Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

22

Art Tatum: Trio Days

Marc Davis By

Sign in to view read count
Art Tatum: Trio Days I was wrong. I like Art Tatum. But in a slightly different way.

My introduction to Art Tatum, many years ago, was a series of solo piano albums. They left me cold.

No question, the man was gifted beyond belief. He could play faster, more accurately and with a greater sense of fun and originality than almost any pianist between Fats Waller and Thelonious Monk. 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's trio from the very same period, right down to the guitarist. In fact, I had to check the liner notes to make sure it wasn't the same guitarist. It's not. Cole played with Oscar Moore; Tatum played with Tiny Grimes. 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

Year Released: 1995 | Record Label: French Riviera | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read King Of Xhosa CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Blooming Tall Phlox CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Restless Idealism" CD/LP/Track Review Restless Idealism
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 26, 2016
Read "More Than Meets The Ear" CD/LP/Track Review More Than Meets The Ear
by Troy Collins
Published: February 25, 2016
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by John Sharpe
Published: June 22, 2016
Read "Mettã" CD/LP/Track Review Mettã
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 26, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by John Sharpe
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Mo' Puddin'" CD/LP/Track Review Mo' Puddin'
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!