Art Tatum

Strange as It Seems

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This English LP uses a very appropriate label name, because many of the tracks within this long unavailable album are very hard to find elsewhere. At the time of its issue in 1982, most of the selections within this release had not been heard since the days of 78s. Singer Adelaide Hall provided her own 78s for the first four tracks, featuring Tatum as a part of her backup band, which incredibly included a second pianist, too! Lesser-known alternate takes with a Tatum-led band that included blues singer Joe Turner, two Tatum originals taken from the otherwise forgettable film The Fabulous Dorseys, and a brief aircheck from a 1951 appearance at New York's Cafe Society Downtown featuring the trio with Everett Barksdale and Slam Stewart are among other highlights within this compilation. Tatum's playing is at a high level throughout, and there are more than enough otherwise unavailable tracks to make this LP a worthwhile investment for any Tatum collector.