|Birth name||Art Tatum|
|Born||October 13, 1909|
|Origin||Toledo, Ohio, U.S.|
|Died||November 5, 1956 (aged 47)|
Arthur Tatum Jr. Events 54 - Nero ascends to the Roman throne 409 - Vandals and Alans crossed the Pyrenees Year 1909 ( MCMIX) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year starting This article is about the city in Ohio, USA. For Toledo Spain, see that article The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Events 1499 - Publication of the Catholicon in Treguier ( Brittany) Year 1956 ( MCMLVI) was a Leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other Jazz is an American Musical art form which originated in the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States Jazz piano has been an integral part of the Jazz idiom since its inception in both solo and ensemble settings A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified for the purpose of making Music. The piano is a Musical instrument played by means of a keyboard that produces sound by striking steel strings with Felt covered hammers (October 13, 1909 – November 5, 1956) was an American jazz pianist and virtuoso. Events 54 - Nero ascends to the Roman throne 409 - Vandals and Alans crossed the Pyrenees Year 1909 ( MCMIX) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year starting Events 1499 - Publication of the Catholicon in Treguier ( Brittany) Year 1956 ( MCMLVI) was a Leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Jazz is an American Musical art form which originated in the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States A pianist (/'piənɪst/ is a Musician who plays the Piano. A professional pianist can perform solo pieces play with an ensemble or Orchestra A virtuoso (from Italian virtuoso, late Latin virtuosus, Latin virtus meaning skill manliness excellence is an individual
With an exuberant style that combined dazzling technique and sophisticated use of harmony, Art Tatum is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. Critic Scott Yanow wrote "Tatum's quick reflexes and boundless imagination kept his improvisations filled with fresh (and sometimes futuristic) ideas that put him way ahead of his contemporaries . . . Art Tatum's recordings still have the ability to scare modern pianists. " 
Tatum was born in Toledo, Ohio. This article is about the city in Ohio, USA. For Toledo Spain, see that article From infancy he suffered from cataracts of disputed cause, which left him blind in one eye, and with only very limited vision in the other. A cataract is a clouding that develops in the crystalline lens of the Eye or in its envelope varying in degree from slight to complete opacity Blindness is the condition of lacking Visual perception due to Physiological or Neurological factors Some surgery improved his eye condition to a degree, but this effort was reversed when he was assaulted in 1930 at age 20.  He played piano from his youth, and played professionally in Ohio and especially the Cleveland area before moving to New York City in 1932. Ohio ( is a Midwestern state of the United States. As part of the Great Lakes region, Ohio has long been a cultural and geographical crossroads Cleveland is a City in the US state of Ohio and the County seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state The City of New York
A child prodigy, Tatum learned to play by copying piano roll recordings his mother owned, playing by ear by the age of three. He would learn both parts of a piece for four hands by feeling the keys depressed on the piano. By the age of six he was able to play numbers originally performed as duets, unaware that there were supposed to be two players. A duet is a Musical composition or piece for two Performers In Classical music the term is most often used for a composition for two singers In this way, he developed an incredibly fast playing style, without losing any of his accuracy. As a child he was also very sensitive to the piano's intonation, and insisted it be tuned often. Intonation, in Music, is a musician's realization of pitch accuracy or the pitch accuracy of a musical instrument 
Tatum drew inspiration from his contemporaries James P. Johnson and Fats Waller, who exemplified the best stride piano style. James Price Johnson ( February 1 1894 &ndash November 17 1955) was an African-American Pianist and Composer. Fats Waller (born Thomas Wright Waller on May 21, 1904 &mdash December 15, 1943) was an American jazz pianist Stride, also known as New York ragtime, is a jazz piano style where the pianist's left hand may play a four-beat pulse with a bass note or tenth interval on the first and third Tatum's meteoric rise to success began with his appearance at a cutting contest in 1933 that included Waller and others. Cutting contests were a form of musical battles between the various Stride piano players of Harlem in the early 1920s Standard contest pieces included Johnson's "Harlem Strut" and "Carolina Shout," and Fats Waller's "Handful of Keys. " Tatum triumphed with his arrangement of "Tiger Rag. " Tiger Rag " is a Jazz standard, originally recorded by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917 " That performance was considered to be the last word in stride piano. Tatum's debut was historic not only because he blew away the elite competition, but also for sounding the demise of the stride era. Tatum also preferred to play last where several pianists played; biographer James Lester notes that Tatum enjoyed listening to others play. He was not challenged further until stride specialist Donald Lambert initiated a half-serious rivalry with him. Donald "The Lamb" Lambert ( 12 February 1904 - 8 May 1962) was an American Jazz Stride pianist born
Tatum's technique was quite distinctive and the effortless gliding of his hands puzzled all who witnessed the phenomenon, especially other pianists, as each note was clearly articulated. With supreme independence of the hands and apparently self-taught fingering, he executed even the most difficult passages with apparent ease. His technique was all the more remarkable considering that he drank prodigious amounts of beer and alcohol when performing, yet his recordings are never sloppy. He used a relatively flat-fingered technique compared to the curvature taught in classical training, which contributed to the impression on speedy runs that his fingers hardly moved. Jimmy Rowles said "Most of the stuff he played was clear over my head. Jimmy Rowles ( August 19, 1918 – May 28, 1996) was an American Jazz Pianist who was best known as an accompanist There was too much going on — both hands were impossible to believe. You couldn't pick out what he was doing because his fingers were so smooth and soft, and the way he did it — it was like camouflage. " When his fastest tracks of "Tiger Rag" are slowed down, they still reveal a coherent, syncopated rhythm.
