweet Lorraine" for instance--& while it's true that he basically stuck to a set arrangement & development for such tunes, no two versions are exactly alike. These recordings don't, I think, quite find Tatum at his best--the 1930s recordings have an extra ounce of razor-sharp precision (a fast piece like "How High the Moon" on here--admittedly a previously unreleased title--comes off as inevitably impressive but a bit sloppy by Tatum's standards). Yet it's hard not to be charmed by his readings of a mostly fairly straightforward pick of standards (only "Dardanella" & "Goin' Home" are unusual choices here), including the gorgeous minor-key essays on "Willow Weep for Me" & "Blue Skies". (Incidentally there's a closing figure on "Blue Skies" which is directly related to the ending phrase of Monk's "In Walked Bud"....which is based on "Blue Skies" of course.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
For sheer piano virtuosity, it is unlikely you will hear anything more impressive than Art Tatum. Every piece on this 2-disc set will at some point leave you slack-jawed, amazed that someone could play so fast and yet so crisply. You should be aware that although Tatum was a jazz pianist, these pieces are not funky, improvised jam sessions you can dance to, but are instead fully arranged, classic standards, written by the likes of W.C. Handy, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin - it's not like your parents are going to be shouting, "turn down that noise." All pieces are Tatum unaccompanied, except for the last eight, which also feature a bassist and guitarist. My only criticism is that sometimes it appears Tatum believed he was getting paid by the note. It's worth noting that a Washington Post music critic considers this one of the best jazz albums of all time.
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Format: Audio CD
Wow, is this ever a brilliant 2 cd set! 29 tracks, 19 of them solo, 9 are with Everett Barksdale on guitar, and the "Singing Bass" of Slam Stewart. Also, track 15 on cd 1, is a promotional interview with Art Tatum and Paul Weston. The album has been remastered using 20-bit Super Bit Mapping, so the sound is very good. The booklet contains a 4 1/2 page essay by Pete Welding which is very informative. Tatum really was a musical genius, and for anyone who loves jazz piano, this album is a must.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
The music is superb, but it deserves so much more than these MP3s deliver. The quality is awful; overly compressed, with none above 150 kbps. Buy the CD. I repeat, buy the CD and upload it. Don't waste your money on this download.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a two-disc set. What appears as disc 1 contains the contents of disc 2, and vice versa. I'll have to remember to insert disc 2 when I want to listen to disc 1.
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By A Customer on January 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
A friend introduced me to Tatum's music by spending the afternoon listening to this collection. The music is daring and insightful, and Tatum's use of melody is facinating. It is a dynamite collection, but admittedly, too much for the novice, who might wish to start with a "best of" collection. Tatum's influence on jazz music is well earned, and this set is testimony to his legacy.
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Format: Audio CD
The remastering of this Album is faultless. Tatum's performances, especially with guitarist Everett Barksdale and bassist Slam Stewart, re-enforce the long held opinion that he is the greatest jazz piano virtuoso ever. I am personally thrilled since this double CD replaces my worn and scratchy LP's from the 50's.
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