Art Tatum

Piano Solo Private Sessions October 1952, New York

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Art Tatum fans will likely be very disappointed if they purchase the Musidisc CD Piano Solo Private Sessions October 1952, New York, as they probably already own the music on this French release, which has also been issued by various labels, including Jazzz, Jazz Chronicles, Philips (in Japan), and with five previously unreleased alternate takes by Storyville (the best edition to acquire). Part of the problem is the careless title of the disc; the music was not recorded in New York in 1952, but in Los Angeles around 1948, probably in the home of pianist Buddy Cole. Tatum was recorded on a then state-of-the-art 30-inch-per-second reel-to-reel tape recorder instead of transcription discs. Though typical for Musidisc, their sloppy remastering doesn't compare with the other editions of these excellent performances. The 11 selections heard on this disc include many of the pianist's favorite standards, among them "Over the Rainbow" with its chime-like introduction, a lush "In a Sentimental Mood," and a stunning "Night and Day." There seems to be no reason to pick up this out of print CD, since the far superior Storyville CD released in 2000 (The Complete Jazz Chronicle: Solo Sessions +) is readily available with far better sound, five extra tracks from the session, as well as seven otherwise unavailable selections from a 1955 broadcast. Let the buyer beware.

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