From the foundation of stride, Tatum made great leaps in terms of technique and harmony, and honed a new style that would greatly influence later jazz pianists, such as Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Billy Taylor, Bill Evans, and Chick Corea. Earl Rudolph "Bud" Powell ( September 27[[ 924]] &ndash July 31[[ 966]] in New York City) was an American Jazz pianist, usually considered Thelonious Sphere Monk ( October 10, 1917 - February 17, 1982) was an American Jazz Pianist and Composer. Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, OOnt ( 15 August 1925 – 23 December 2007) was a Canadian Billy Taylor (born July 24, 1921 in Greenville North Carolina) is an American Jazz Pianist, Composer, William John Evans (better known as Bill Evans) ( August 16, 1929 &ndash September 15, 1980) was one of the most famous and influential Armando Anthony "Chick" Corea (born June 12, 1941) is a multiple Grammy Award winning American Jazz Pianist Tatum's extensive use of the pentatonic scale, for example, may have inspired later pianists to further mine its possibilities as a device for soloing. A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five pitches per Octave in contrast to an heptatonic (seven note scale such as the Major scale Herbie Hancock described Tatum's unique tone as "majestic" and devoted some time to unlocking this sound and noting Tatum's harmonic arsenal. Herbert Jeffrey Hancock ("Herbie" born April 12 1940 is a Jazz Pianist and Composer. 
Tatum introduced a strong, swinging pulse to jazz piano, interspersed with spectacular cadenzas that swept across the entire keyboard. He sometimes improvised lines that presaged bebop and later jazz genres, but generally he did not venture far from the original melodic lines of songs, preferring instead to feature innovative reharmonization (changing the chord progressions supporting the melodies). In Music, a melody (from Greek μελῳδία - melōidía, "singing chanting" also tune, voice, or A chord progression (also chord sequence and harmonic progression or sequence) is a series of chords played in order Occasionally, this was a matter of altering the root movements of a tune so as to more effectively apply familiar harmonies. Yet many of Tatum's harmonic concepts and larger chord voicings were well ahead of their time in the 1930s (except for their partial emergence in popular songs of the jazz age) and they would be explored by bebop-era musicians 20 years later. The Jazz Age describes the period from 1918-1929 the years after the end of World War I, continuing through the Roaring Twenties and ending with the rise of the Bebop or bop is a form of Jazz characterized by fast Tempos and Improvisation based on Harmonic structure rather than Melody He worked some of the upper extensions of chords into his lines, and this practice was further developed by Bud Powell and Charlie Parker, which in turn was an influence on the development of 'modern jazz'. Earl Rudolph "Bud" Powell ( September 27[[ 924]] &ndash July 31[[ 966]] in New York City) was an American Jazz pianist, usually considered
Although he could play the blues, Tatum was not given to understatement, introspection or expansive use of space. His approach was prolix and joyous, as the musical ideas flowed in rapid-fire fashion. He employed an array of trademark devices, runs and embellishments throughout his repertoire that showcased his brilliant ambidextrous technique. Focusing of these signature elements, some critics have complained that Tatum played too many notes or was too ornamental or was unjazzlike.
