Art Tatum

Hall of Fame [Box Set]

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Past Perfect is an imprint of TIM The International Music Company AG, a German company that specializes in multi-disc sets of unlicensed recordings by vintage artists, taking advantage of the 50-year copyright limit on recordings in Europe. Past Perfect's Hall of Fame series presents five-CD box sets that, as the cover note claims, "incl. 40 page booklet." Thus, here we have more than five and a quarter hours of early Art Tatum, recordings made between 1940 and 1955 (the compilers having cheated a little bit on that 50-year limit). The material has been transferred from records originally released by such labels as Decca, Capitol, and Verve. Tatum solo and trio sides recorded in the studio dominate, but there are also some live tracks and some band performances from 1941, featuring a sextet backing singer Joe Turner. The booklet does indeed run 40 pages, and the 30 of those pages devoted to prose are closely printed. But the unsigned essay, like that for other Hall of Fame boxes, is an odd one, and not only because the phrasing is sometimes stilted (as if it had been written in a language other than English and then translated), but also because it is so heavily padded with tangential information. Practically every time a songwriter whose work was recorded by Tatum or a musician with whom Tatum played is mentioned (and that is often), the reference is accompanied by a mini-biography of that person. The essay contains factual errors, and the text and other credits are littered with typos, misspellings, and other minor errors (Al "Johnson" for Al Jolson, the songwriter Alan Jay Lerner mistaken for the songwriter Sammy Lerner, etc.). Needless to say, a jazz fan looking for a comprehensive box set of Tatum's work with coherent commentary should look elsewhere, but a casual fan interested in obtaining a big chunk of Tatum's music at a modest price (which is what this set was selling for on release in American mail-order catalogs) could do worse.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:15
2 3:00
3 2:21
4 2:59
5 2:43
6 2:51
7 2:31
8 2:43
9 2:49
10 2:54
11 2:54
12 3:13
13 3:13
14 2:31
15 3:25
16 2:57
17 2:28
18 3:15
19 2:16
20 2:39
21 2:33
22 2:27
23 2:34
24 3:03
25 2:30
26 1:57
27 2:03
28 2:20
29 4:13
30
4:41
31 4:34
32 4:17
33 4:32
34 4:13
35 3:47
36 4:09
37 2:48
38 2:36
39 2:46
40 2:46
41 2:45
42 2:54
43 3:08
44 3:12
45 2:54
46 3:01
47 2:43
48 3:10
49 3:10
50 2:53
51 2:26
52 2:44
53 3:08
54 3:19
55 2:48
56 3:22
57 3:17
58 3:24
59 3:32
60 3:37
61 3:42
62 2:37
63 4:08
64 3:57
65 5:06
66 5:06
67 2:41
68 5:00
69 2:46
70 4:27
71
3:57
72 3:55
73 3:28
74 3:14
75 2:52
76 4:40
77 5:48
78 2:59
79 4:58
80 3:45
81 3:41
82 5:29
83
3:45
84 3:17
85 3:32
86 3:45
87 3:03
88 4:26
89 6:01
90 2:58
91 3:56
92 3:47
93 3:05
94 3:35
blue highlight denotes track pick