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Encyclopedia > Art Tatum
Art Tatum

Background information
Birth name Art Tatum
Born October 13, 1909(1909-10-13)
Origin Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
Died November 5, 1956 (aged 47)
Genre(s) Jazz
Occupation(s) Jazz pianist
Instrument(s) Piano

Arthur Tatum Jr. (October 13, 1909November 5, 1956) was an American jazz pianist and virtuoso. Image File history File linksMetadata Art_tatum. ... is the 286th day of the year (287th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Nickname: Location in the state of Ohio Location of Toledo within Lucas County, Ohio. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A car from 1956 Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... Cover from album by Bud Powell. ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. ... A short grand piano, with the lid up. ... is the 286th day of the year (287th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A car from 1956 Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... A pianist is a person who plays the piano. ... For other uses, see Virtuoso (disambiguation). ...


With an exuberant style that combined dazzling technique and sophisticated use of harmony, Art Tatum is widely ranked among the greatest jazz pianists of all time. Critic Scott Yanow wrote "Tatum's quick reflexes and boundless imagination kept his improvisations filled with fresh (and sometimes futuristic) ideas that put him way ahead of his contemporaries ... Art Tatum's recordings still have the ability to scare modern pianists." [1]

Contents

Biography

Tatum was born in Toledo, Ohio. From infancy he suffered from cataracts of disputed cause, which left him blind in one eye, and with only very limited vision in the other. Some surgery improved Tatum's eye condition to a degree, but this effort was reversed when he was assaulted in 1930 at age 20.[2] He played piano from his youth, and played professionally in Ohio and especially the Cleveland area before moving to New York City in 1932. Nickname: Location in the state of Ohio Location of Toledo within Lucas County, Ohio. ... Human eye cross-sectional view, showing position of human lens. ... This article is about the visual condition. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Cleveland redirects here. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ...


A child prodigy, Tatum learned to play by copying piano roll recordings his mother owned, playing by ear by the age of three. Tatum would learn both parts of a piece for four hands by feeling the keys depressed on the piano. By the age of six he was able to play songs originally performed as duets, unaware that there were supposed to be two players. In this way, he developed an incredibly fast playing style, without losing any of his accuracy. As a child he was also very sensitive to the piano's intonation, and insisted it be tuned often.[2] Look up prodigy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Duet may refer to: Duet, musical form Duet, Fox sitcom This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Intonation, in music, is a players realization of pitch accuracy. ...


Tatum drew inspiration from his contemporaries James P. Johnson and Fats Waller, who exemplified the best stride piano style. Tatum's meteoric rise to success began with his appearance at a cutting contest in 1933 that included Waller and others. Standard contest pieces were Johnson's "Harlem Strut" and "Carolina Shout," and Fats Waller's "Handful of Keys." Tatum triumphed with his arrangement of "Tiger Rag." That performance was considered to be the last word in stride piano. Tatum's debut was historic not only because he blew away the competition, but also because his original style sounded the demise of the stride era. Tatum also preferred to play last where several pianists played. He was not challenged further until Donald Lambert initiated a half-serious rivalry with him. James Price Johnson (February 1, 1894 - November 17, 1955) was a pianist and composer. ... Fats Waller (born Thomas Wright Waller on May 21, 1904, died December 15, 1943) was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer and comedic entertainer. ... Stride is a pioneering jazz piano style. ... Cutting contests were a form of musical battles between the various stride pianoplayers of Harlem in the early 1920s. ... This article is about the tune. ... Donald The Lamb Lambert (12 February 1904 - 8 May 1962) was an American jazz stride pianist born in Princeton, New Jersey, perhaps best-known for playing in Harlem night clubs throughout the 1920s. ...


