Art Tatum


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Tatum, Art

(tā`təm), 1910–56, American jazz pianist, b. Toledo, Ohio. Born with cataracts in both eyes, Tatum remained virtually blind for life. He read music in Braille, but his sensitive ear for music made reading almost unnecessary. Tatum, an unmatched piano virtuoso and brilliant improviser, developed a style characterized by complex musical embroidery, such as rapid runs and shifting rhythms.

Tatum, (Arthur) Art

(1909–56) jazz musician; born in Toledo, Ohio. Near-blind from birth, he was established as a jazz pianist in New York by 1932 and worked mainly as a soloist thereafter. He was a keyboard virtuoso whose overwhelming technique and harmonic imagination strongly influenced jazz pianists and the bebop style of the following generation.
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He tuned in to a late-night radio station that played records by Charlie Parker, Powell, Thelonoius Monk, Duke Ellington and Art Tatum.
Having equalled the record of 180 winners in a season yesterday, Richard Hannon breaks it when Art Tatum (George Duffield) beats Be Exciting (John Dunlop/Tyrone Williams) in the nursery at Yarmouth.
Art Tatum actually picked out their seven-foot Steinway.
Art Pepper's version of the reflection pool, after all, resides in "the white translucent skin of syringes." And though in Bond's formation Art Tatum's near blindness seemed to sharpen his hearing, what he finally heard was "music beneath / the music, dark, mute, buried alive." The musicians are ghosts now: Art Pepper, "a thin face floating in a hot spoon"; Monk, a phantom haunting "the high gothic cathedral of his style"; Bill Evans' hands, "moody foster children." Redemption in this case begins with resuscitation: for the poet as for the horn player, breathing is nothing "if not a dialogue between the living and the dead."
Reed is cited by the Library of Congress; he received the Ohio Governor's Award in the Arts in 1993; in 1997 the Common Space Center for Creativity named their auditorium in his honor, and in 1999, the Art Tatum African American Resource Center of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library honored his career on National Tap Dance Day.
But on up-tempo numbers like Kurt Weill's "Speak Low" and the title cut, an Irving Berlin tune, Hersch reveals an exuberant polyphony and a killer left hand that bring jazz piano legend Art Tatum to mind.
During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Hinton worked as a free-lance musician in Chicago, performing with legendary jazz artists, including Zutty Singleton, Jabbo Smith, Eddie South, Erskine Tate, and Art Tatum. In 1936, he joined Cab Calloway's band, where he remained for 15 years, performing with renowned sidemen such as Danny Barker, Chu Berry, Cozy Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Illinois Jacquet, Jonah Jones, Ike Quebec, and Ben Webster.
"Jazz musicians such as Art Tatum, Count Basie, Joe Jones, Lester Young - they all wanted to play their instruments the way she sang."
In the Times, the term typically appears in reviews: A jazz critic praised Art Tatum's "rambunctious and hilarious deconstruction of `Makin' Whoopee.'" An article in the Living section declared that The Perfect Recipe Baking Book "deconstructs 50 classic pies, cakes and cookies with paternal and meticulous detail." A review of House & Garden reported that "the new issue deconstructs the crystal chandelier." The record for most uses of deconstruction in a single issue of a publication--five different articles by five different authors--goes to the Times of March 24, 1996, a distinction it shares with The Village Voice of five days earlier.
Included here are wonderful arrangements of several familiar tunes, such as Harold Arlen's Over the Rainbow, arranged by George Shearing, Johnny Mercer's Laura, arranged by Andre Previn and Richard Rodgers's Blue Moon, arranged by Art Tatum. A couple of inclusions that I suspect will delight many are Zez Confrey's Kitten on the Keys and Dizzy Fingers.
This 5-volume reference presents essays on 608 20th-century musicians and composers in all genres, with the classical cellist Pablo Casals followed by Johnny Cash, for example, or Art Tatum followed by Sir John Tavener, making this an enjoyable work for browsing.