Art Tatum – Piano Starts Here

Art Tatum
Piano Starts Here
Zenphe – 2008
Sounds of Timeless Jazz

Although Art Tatum stands out as a much-lauded master of Harlem stride piano and boogie Woogie, he remains a complex and controversial figure because many jazz historians could not fit him neatly into their evolutionary stylistic niches. His playing has been analyzed as having  “bravura Lisztian” aspects because of his penchant for classical music, but his well-known virtuosic concepts for jazz piano have served as the foundation for the beginning of the Harlem stride tradition.

On ART TATUM, PIANO STARTS HERE LIVE AT THE SHRINE, Zenph Studios has taken Tatum’s original audio recordings of 1933 and 1949 and turned them back into live performances; precisely replicating what was originally recorded! These software-based processes extract every musical nuance of his recorded performance and store the data into a digital file. The re-performance are played back on a real acoustic piano fitted with a sophisticated computer and hardware, letting the listener “sit-in-the-room” as if he or she were actually present at the original recording session. These re-performances are then recorded again using modern technology and top-of-the-line microphones and sound systems. This new recording took place with and without audiences on September 23, 2007.

Tatum’s world-renowned finger dexterity is captured in its full ‘cutting contest’ format on such great standards as “Tea For Two,” “St. Louis Blues,” “Tiger Rag,” and several others. “Tea For Two” is full of dense harmonies and sweeping runs and arpeggios that will leave you speechless. “Tiger Rag” is played at breakneck speed while his astonishing double-time work on “I Know That You Know” (at a tempo of well over 400 beats per minute!) and the sly dissonances of “The Kerry Dance” hint at the broad range of his imagination. These noteworthy performances should be in your record collection and are a must for every jazz historian.