Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Complete Group Masterpieces
Genres: Jazz, Pop
The greatest jazz stars of the '40s and '50s era converged upon Los Angeles over a two-year period (1954-56), each beckoned by Norman Granz for the purpose of this series of ad hoc group recordings with pianist Art Tatum. ... more »
The greatest jazz stars of the '40s and '50s era converged upon Los Angeles over a two-year period (1954-56), each beckoned by Norman Granz for the purpose of this series of ad hoc group recordings with pianist Art Tatum. Granz's penchant for the preservation of the most splendid jazz of the century was palpable in his call and the motive force behind the wide summons. Among those responding were Ben Webster, Buddy DeFranco, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Lionel Hampton, Harry Edison, Louie Bellson, and so many more that the full list is almost stupefying. Clearly Art Tatum was the magnet that drew these big stars together for Granz to cut recordings, a project that such an impresario could only have envisioned in some utopian flight. Each fellow jazz scion was drawn by the honor of being Tatum's accompaniment, preserving their turns at the helm with the keyboard's master. Like the Pablo Solo Masterpieces, the selections here are all well known and therefore not just some trendy set of bop riffs made for this gig as a one-off occasion, never to be heard again. DeFranco's clarinet can only be described as seductive on the old Rudy Vallee number "Deep Night." Several cuts strip down to feature Tatum's piano with only Red Callender (bass) and Jo Jones (drums). This trio's take on "Some Other Spring" stands out, reviving for the moment the best Billie Holiday ballad ever reduced to wax. Then there are the other trim trios, with Benny Carter on alto sax and Bellson on drums for 14 tunes and Hampton on vibes and Buddy Rich on drums for almost 20 tunes. Never mind the quartets (Eldridge, John Simmons, and Alvin Stoller on one; Webster, Callender, and Bill Douglass on another), which feature dynamic interplay between the horns and Tatum. For the last chapter in Tatum's piano, the Pablo series cannot be passed by. This is the sine qua non of any serious jazz collection. --Daniel Bartlett Jr.
Fantastic piano playing - Pablo's packaging, not so good
D. W. Horne | 5263 BS Vught, The Netherlands | 11/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You don't need to read my comments about Art Tatum's piano playing - he is simply amazing. You will, however, be disappointed with the packaging. Pablo decided to use CD cases designed for 4 CDs per case to hold 3 CDs. These cases (you get 2 of them for those 6 CDs) take up a fair amount of real estate. The booklet they enclose is the size of a LP and the box that holds everything is the equivalent of a record case (LPs) that would hold all of Beethoven's symphonies. I get the feeling that Pablo was trying to get rid of old LP boxes and used them to hold the CDs and booklet. I would have bought this set anyway, but Pablo could have done a much better job with the packaging."
Truly "Group Masterpieces"
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 09/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In addition to recording Art Tatum in solo piano sessions that would yield an amazing seven CDs worth of material, Norman Granz also captured Tatum in a variety of group settings that would produce eight individual volumes of music. "Art Tatum - The Complete Pablo Group Masterpieces" brings all of these group recordings made between 1954-56 on six discs. This music in its collected form has to represent one of the towering achievements in recorded jazz history, not to mention jazz piano and classic 50s jazz. I won't go into specifics about the songs, sessions and personnel because the editorial review does that, and I have already written individual reviews for Volumes 3, 4 and 6 (plus there are excellent, informative reviews for the remaining titles by other customers). The Box Set is a major purchase, but if you are considering getting three or four of these volumes individually, you might as well get this because you will save money in the long run. Besides I guarantee you if start with Volumes 6, 7 and/or 8, you will fall in love with this music, and will want the whole enchilada anyway."
Richard W. Cutler | 04/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tatum's genius has never been in doubt, but at times his virtuosity could impede his rich jazz instinct. These group recordings bind Tatum a bit, in that he has to take in the idiosyncracies of his colleagues, but that limitation is actually liberating. Because his colleagues here are all great musicians themselves, no one is cowed by Tatum's mastery. The songs vary from plain lovely (Benny Carter, Roy Eldridge) to utterly sublime (Ben Webster, Lionel Hampton). It is the Hampton tracks that are the hreatest revelation: The two men speak in almost identical language on their instruments and inspire each other to to a kind of tense passion that is mark of great jazz improvisation. The only conceivable negatives have nothing to do with the music. The packaaging is indifferent, and the liner notes by Benny Green, while erudite, are written in a tone just this side of paranoia. The music could not be better."