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Group Masterpieces 3
Art Tatum
Group Masterpieces 3
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Art Tatum
Title: Group Masterpieces 3
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Pablo
Release Date: 7/1/1991
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Swing Jazz, Traditional Jazz & Ragtime
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 025218042628

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CD Reviews

Three Of Eight Masterpieces
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 09/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Volume 3 of the "Art Tatum Group Masterpieces" is the first of two discs featuring the unique trio of Lionel Hampton on vibes, Buddy Rich on drums, and of course, Tatum on piano. This August 1955 session, like most Tatum recordings, is an all-standard affair, with classic versions of "What Is This Thing Called Love," "How High The Moon" and "Makin' Whoopee." While I don't find Volume 3 as enjoyable as Volumes 6, 7 or 8 (my personal favs), it is nontheless a classic date. If anything, my problem here is that at times Hampton does his own thing, instead of giving himself over to Tatum's style like Buddy DeFranco (Volume 7) or Ben Webster (Volume 8) does. However, this is a minor point and Hampton's contributions are truly memorable. In all, the eight volumes of the Tatum "Group Masterpieces" represent one of the towering achievements in jazz piano, not to mention recorded jazz history."
David Keymer | Modesto CA | 05/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Praise be to Norman Grantz for pulling Art Tatum into the studio near the end of his life and simply recording, recording and recording him, in solo and with (generally but not always) simpatico companions. Tatum was not the easiest of accompanists because he tended to overpower the people he played behind. Nor did he really need rhythm accompaniment behind him. For one thing, because he played with the rhythm so much, accelerating and decelerating the beat as he ran through his lightning fast changes. The best of the group albums featuring Tatum is the album with Ben Webster: Webster simply played, taking advantage of his wonderful thick tone and his affinity for ballads. Tatum did his stuff, Webster his, and it worked. Neither overpowered the other although they were playing different ballgames --Tatum's chromatic, virtuosic, multi-noted, and Webster's straight ahead lyricism and an impeccable feeling for where notes should lie along the beat.

The Hampton-Rich-Tatum album is not as successful but it is still a joy. Tatum plays killer piano. His solos are breathtaking in their originality, musicality and the virtuosity with which he plays them. There have been pianists who have tried to imitate Tatum --I think of Adam Makowitz's lovely "Tatum on My Mind" on his solo album at Maybeck Hall, on Concord records-- but no one could play both as fast, creatively and CLEANLY as Tatum. In the middle of even the fastest run, or the fastest chord modulation, the notes ring clear and separate. They're on time, never late, early nor blurred. This album is worth buying for Tatum's solos alone.

Hampton doesn't even attempt to match Tatum which is both a virtue and a vice in the album. Hampton was always a JOYFUL, happy player, extremely percussive. (What a surprise! Ee started off as a drummer.) On this album, Tatum doesn't get in Hampton's way during Hampton's solos and Hampton doesn't even bother with echoing Tatum when he solos. But they don't fight each other and both are gems well worth preserving.

I've tried to like Buddy Rich's drumming and failed for fifty years now. Though technically accomplished, he still strikes me a heavy, plodding drummer. He does not intrude on this album but neither does he add anything to it. But --again-- when Tatum plays, who needs a drummer?

In sum, this is a better album than either the session with Roy Eldridge (they don't meld) or Buddy DeFranco (same problem) but nowhere as successful as those with Webster (close to paradise) and Benny Carter (closer to Tatum in his approach to songs). I listen to it over and over, and it is well worth buying."