Tatum tended to record unaccompanied, partly because relatively few musicians could keep up with his lightning-fast tempos and advanced harmonic vocabulary. 2266-Tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl or TEMPO is the Chemical compound with the formula (CH23(CMe22NO He formed a trio during the early 1940s with bassist Slam Stewart and guitarist Tiny Grimes. Leroy Eliot 'Slam' Stewart (born 21 September 1914 - died 10 December 1987) was an African American Jazz bass Lloyd "Tiny" Grimes ( July 7 1916 - March 4 1989) was an American Jazz and R&B Guitarist He was a member During their short period of time together, they recorded a number of 78 rpm discs that feature interplay among the musicians. On some ensemble dates, however, the sidemen are outmatched by Tatum and sound like they are scrambling to keep up with a runaway train.
Tatum's repertoire consisted mainly of music from the Great American Songbook -- Tin Pan Alley, Broadway and other popular music of the 20's, 30's and 40's. He played his own arrangements of a few classical piano pieces as well. Although not a composer, his versions of popular numbers were so unique and original as to border on composition.
Transcriptions of Tatum are popular and are often practiced assiduously. But perhaps because his playing was so difficult to copy, only a handful of musicians — such as Oscar Peterson, Johnny Costa, Johnny Guarnieri, Francois Rilhac, Adam Makowicz, Steven Mayer and Dan Knight — have attempted to seriously emulate or challenge Tatum. Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, OOnt ( 15 August 1925 – 23 December 2007) was a Canadian Johnny Costa ( January 17, 1922 &ndash October 11, 1996) was an accomplished jazz pianist born in Arnold Pennsylvania. Johnny Guarnieri ( 23 March 1917 &ndash 7 January 1985) was an American virtuoso Jazz and Stride pianist Adam Makowicz (born Adam Matyszkowicz August 18 1940 in Gnojnik, Germany) is a Polish - American Pianist and Singer Dancer Model Disco King Part Time Exhibitionist Shy Guy Show Boy Phineas Newborn's playing, such as his recording of "Willow Weep For Me", is closely modeled on Tatum. Phineas Newborn Jr (born December 14, 1931 in Whiteville Tennessee -died May 26, 1989 in Memphis Tennessee) was an
Tatum recorded commercially from 1932 until near his death, though the predominantly solo nature of his skills meant that recording opportunities were somewhat intermittent for most of his career. He recorded for Decca (1934–41), Capitol (1949, 1952) and for the labels associated with Norman Granz (1953–56). Norman Granz ( Los Angeles, USA, August 6, 1918 - Geneva, Switzerland, November 22, 2001) was an American For Granz, he recorded an extended series of solo albums and group recordings with, among others, Ben Webster, Buddy DeFranco, Benny Carter and Lionel Hampton. Benjamin Francis Webster ( March 27 1909 &ndash September 20 1973) aka " The Brute " or " Frog," was an Boniface Ferdinand Leonard "Buddy" DeFranco (born February 17, 1923 in Camden New Jersey) is a Jazz Clarinet player Bennett Lester Carter (born August 8, 1907 in Harlem New York; died July 12, 2003 in Los Angeles California) was Lionel Leo Hampton ( April 20, 1908 &ndash August 31, 2002) was an American Jazz Vibraphonist, Percussionist
Art Tatum died in Los Angeles, California from the complications of uremia (as a result of kidney failure), having been a heavy drinker since his teen years. Los Angeles (lɑˈsændʒələs los ˈaŋxeles in Spanish) is the largest City in the state of California and the American West Uremia is a term used to loosely describe the illness accompanying kidney failure (also called renal failure The kidneys are complicated organs that have numerous biological roles He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Forest Lawn Memorial Park is a privately-owned Cemetery in Glendale, Los Angeles, in the United States. Glendale ( is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States.
