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Jazz - Released January 1, 1990 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The final volume in this very worthy series is a comparatively relaxed affair, a quartet set with tenor saxophonist Ben Webster. Webster lets Tatum fill the background with an infinite number of notes while emphasizing his warm tenor in the forefront on a variety of melodic ballads and standards. The combination works very well. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Capitol Records

Previously released as two separate volumes, The Complete Capitol Recordings of Art Tatum is a two-disc collection that presents everything the pianist recorded for Capitol Records in chronlogical order. There's 20 solo sides from 1949 and a 1952 session with a trio of guitarist Everett Barksdale and bassist Slam Stewart. Throughout the collection, Tatum sounds wonderful -- he was a rare player that was extremely technically advanced and also very lyrical. For any Tatum fan, this set is a necessity. © Leo Stanley /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 4, 1994 | Legacy - Columbia

There are many Art Tatum records available, but this is the one to pull out to amaze friends, particularly with Tatum's wondrous version of "Tiger Rag," during which he sounds like three pianists jamming together. This CD consists of Tatum's first studio session as a leader (which resulted in "Tea for Two," "St. Louis Blues," "Tiger Rag," and "Sophisticated Lady") and a remarkable solo concert performance from the spring of 1949. While "Tiger Rag" dwarfs everything else, the live set is highlighted by a very adventurous, yet seemingly effortless exploration of "Yesterdays," a ridiculously rapid "I Know That You Know," and the hard-cooking "Tatum Pole Boogie." This is an essential set of miraculous music that cannot be praised highly enough. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released November 23, 2017 | Resurfaced Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Fantasy Records

A rich and rewarding core sample, selected from one of Norman Granz's deepest gold mines. The full set of Tatum ensemble master takes was released on eight vinyl records in 1975, appearing with alternate takes as a box of seven compact discs in 1990. Since then, each separate session has been issued on a single, affordable CD. With the release of this best-of, the only remaining untried reissue format stratagem could almost be conducted according to the laws of chance. If someone were to divide up the existing 59 master takes (saving the alternate takes for a "Best of the Tatum Alternates" compilation), the entire body of work could be issued as a numbered best-of series, the titles carefully shuffled at random. But each volume would possibly still omit something that could be considered essential. This is the insoluble problem with anything calling itself a best-of. Fortunately, the Tatum group recordings produced by Norman Granz during the years 1954, 1955, and 1956 actually deserve the word "masterpieces." While Tatum himself is honored as one of the very most gifted and influential of all jazz musicians, without exception every musician who participated in these sessions was adept, inspired, and, in many cases, masterful. (There are those who would suggest that the Art Tatum/Ben Webster date could stand by itself as the best of the group masterpieces.) Here, for once, is a package worthy of its title. A bit of the best of some of the very best jazz ever recorded. © arwulf arwulf /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1975 | Pablo

During 1954-1956, Norman Granz recorded the remarkable pianist Art Tatum with a variety of classic jazz masters, resulting in quite a bit of musical magic. This first of eight volumes finds Tatum matching wits with the classy alto of Benny Carter and drummer Louie Bellson -- the results are both tasteful and frequently hard-swinging. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1975 | Pablo

For this set, the sixth in line of Art Tatum's eight group recordings for Norman Granz in the 1950s, the remarkable pianist is teamed with bassist Red Callender and drummer Jo Jones. Due to the presence of his sidemen, Tatum is slightly restricted as far as changing keys and tempos at will, but his playing is still often stunning. Highlights of the trio performances include "Just One of Those Things," "Blue Lou," "I'll Never Be the Same," and "More Than You Know." This music (along with the other seven volumes) is also available as part of the massive six-CD set The Complete Pablo Group Masterpieces. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Bebop - Released June 19, 1998 | HighNote Records

Originally released in 1973, God Is in the House features live performances from the Jerry Newman collection of acetate discs and are fortunately in better technical quality than most of the music from Newman's archives. The remarkable Art Tatum is heard playing three brief, unaccompanied piano solos in 1940, three other numbers in which he is accompanied by Reuben Harris (beating out some quiet rhythms with whiskbrooms on a suitcase), and four duets with bassist-vocalist Chocolate Williams; Tatum has a brief vocal on "Knockin' Myself Out" and a more extensive one on "Toledo Blues," the only times he ever sang on record. In addition, Tatum and Williams back Ollie Potter (a pretty good if completely unknown singer) on "There'll Be Some Changes Made." Best of all are a pair of exciting trio numbers ("Lady Be Good" and a very memorable "Sweet Georgia Brown") in which Tatum stretches out with bassist Ebenezer Paul and the great, underrated trumpeter Frankie Newton. It is fascinating to hear Newton's playing on "Sweet Georgia Brown," which is fairly simple and calm, while Tatum sounds like a volcano behind him. Highly recommended. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Classical - Released May 9, 2008 | Sony Classical

