CD Centennial Celebration [Art Tatum] (CD 4681338),
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Centennial Celebration [Art Tatum]

  • 1. Just One of Those Things
    2. Moon Glow
    3. In a Sentimental Mood
    4. Tea for Two
    5. Foggy Day, A
    6. September Song
    7. It's Only a Paper Moon
    8. Where and When
    9. Yesterdays
    10. This Can't Be Love
    11. Over the Rainbow
    12. How High the Moon
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 31463

  • Credits
    ProducerNick Phillips (Compilation)

    Personnel: Art Tatum (piano).
    Liner Note Author: Ashley Kahn.
    While no single-disc collection of Art Tatum could ever do justice or completely cover his legendary career, Pablo Records issues this 12-track CD from the legendary Norman Granz-produced recordings to let you know something of what the pianist was doing between 1953 to 1956. Culled from the exhaustive Group and Solo Masterpieces series recorded in Los Angeles and Hollywood, CA, you hear the ever brilliant Tatum playing by himself with no need for accompaniment, or inside a rhythm section backing select soloists. The music always shows Tatum is on fire, displaying his unequaled speedy technique, embellishing everything with no holds barred. As a solo artist, you hear his unfettered and alive style thoroughly duking it out with whatever standard he chooses to annihilate. His arpeggiated take of "Moonglow," the hyper-fast then cool-into-stride, schizoid version of "Tea for Two," the Fats Waller-like, witty and fun but not so showy and more chordal "It's Only a Paper Moon," and a dynamic, modal, speedo read of "Yesterdays" are all beyond critical reproach. Of the group tracks, drummer Jo Jones and regular Tatum sideman bassist Red Callender scorch "Just One of Those Things," with the pianist just showing off his ability to rip up demonstrable, burning-hot sixteenth-note phrases at will. Tatum quotes "Old Folks at Home" in contrast alongside mellow trumpeter Roy Eldridge, who is in late on "In a Sentimental Mood," tones it down only marginally in tempo with tenor saxophonist Ben Webster for the classic ballad "Where or When" (mistitled on the back cover as "Where & When,") or jams with Benny Carter's alto sax and Louie Bellson's drumming in a bassless trio on the hopped-up swinger "A Foggy Day." Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton teams with Tatum and drummer Buddy Rich for a memorable bop adaptation of "How High the Moon," while a jam session including Rich, Hampton, Callender, Harry Edison, and Barney Kessel offers the most group activity, albeit well into the moderately paced "September Song." It's Tatum running fast and loose alongside clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, who holds the lead during "This Can't Be Love" with the pianist's staunch rhythm team of the ever-so-great Callender and drummer Bill Douglas. A CD that celebrates the 100th anniversary of Art Tatum's birth in Toledo, OH on October 13, 1909, this collection is better than most budget compilations, and can only whet your whistle toward the purchase of the complete Masterpieces sets, staples for any serious jazz fan. ~ Michael G. Nastos

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