Art Tatum

The Complete Pablo Group Masterpieces

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Tatum spent most of his career as a solo pianist; in fact, it was often said that he was such an unpredictable virtuoso that it would be difficult for other musicians to play with him. Producer Norman Granz sought to prove that the theory was false, so between 1954 and 1956 he extensively recorded Tatum with a variety of other classic jazzmen, resulting originally in nine LPs of material that is now available separately as eight CDs and on this very full six-CD box set. In contrast to the massive solo Tatum sessions that Granz also recorded during this period, the group sides have plenty of variety and exciting moments, which is not too surprising when one considers that Tatum was teamed in a trio with altoist Benny Carter and drummer Louie Bellson; with trumpeter Roy Eldridge, clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster in separate quartets; in an explosive trio with vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and drummer Buddy Rich; with a sextet including Hampton, Rich, and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison; and on a standard trio session.

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