Only a small amount of film showing Art Tatum playing exists today as the vast majority has been lost (several minutes of professionally shot archival footage can, for example, be found in Martin Scorsese's documentary Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues). Tatum appeared on Steve Allen's Tonight Show in the early 1950s, and on other television shows from this era. Steve Allen, born Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen ( December 26 1921 – October 30 2000) was an American The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as appropriate --> The Tonight Show is a long-running Unfortunately, all of the kinescopes of the Allen shows, which were stored in a warehouse along with other now defunct shows, were thrown into a local rubbish dump to make room for new studios. Kinescope (ˈkɪnɨskoʊp originally referred to the Cathode ray tube used in Television receivers as named by inventor Vladimir Zworykin in 1929 However, the soundtracks were recorded off-air by Tatum enthusiasts at the time, and many are included in Storyville Records extensive series of rare Tatum recordings. Storyville Records is a Denmark based Record label founded in 1950 by Karl Emil Knudsen, a jazz record collector then working for the Copenhagen
Tatum posthumously received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to "performers who during their lifetimes have made creative contributions of outstanding
Numerous stories exist about other musicians' respect for Tatum. Perhaps the most famous is the story that Tatum walked into a club where Fats Waller was playing, Waller stepped away from the piano bench to make way for Tatum, announcing, "I only play the piano, but tonight God is in the house. Fats Waller (born Thomas Wright Waller on May 21, 1904 &mdash December 15, 1943) was an American jazz pianist The piano is a Musical instrument played by means of a keyboard that produces sound by striking steel strings with Felt covered hammers God is the principal or sole Deity in Religions and other belief systems that worship one deity. " Fats Waller's son confirmed the statement. However, bassist Charles Mingus disputed the story in his autobiography, saying that the actual line was "Oh, God! Tatum is in the house. Charles Mingus ( 22 April 1922 &ndash 5 January 1979) was an American Jazz Bassist, Composer, "
Charlie Parker (who helped develop bebop) was highly influenced by Tatum. Bebop or bop is a form of Jazz characterized by fast Tempos and Improvisation based on Harmonic structure rather than Melody When newly arrived in New York, Parker briefly worked as a dishwasher in a Manhattan restaurant where Tatum happened to be performing, and often listened to the legendary pianist. Parker once said “I wish I could play like Tatum’s right hand!” Dave Brubeck observed, "I don't think there's any more chance of another Tatum turning up than another Mozart. David Warren Brubeck (born December 6, 1920 in Concord California) better known as Dave Brubeck, is an American jazz pianist "
When Oscar Peterson was still a young boy, his father played him a recording of Art Tatum performing "Tiger Rag". Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, OOnt ( 15 August 1925 – 23 December 2007) was a Canadian Once he was finally persuaded that it was performed by a single person, Peterson was so intimidated that he did not touch the piano for weeks.  Interviewing Oscar Peterson in 1962, Les Tompkins asked "Is there one musician you regard as the greatest?" Peterson replied "I’m an Art Tatum–ite. If you speak of pianists, the most complete pianist that we have known and possibly will know, from what I’ve heard to date, is Art Tatum. " "Musically speaking, he was and is my musical God, and I feel honored to remain one of his humbly devoted disciples. "
"Here's something new" pianist Hank Jones remembers thinking when he first heard Art Tatum on radio in 1935, "they have devised this trick to make people believe that one man is playing the piano, when I know at least three people are playing. "
The jazz pianist and educator Kenny Barron commented that "I have every record [Tatum] ever made — and I try never to listen to them … If I did, I'd throw up my hands and give up!" Jean Cocteau dubbed Tatum "a crazed Chopin. Kenny Barron (born June 9, 1943 in Philadelphia) is a United States jazz pianist. Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (5 July 1889 &ndash 11 October 1963 was a French Poet, Novelist, Dramatist, Designer, Boxing " Count Basie called him the eighth wonder of the world. William "Count" Basie ( August 21, 1904 &ndash April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, Organist
Dizzy Gillespie said "First you speak of Art Tatum, then take a long deep breath, and you speak of the other pianists. "
The elegant pianist Teddy Wilson observed, "Maybe this will explain Art Tatum. If you put a piano in a room, just a bare piano. Then you get all the finest jazz pianists in the world and let them play in the presence of Art Tatum. Then let Art Tatum play . . . everyone there will sound like an amateur. "
Other luminaries of the day including Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubenstein and George Gershwin marveled at Tatum's genius. Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz (ולדימיר הורוביץ Владимир Самойлович Горовиц Vladimir Samojlovič Gorovits; Володимир Самійлович Arthur Rubinstein KBE ( January 28 1887 &ndash December 20 1982) was a Polish - American pianist who is widely George Gershwin (September 26 1898 &ndash July 11 1937 was an American Composer. 
Jazz critic Leonard Feather has called Tatum "the greatest soloist in jazz history, regardless of instrument. "
In 1993, an MIT student invented a term that is now in common usage in the field of computational musicology: The Tatum. The Tatum grid is the "lowest regular pulse train that a listener intuitively infers from the timing of perceived musical events" It means "the smallest perceptual time unit in music. "