Art Tatum

On the Air

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The reason that this 1978 LP was initially significant was that it marked the first commercial issue of Art Tatum's earliest solo recording, a test pressing of "Tiger Rag" recorded during a session backing singer Adelaide Hall; it has the blazing speed and the incredible runs of the more famous version recorded the following year for Brunswick. Although this track has appeared on a number of releases that followed, there are still several recordings that haven't appeared on other LPs or CDs. They include: a 1944 solo of "Humoresque" accompanied by the trio's version of "I Know That You Know;" a solo of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," which was also briefly available on a lower fidelity Joyce LP; and a duo performance with an unknown bassist on a 1945 Chesterfield Supper Club broadcast of "How High the Moon." Tatum's playing is at a high level on every song. In spite of the usually poor fidelity of transcription discs, the level of surface noise is rather low on this record, so the rare tracks make it worth acquiring.