Art Tatum

Willow Weep for Me

Composed by Ann Ronell

Song Review by

Ann Ronell is a bit of a mystery woman to music fans. Although she evidently wrote a lot of music for television and films, including cues as well, only one of her pieces became very widely known to the public. But it is a blockbuster, the melancholy ballad "Willow Weep for Me," which also has her lyrics. This bittersweet song has had widespread appeal since it was first published some time in the 1940s. The song has appealed to musicians in many different fields, as it has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, the Ames Brothers, Chad & Jeremy, Lawrence Welk, Ferrante & Teicher, and even Rupert Holmes. But this work's greatest champions have come from the world of jazz, as it has been elevated to the status of a timeless standard. Jazz singers who embraced this landmark work include Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Dakota Staton. Numerous jazz instrumentalists have recorded "Willow Weep for Me;" among them are Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Marian McPartland and Bud Powell. Phil Woods has come up with one of the more unusual interpretations by interpolating Miles Davis' "All Blues" as a vamp underneath its theme. But the song's foremost interpreter is Art Tatum, who recorded it on six different occasions prior to his death in 1956; it is difficult to match his tour de force performance during a 1949 concert, heard on his well-named album Piano Starts Here.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1953 Verve
Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl 1956
Various Artists
Verve / Verve Reissues 3:54
No Image 1962 Verve
Piano Starts Here 1968 Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 3:13
The Best of Art Tatum 1987 Pablo 4:32
The Complete Capitol Recordings, Vol. 1 1989 Capitol 2:50
The Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces 1991 Pablo 3:47
Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz, Vol. 2 1991
Various Artists
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings / Smithsonian Records 2:53
Blue Piano, Vol. 1 1992
Various Artists
Blue Note
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 1 1992 Fantasy / Original Jazz Classics 4:33
The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 8 1992 Concord 3:47
The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz, Vol. 1-5 1995
Various Artists
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 2:53
20th Century Piano Genius 1996 Universal / Verve 3:44
The Complete Capitol Recordings, Vol. 1 1997 Blue Note / CM / Universal 2:56
Legends of Jazz [Star Zone] 1998
Various Artists
Wesgram
The Genius of Keyboard 1998 Giants Of Jazz Recordings 3:41
Ultimate Art Tatum 1999 Verve / Polygram 3:48
1949 2000 Classics 3:12
Over the Rainbow 2000 Dreyfus Records 2:53
The Columbia Jazz Piano Moods Sessions 2000
Various Artists
Mosaic 3:14
Jazz Memories 2001
Various Artists
Audio & Video Labs, Inc. / Innerhythmic 3:48
Portrait 2002 Import / Past Perfect 3:12
The Incredible Tatum! 1933-1949 2003 Jazz Legends 2:54
Piano Grand Master 2003 Proper Box 2:54
Live 1949-1951, Vol. 4 2003 Storyville 3:07
Body and Soul [Acrobat] 2003 Acrobat 3:43
Willow Weep for Me 2003 Proper Sales & Dist. 2:54
Complete Capitol 2004 Definitive 2:55
Art Tatum [Membran] 2005 Membran
Live, Vol. 8: 1955-56 2005 Storyville 2:54
Storyville Art Tatum 2006 Storyville 3:06
Piano Starts Here: Live at the Shrine/Zenph Re-Performance 2008 Masterworks / Zenph/Sony BMG Masterworks 3:17
Art Tatum [Storyville] 2008 Storyville 2:54
Performance 2010 Fuel 2000 3:07
No Image 2013 Parker Street Records 4:32
No Image 2013 Blanksheets Records 2:54
Masterworks 2013 Fuel 3:07
No Image 2013 Rare Jazz Music Ltd 3:12
No Image BD Jazz 2:50
Jazz From America on Disques Vogue
Various Artists
Sony Music
Tatum Pole Boogie Documents 2:51
blue highlight denotes editor's pick