The Tatum Touch

Art Tatum

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The Tatum Touch Review

by Richard S. Ginell

Caught in excerpts from a live concert performance in Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium in 1949, Tatum is in simply stunning form -- endlessly inventive, adventurous, and well-recorded for the time. "Yesterdays" goes into all kinds of convolutions, yet his technique is so clean and the train of thought so logical that it seems like inevitable child's play (of course, the way to disabuse yourself of that notion is to try to play something like that yourself). "Willow Weep for Me" is steeped in the blues, the rapid runs in "I Know That You Know" go at a speed that you won't be able to comprehend, and there is a rare Tatum attempt to supercharge and elaborate a pattern as simple as a boogie-woogie ("Tatum-Pole Boogie"). Even the overplayed "How High the Moon" and Dvorák's hoary Humoresque are fascinating in Tatum's incredible hands. If you can't find this rare, nifty House Party series 10" LP, the music can be heard and marveled at on the Piano Starts Here CD.