Tatum's technique was quite distinctive and the effortless gliding of his hands puzzled all who witnessed the phenomenon, especially other pianists, as each note was clearly articulated. Tatum used a relatively flat-fingered technique, which contributed to the impression on speedy runs that his fingers hardly moved. When Tatum's fastest tracks of "Tiger Rag" are slowed down, however, they still reveal a coherent, syncopated rhythm. From the foundation of stride, he made great leaps in terms of technique and harmony, and honed a new style that would greatly influence later jazz pianists, such as Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Billy Taylor, Bill Evans, and Chick Corea. Tatum's extensive use of the pentatonic scale, for example, may have inspired later pianists to further mine its possibilities as a device for soloing. Herbie Hancock described Tatum's unique tone as "majestic" and devoted some time to unlocking this sound and noting Tatum's harmonic arsenal.[3] This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Thelonious Sphere Monk (October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) was a jazz pianist and composer. ... Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, O.Ont. ... For other uses, see Billy Taylor (disambiguation). ... William John Evans (better known as Bill Evans) (August 16, 1929 – September 15, 1980) was an American jazz pianist and one of the most famous of the 20th century; he remains one of the major influences on post-1950s jazz piano. ... Armando Anthony Chick Corea (born June 12, 1941) is a multiple Grammy Award winning American jazz pianist/keyboardist and composer. ... A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five pitches per octave as compared to the major scale which is made up of seven distinct notes. ... Herbert Jeffrey Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an Academy Award and multiple Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist and composer from Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Hancock is one of jazz musics most important and influential pianists and composers. ...


Tatum introduced a strong, swinging pulse to jazz piano, interspersed with spectacular cadenzas that swept across the entire keyboard. He sometimes improvised lines that presaged bebop and later jazz genres, but generally Tatum did not venture far from the original melodic lines of songs, preferring instead to feature innovative reharmonization (changing the chord progressions supporting the melodies). Occasionally, this was a matter of altering the root movements of a tune so as to more effectively apply familiar harmonies. Yet many of Tatum's harmonic concepts and larger chord voicings were well ahead of their time in the 1930s (except for their partial emergence in popular songs of the jazz age) and they would be explored by bebop-era musicians 20 years later. Tatum worked some of the upper extensions of chords into his lines, and this practice was further developed by Bud Powell and Charlie Parker, which in turn was an influence on the development of 'modern jazz'. Look up melody in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A chord progression (also chord sequence and harmonic progression or sequence), as its name implies, is a series of chords played in order. ... The Jazz Age , 1929 movie poster: A Scathing Indictment of the Bewidered Children of Pleasure. ... This article is about the genre of music, for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character see Bebop and Rocksteady. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other persons of the same name, see Charles Parker. ...


Although he could play the blues, Tatum was not given to understatement, introspection or expansive use of space. His approach was prolix and joyous, as the musical ideas flowed in rapid-fire fashion. Tatum also employed a number of trademark devices, runs and embellishments that showcased his brilliant technique and appeared throughout much of his repertoire. Fixing on these signature elements, some critics such as Gunther Schuller thought Tatum played too many notes or was too ornamental or was unjazzlike.

Music sample:

Elegie Image File history File links Elegie_(Art_Tatum). ...

21 second snippet of "Elegie," performed by Art Tatum in 1940, based on the music by Jules Massenet. Features an incredibly fast counterpoint to the main melody, including a couple of examples of his signature pentatonic arpeggios descending in the right hand.
Problems listening to the file? See media help.

Tatum tended to record unaccompanied, partly because relatively few musicians could keep up with his lightning-fast tempos and advanced harmonic vocabulary. He formed a trio during the early 1940s with bassist Slam Stewart and guitarist Tiny Grimes. During their short period of time together, they recorded a number of 78 rpm discs that feature interplay among the musicians. On some ensemble dates, however, the sidemen are outmatched by Tatum and sound like they are scrambling to keep up with a runaway train. For other uses, see Tempo (disambiguation). ... Slam Stewart Leroy Elliott Slam Stewart (September 21, 1914-December 10, 1987) was an African-American jazz bassist whose trademark style was his ability to bow the bass and simultaneously hum an octave apart. ... Lloyd Tiny Grimes (July 7, 1916 in Newport News, Virginia, USA - March 4, 1989) was an American jazz and R&B guitarist. ... rpm or RPM may mean: revolutions per minute RPM Package Manager (originally called Red Hat Package Manager) RPM (movie) RPM (band), a Brazilian rock band RPM (magazine), a former Canadian music industry magazine In firearms, Rounds Per Minute: how many shots an automatic weapon can fire in one minute On...


