1. Tea For Two
2. St. Louis Blues
3. Tiger Rag
4. Sophisticated Lady
5. How High The Moon
7. Someone To Watch Over Me
9. I Know That You Know
10. Willow Weep For Me
11. Tatum Poll Boogie
12. The Kerry Dance
13. The Man I Love
Tracks 1-4 March 21, 1933
Tracks 5-13 Recorded live in the spring of 1949, at the 'Just Jazz' Concert,
presented by Gene Norman at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA
Probably all of the superlatives have been used and re-used to describe the
phenomenon that is Art Tatum. Nevertheless, the more I listen to him, the
more I realise, whether you like him or not, it cannot be denied that any
praise is more than valid. I have tried to think of another instrumentalist
in jazz who has anything approaching Tatum's sheer technical mastery of his
chosen instrument and in my opinion there is noone.
This disc is made up of two sets of solo recording - the second one live.
There is no variation in the standard of performance either live or in the
studio or in 1933 or 1949. This is solo piano of the very highest order.
Arguably this is the best way to listen to Art Tatum - other players tended
to be superfluous or intimidated, and often a rhythm section got in the way
of Tatum's ever changing ideas.
Every track is of note and it would be difficult to select any highlights.
However there are certain selections that are rapidly becoming favourites
No Tatum performance would be complete without 'Tea For Two' and the version
here is very fine. 'Tiger Rag' begins with a slow introduction and then takes
off - the tempo is very bright but the articulation is very lucid. There
is a passage of outrageous re-harmonisation - one of many examples of a wry
sense of humour shown throughout the disc.
Another track which Tatum's sense of fun is Dvorak's Humoresque. The phrasing
here brings to mind the type of phrasing used in a 'Tom and Jerry' cartoon
with its clipped rhythmic figurations.
The only original composition on this disc is 'Tatum Pole Boogie'. This is
Boogie-Woogie playing at its best.The pianist drives the tempo throughout
with his customary articulation.
'The Kerry Dance' is a delight - only just over a minute long but a gem all
This disc would be an excellent purchase for the newcomer to Tatum's work-
it is very high in content on all of his best aspects including a very fertile
imagination. For the Tatum aficionado I can only say that this disc is essential
D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry.