Art Tatum

Kings of the Keyboard

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Releases on this label tend to be under-packaged in slim, generic covers with liner notes consisting mostly of short biographies with very little information about the actual sessions. This is a split-disc affair that would provide a nice glimpse of these contrasting piano giants. As far as programming ideas go, combining these two isn't such a bad idea. The sessions are really beautiful. That Art Tatum is a virtuoso shouldn't come as much of a shock to jazz fans, but here he is combined with two other major talents, the under-recorded guitarist Tiny Grimes, who is really on fire here, and the always enjoyable bassist Slam Stewart. The Erroll Garner side tones down the keyboard mangling somewhat and allows him to reveal both the lyrical and bluesy side of his approach. His rhythm section doesn't come close to the Tatum trio, but the guys certainly aren't falling asleep on the job. "Loose Nuts" is a great number but -- par for the course with Jazztone -- there are no composer credits, so it is hard to say whether it is one of Garner's many fine compositions.

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