Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Art Tatum's Finest Hour
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Art Tatum may well have been the most technically gifted pianist of the 20th century in any form of music, improvising high-speed, perfectly articulated variations of astonishing complexity that have inspired and daunted j... more »
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Art Tatum may well have been the most technically gifted pianist of the 20th century in any form of music, improvising high-speed, perfectly articulated variations of astonishing complexity that have inspired and daunted jazz pianists since he first recorded in 1933. He had an uncanny ability to retain a tune's melodic outline amid layers of runs and shifting rhythms, all the while extending the harmonic language of jazz. This CD provides samples of Tatum's art from 1934 to 1955, just a year before his death, but it concentrates on two periods. The first 10 tracks are piano solos from 1934 to 1940, demonstrating Tatum's joyous virtuosity and kinetic swing on period songs like "Get Happy" and jazz tunes like "Tiger Rag" and "Rosetta," the latter composed by his original inspiration, Earl Hines. Fats Waller's "Stormy Weather" reveals Tatum's sensitive side. His group skills appear on "Wee Baby Blues," with blues shouter Joe Turner, and a brilliant trio rendition of "I Got Rhythm," with guitarist Tiny Grimes and bassist Slam Stewart. The final seven tracks were recorded at parties at the home of Ray Heindorf, six in 1950 and one in 1955. They're very well recorded--Heindorf was the musical director of Warner Bros. Pictures--and they give Tatum a chance to stretch out in comfortable surroundings. "Tea for Two/Honeysuckle Rose" is more free-association synthesis than medley, and "Jitterbug Waltz," alternating graceful, bluesy, melody with scintillating runs, is a tour de force by even the standards Tatum himself established. --Stuart Broomer
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More tatum genius....
williedynamite | 10/26/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Art tatums finest hour is a collection consisting of 19 tracks that spanned his career from the mid 1930 til the mid 1950's The tracks mostly solos but there are a couple of group performances. Quite a few tracks are very rare , Stormy weather.Get happy, Rosetta. The recordings vary in quality some are quite clear and other have significant hiss behind them. But hey these are some of the only recordings of early Art tatum. The tracks in which Art solos are as expected extraordinary. He's in rare form on standards like gone with the wind, Tea for two and too marvelous for words. This record mainly consists of many of Tatum's most played songs What I've come to appreciate listening to the music of Art tatum is regardless of how many time I hear him play Sweet Lorraine , begin the beguine or Jitterbug Waltz they always sound amazing and different. And i have quite a few tatum recordings. Overalll this Cd is a must have for Art tatum collectors. I'd give it 5 stars but because many of songs can be found elsewhere (although they'll be different versions) and the sound quality may turn off some. First time Tatumites might want to go with the 20th century piano genius which is just as good but has better sound quality. Full fledged Tatumites should grab this one up along with the essential God is in the house."
Sound quality horrible -- but Tatum is fantastic as always
Scott | USA | 05/26/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Art Tatum is all the wonderful things anyone tells you -- one of the most delightful, masterful human beings to ever touch the piano, and these tracks help prove it. But the sound quality on tracks 1-11 of this CD is unforgiveable. I am used to listening to 78's, so I well know to expect surface noise when listening to CDs of music from this era, but the noise on this CD is not explainable by the fact that it came from 78's. I can understand the treble hiss not being rolled off, but it actually sounds like it's been BOOSTED -- to the point where it's very uncomfortable to listen even with your EQ cranked down. The same day I bought this CD, I had to clean up the sound quality with my computer software and burn a CDR just to be able to listen to the recordings without being in PAIN. I would expect far better from a big Jazz label like Verve. It sounds like no one at the company even listened to the CD master before sending it to the manufacturing plant. Art Tatum deserves much better.Don't let the carelessness of this CD company stand in the way of discovering Art Tatum. His other CDs are well worth pursuing!"
Great playing can barely be heard over the hiss & noise
Scott | 03/21/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The song selections and Art's playing are truly awesome, but,
the sound quality of the first ten tracks is downright pitiful!
Track #11, 'Wee Baby Blues' with band & Joe Turner singing, is
more a novelty tune. The 'clean' tracks, #13 thru #19 are all
from the double-CD release: Art Tatum 20th century piano genius
- which is probably a better option. The remaining good track,
#12: 'I Got Rhythm' (w/ Tiny Grimes and Slam Stewart) is from
the CD: I Got Rhythm: Art Tatum Volume 3 (1935-1944)
- listen to this disc before buying it!"