November 14, 2010

Art Tatum - true original

It was fifty-four years ago this week that the news spread throughout the Jazz community that one of its finest artists, Art Tatum was gone.

Tatum was a true original, the pianist other pianists listened to, even giants of the Classical world such as Vladimir Horowitz. He created such an indelible impression on the art of playing that his recordings are studied even today to find out how he did it.

But even the passing of a giant such as Art Tatum didn't create much stir elsewhere in the world. The Presidential election was on most people's minds, the crisis in Hungary and the Cold War all grabbed headlines, relegating the death of this true genius to the back pages in the obituary notices.

Tatum died on November 5th and it was via CBS Radio on the West Coast on November 10th that a program in tribute to Art Tatum was aired.

You may not be all that familiar with him, but just remember that so much of what he did and how he did it influenced countless others.

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