Transcriptions of Tatum are popular and are often practiced assiduously. But perhaps because his playing was so difficult to copy, only a handful of musicians — such as Oscar Peterson, Johnny Costa, Johnny Guarnieri, Francois Rilhac, Adam Makowicz, Steven Mayer and Dan Knight — have attempted to seriously emulate or challenge Tatum. Phineas Newborn's playing, such as his recording of "Willow Weep For Me", is closely modelled on Tatum. Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, O.Ont. ... Johnny Costa (January 18, 1922 – October 11, 1996) was an accomplished jazz pianist. ... Johnny Guarnieri (23 March 1917—7 January 1985) was an American jazz pianist born in New York City, perhaps best-known for his big band stints with Benny Goodman in 1939 and with Artie Shaw in 1940. ... Adam Makowicz is a Polish pianist, who plays mostly jazz. ... Dan Knight. ... Phineas Newborn Jr (born December 14, 1931 in Whiteville, Tennessee-died May 26, 1989 in Memphis, Tennessee) was an United States jazz pianist, whose principle influences were Art Tatum and Bud Powell. ...


Tatum recorded commercially from 1932 until near his death, though the predominantly solo nature of his skills meant that recording opportunities were somewhat intermittent for most of his career. Tatum recorded for Decca (1934–41), Capitol (1949, 1952) and for the labels associated with Norman Granz (1953–56). For Granz, he recorded an extended series of solo albums and group recordings with, among others, Ben Webster, Buddy DeFranco, Benny Carter and Lionel Hampton. Norman Granz (Los Angeles, USA, August 6, 1918 - Geneva, Switzerland, November 22, 2001), was an American jazz music impresario and producer. ... Benjamin Francis Webster (March 27, 1909–September 20, 1973) was an influential American jazz tenor saxophonist. ... Buddy DeFranco (born 1923) is a jazz clarinet player. ... Bennett Lester Carter (August 8, 1907 – July 12, 2003) was an American jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader. ... Lionel Hampton with George W. Bush Lionel Leo Hampton (April 20, 1908, Louisville, Kentucky – August 31, 2002 New York City), was a jazz bandleader and percussionist. ...


Although Tatum refrained from classifying himself as a classical pianist, he adapted several classical works into new arrangements that showcased his own musical style.


Art Tatum died in Los Angeles, California from the complications of uremia (as a result of kidney failure), having been a heavy drinker since his teen years. He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Los Angeles and L.A. redirect here. ... Uremia is a toxic condition resulting from renal failure, when kidney function is compromised and urea, a waste product normally excreted in the urine, is retained in the blood. ... The kidneys are the organs that filter wastes (such as urea) from the blood and excrete them, along with water, as urine. ... Gates of Forest Lawn Forest Lawn Memorial Park is a cemetery in Glendale, Los Angeles County, California. ... Nickname: Location of Glendale within Los Angeles County and the State of California. ...


Only a small amount of film showing Art Tatum playing exists today as the vast majority has been lost (several minutes of professionally shot archival footage can, for example, be found in Martin Scorsese's documentary Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues). Tatum appeared on Steve Allen's Tonight Show in the early 1950s, and on other television shows from this era. Unfortunately, all of the kinescopes of the Allen shows, which were stored in a warehouse along with other now defunct shows, were thrown into a local rubbish dump to make room for new studios. However, the soundtracks were recorded off-air by Tatum enthusiasts at the time, and many are included in Storyville Records extensive series of rare Tatum recordings. Martin Marcantonio Luciano Scorsese (IPA: AmE: ; Ita: []) (b. ... “Steve Allen” redirects here. ... The First Lady of the United States, Laura Bush and current host Jay Leno. ... Kinescope (IPA: ) originally referred to the cathode ray tube used in television monitors. ... Storyville Records is a Danish record label founded in 1950 by Karl Emil Knudsen, a jazz record collector, then working for the Copenhagen telephone company. ...


