Documentary: Art Tatum

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Art Tatum changed pop and rock 'n' roll. As Les Paul tells it, he was originally a pianist with a trio and determined to be exceptional. Until his friend played him a record by Art Tatum. Paul says he stopped playing piano and switched to guitar. Had Paul not heard Tatum and had he gone on to lead a piano trio, we likely wouldn't have had overdubbing, tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording not to mention the solid body electric guitar. And then there are all those rock musicians who favored a Gibson Les Paul guitar, which began production in 1952. Chuck Berry was still living in St. Louis.

So there's no better way to start the week than with a superb documentary on pianist Art Tatum, the only documentary ever done on the jazz pianist. Directed by Howard Johnson, the documentary was released in 2008 and can be purchased here.

Here's Art Tatum: The Art Of Jazz Piano...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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