For many serious jazz fans, no pianist has ever approached the technical mastery of Art Tatum, though his virtuoso skills usually meant he was at his best unaccompanied. Many of his recordings from the 1930s and '40s were limited by the deficiencies of recording methods at the time. Piano Starts Here, long considered one of Tatum's definitive albums, combined four solos from a 1933 studio session (his first as a soloist, aside from a test pressing a year earlier), and a fabulous solo concert at the Shrine Auditorium in 1949 (the latter issued as an Armed Forces Radio Service 16" transcription disc), which has been reissued many times over the decades. But there were several problems with these releases. The pitch was slightly too slow on the live material. A medley of George Gershwin tunes was awkwardly edited (a miserly decision to save on royalty payments) to only "The Man I Love," discarding over one minute of other compositions, including "Summertime," "I've Got Plenty of Nothin'," and "It Ain't Necessarily So." The order of the live performances was also altered. Zenph Studios decided to use 21st century computer technology to re-create this album, both the 1933 studio session and the famous 1949 concert. The technicians worked wonders with the source material, by correcting the speed and adding the missing segments. Improvements in computer technology enabled the staff to not only replicate how Tatum played each key, but also to duplicate his use of the sustain pedal, recording the playback on a MIDI file that in turn served as source for a Yamaha Disklavier Pro concert grand piano, which was recorded two different ways on the very same Shrine Auditorium stage. They even took the time to duplicate the exact location of the piano on-stage for Tatum's original Shrine concert. No audience was used for the 1933 selections, which included versions of "Tea for Two" and "Tiger Rag," in all likelihood similar to the performances Tatum used to best both Fats Waller and James P. Johnson during a Harlem cutting contest not long after Tatum arrived in New York City. Of major interest is the greatly improved fidelity of the re-creation of the 1949 concert. Instead of using generations-old, flawed tapes that were descended from the original AFRS transcription disc, the MIDI file as played back on the Yamaha Disklavier Pro concert grand piano seems closer to the essence of what Tatum's original performance sounded like. Antonin Dvorák's "Humoresque" is the playful opener (a tape transfer error on later LPs has been restored), followed by "Tatum Pole Boogie" (a rollicking inventive original that doesn't rely exclusively on a consistent, heavy ostinato bassline like most boogie-woogie). The complete restored "Gershwin Medley" (courtesy of Tatum discographer Arnold Laubich, who owned a copy of the original performance) removes for good the abrupt edit present between the opening and closing sections of "The Man I Love" on all earlier commercial issues. The uptempo showpieces are dazzling, including a romp through "How High the Moon" and "Yesterdays" (which includes a surprising octave unison segment) plus the strolling, bluesy take of "Willow Weep for Me." The producers of this Art Tatum "re-performance" simultaneously recorded the playback in two different ways. The first 13 cuts on the CD were recorded to five tracks for a stereo surround version, to achieve ideal sound for listeners. The music is duplicated in the second half of the CD, but it is in a binaural stereo version recorded two-track into a dummy head propped as if the listener is the pianist hearing the instrument as he or she is performing. Listening to the binaural recordings on headphones gives an intimate perspective, with the applause heard mostly in the right channel and the auditorium air conditioning audible in quieter passages. It is compatible with regular CD players, Super Audio units, and Super Audio Surround Sound. This re-performance of classic recordings by Art Tatum will likely be controversial for some collectors, who think that technology has destroyed the integrity of the pianist's performances. This CD doesn't replace Tatum's Piano Starts Here in anyone's collection, but the greatly improved sound of Piano Starts Here: Live at the Shrine should be considered a marvelous engineering feat to give jazz fans a much better idea of what the late piano virtuoso sounded like in concert on a top-notch instrument. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | Verve

This double album was taped at a private party in 1956, featuring the amazing Art Tatum on solo piano. Tatum, who died the following year, never did decline, and he is in prime form throughout this highly enjoyable and frequently exciting set of standards. There are no real romps a la "Tiger Rag" but the 27 performances contain plenty of remarkable moments. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 1, 2011 | Music and Arts Programs of America

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Pablo

Volume Six of this eight-CD series features Tatum interpreting such standards as "Night and Day," "Cherokee," "Happy Feet" and "Someone to Watch Over Me" with taste and melodic creativity. There are no real barnburners or new revelations on this generally relaxed set, but the music should please Tatum's fans. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1990 | Fantasy Records

The second of eight CDs teaming the amazing pianist with a variety of his contemporaries finds Tatum sharing the stage with trumpeter Roy Eldridge, bassist John Simmons and drummer Alvin Stoller. Eldridge, normally a very combative player, knows better than to directly challenge Tatum and instead is surprisingly restrained and muted on this enjoyable set of swing standards. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1983 | Fantasy Records

It is generally agreed that Art Tatum was the greatest jazz virtuoso of them all. Legally blind in one eye and seriously impaired in the other, Tatum learned to read music by Braille. His genius was recorded during the '30s, when swing was the dominant music of choice. He incorporated ragtime, blues, swing, boogie-woogie, and classical influences to form his unique style. His virtuosic performances quickly became legendary and were even attended by the great classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz. This recording is from Tatum's massive Pablo output (eight solo recordings and eight group recordings) made between 1953-55. The group recordings ultimately were less effective, as Tatum proved to be almost impossible to compliment; however, all are highly recommended. The selections here from the 16 sessions are a fine representation, but it is highly recommended that this just be the starting point. © Robert Taylor /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 30, 2015 | Audiophile

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Fantasy Records

The second of eight CDs in this series of solo performances taken from four marathon record sessions has among its highlights "Elegy," "This Can't Be Love" and "Tea for Two," but in qeneral this series lacks the excitement of Tatum's earliest recordings. Excellent but somewhat predictable performances by the classic virtuoso. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1990 | Fantasy Records

The fourth of eight CDs featuring the pianist interacting with some of his most notable musical contemporaries is the second to match his virtuosity with that of vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and drummer Buddy Rich. The three immortals really challenge each other during this frequently heated jam session. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Fantasy Records

On the fourth volume in this eight-CD series, Tatum sounds at his best on "Ill Wind" and "The Man I Love." Taken from the 119 piano solos he cut for Norman Granz in four lengthy recording sessions during 1953-55, these performances are concise, relaxed, and surprisingly predictable, if virtuosic. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 23, 2018 | Doxy Records