. And yet his solo work never felt right to me. Something always seemed missing. In the end, it's a matter of taste.
Recently I picked up a discarded CD from my public library for the rock-bottom price of $1. It's Art Tatum's "Trio Days." It's a no-name compilation of Tatum's piano-guitar-bass trio from 1942-44.
This I like. And now I know why.
From the very first song, I thought, "Oh my God! He's taking Fats Waller's stride and taking it one step further." I love that. Then I realized something else. The trio sounds exactly like Nat "King" Cole
. But they sound absolutely identical, in a very good way.
At first, I thought Tatum's trio was the missing link between Waller and Cole. I figured Cole was copying the master. Turns out it's the other way around. After reading the liner notes, I now know it was Cole who set the mark with his popular jazz trio and Tatum who came a couple years later with a very similar trio. Not that it's an exact copy. Clearly Tatum is the superior pianist. And his bassist sometimes bows his instrument. And Tatum never sings. Otherwise, their trios are remarkably similar.
Anyway, if the only thing you know about Art Tatum are his acclaimed solo works, you need to find his trio works, too. For me, it was an eye-opener.
Track Listing: I Got Rhythm; Cocktails For Two; I Ain't Got Nobody; After You've Gone;
Moonglow; Deep Purple; (I Would Do) Anything For You; Liza (All the
Clouds'll Roll Away); Tea for Two; Honeysuckle Rose; The Man I Love;
Dark Eyes; Body and Soul; I Know That You Know; On the Sunny Side of the
Street; Flying Home; Boogie; If I Had You; Topsy; Soft Winds
Personnel: Art Tatum, piano; Tiny Grimes, guitar; Slam Stewart: bass