Acclaim

Tatum posthumously received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording [1]. This award is distinct from the Grammy Hall of Fame Award, which honors specific recordings rather than individuals, and...


Numerous stories exist about other musicians' respect for Tatum. Perhaps the most famous is the story that Tatum walked into a club where Fats Waller was playing, Waller stepped away from the piano bench to make way for Tatum, announcing, "I only play the piano, but tonight God is in the house." Fats Waller's son confirmed the statement. However, bassist Charles Mingus disputed the story in his autobiography, saying that the actual line was "Oh, God! Tatum is in the house." Fats Waller (born Thomas Wright Waller on May 21, 1904, died December 15, 1943) was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer and comedic entertainer. ... A short grand piano, with the lid up. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Charles Mingus (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979) was an American jazz bassist, composer, bandleader, and occasional pianist. ...


Charlie Parker (who helped develop bebop) was highly influenced by Tatum. When newly arrived in New York, Parker briefly worked as a dishwasher in a Manhattan restaurant where Tatum happened to be performing, and often listened to the legendary pianist. Parker once said “I wish I could play like Tatum’s right hand!” Dave Brubeck observed, "I don't think there's any more chance of another Tatum turning up than another Mozart."[4] For other persons of the same name, see Charles Parker. ... This article is about the genre of music, for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character see Bebop and Rocksteady. ... David Warren Brubeck (born December 6, 1920 in Concord, California[1]), better known as Dave Brubeck, is a U.S. jazz pianist. ... Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791) was one of the most significant and influential of all composers of Western classical music. ...


When Oscar Peterson was still a young boy, his father played him a recording of Art Tatum performing "Tiger Rag". Once he was finally persuaded that it was performed by a single person, Peterson was so intimidated that he did not touch the piano for weeks.[5] Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, O.Ont. ...


Honors and tributes

In 1993, an MIT student invented a term that is now in common usage in the field of computational musicology: The Tatum. It means "the smallest perceptual time unit in music."[6] Mapúa Institute of Technology (MIT, MapúaTech or simply Mapúa) is a private, non-sectarian, Filipino tertiary institute located in Intramuros, Manila. ... The Tatum grid [1] is the lowest regular pulse train that a listener intuitively infers from the timing of perceived musical events. The grid can be computed by using a histogram of inter-onset intervals. ...


Further reading

  • James Lester (1994) Too Marvelous for Words: The Life and Genius of Art Tatum, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-509640-1

Discography

  • Complete Capitol Recordings, Blue Note, 1997
  • Memories Of You (3 CD Set) Black Lion, 1997
  • On The Sunny Side Topaz Jazz, 1997
  • Vol. 16-Masterpieces, Jazz Archives Masterpieces, 1996
  • 20th Century Piano Genius (20th Century/Verve, 1996
  • Standard Sessions (2 CD Set), Music & Arts, 1996 & 2002/Storyville 1999
  • Body & Soul,Jazz Hour (Netherlands), 1996
  • Solos (1937) and Classic Piano, Forlane, 1996
  • 1932–44 (3 CD Box Set), Jazz Chronological Classics, 1995
  • The Rococo Piano of Art Tatum, Pearl Flapper, 1995
  • I Know That You Know, Jazz Club Records, 1995
  • Piano Solo Private Sessions October 1952, New York, Musidisc (France), 1995
  • The Art of Tatum, ASV Living Era, 1995
  • Trio Days, Le Jazz, 1995
  • 1933–44, Best of Jazz (France), 1995
  • 1940–44, Jazz Chronological Classics, 1995
  • Fine Art & Dandy, Drive Archive, 1994
  • The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 2, Pablo, 1994
  • Marvelous Art, Star Line Records, 1994
  • House Party, Star Line Records, 1994
  • Masters of Jazz, Vol. 8, Storyville (Denmark), 1994
  • California Melodies, Memphis Archives, 1994
  • 1934–40, Jazz Chronological Classics, 1994
  • I Got Rhythm: Art Tatum, Vol. 3 (1935–44), Decca Records, 1993
  • The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 5, Pablo, 1993
  • The Best of Art Tatum, Pablo, 1992
  • Standards, Black Lion, 1992
  • The V-Discs, Black Lion, 1992
  • Vol. 1-Solo Masterpieces, Pablo, 1992
  • The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 3, Pablo, 1992
  • The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 4, Pablo, 1992
  • The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 5, Pablo, 1992
  • The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 6, Pablo, 1992
  • The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 7, Pablo, 1992
  • The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 8, Pablo, 1992
  • Classic Early Solos (1934–37), Decca Records, 1991
  • The Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces, Pablo, 1991
  • The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 6, Pablo, 1990
  • The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 7, Pablo, 1990
  • The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 4, Pablo, 1990
  • The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 2, Pablo, 1990
  • The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 3, Pablo, 1990
  • The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 1, Pablo, 1990
  • Art Tatum at His Piano, Vol. 1, Crescendo, 1990
  • The Complete Pablo Group Masterpieces, Pablo, 1990
  • The Complete Capitol Recordings, Vol. 1, Capitol, 1989
  • The Complete Capitol Recordings, Vol. 2, Capitol, 1989
  • Piano Starts Here, Columbia, 1987
  • The Art Tatum-Ben Webster Quartet, Verve, 1956
  • The Essential Art Tatum, Verve, 1956
  • Still More of the Greatest Piano Hits of Them All, Verve, 1955
  • More of the Greatest Piano Hits of All Time, Verve, 1955
  • Makin' Whoopee, Verve, 1954
  • The Greatest Piano Hits of Them All, Verve, 1954
  • Solos 1940, 1989, Decca/MCA
  • 1944, Giants Of Jazz, 1998
  • Genius Of Keyboard 1954–56, Giants Of Jazz

References

  1. ^ allmusic ((( Art Tatum > Overview )))
  2. ^ a b Lester, Too Marvelous for Words
  3. ^ As quoted in the liner notes to the reissue of Capitol CDP 7 92866 2.
  4. ^ From the liner notes to Capitol CDP 7 92866 2
  5. ^ Told by Peterson himself on "Omnibus: Oscar Peterson and Andre Previn" - BBC, 1977; and "In the Key of Oscar" - NFB Documentary, 1992
  6. ^ Tristan Jehan, Creating Music by Listening, "Chapter 3: Music Listening," Massachusetts Institute of Technology, dissertation submitted September 2005.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Art Tatum
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  Results from FactBites:
 
NPR's Jazz Profiles: Art Tatum (875 words)
One of the greatest improvisers in jazz history, Art Tatum also set the standard for technical dexterity with his classic 1933 recording of "Tea for Two." Nearly blind, Tatum's artistic vision and ability made him an icon of jazz piano, a musician whose impact will be felt for generations to come.
While Tatum's skills were undeniable, his style continues to stir controversy on whether or not he was an "official" jazz musician.
Tatum's stay in New York was brief, and he returned to the Midwest, playing in Cleveland and Chicago for the mid-1930s.
Art Tatum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (788 words)
Tatum recorded commercially from 1932 until near his death, though the predominately solo nature of his skills meant that recording opportunities were somewhat intermittent.
Tatum recorded for Decca (1934-41), Capitol (1949, 1952) and for the labels associated with Norman Granz (1953-56).
Art Tatum died in Los Angeles, California from the complications of uraemia (as a result of kidney failure), having indulged in excessive beer drinking since his teenage years.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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