Sunday, April 23, 2006
"God is in the house..."
It is anecdotally recorded that one night, at the Cotton Club in Harlem, Fats Waller was in the middle of a set where he was just plain 'on it'. He was cooking. Suddenly, after he looks out into the audience, he stops playing, in the middle of a number. Just stops. He then stands up and steps away from the piano, picks up the microphone, and says "Ladies and gentlemen, God is in the house tonight..." as he points and bows to Art Tatum, who had just come into the club.
Art Tatum. One of the BEST improvisational piano players EVER. Few could hold a candle to him. He could take a simple tune and expand upon it until it became a symphony. He was extremely gifted, yet a very shy man off the stage. He would let his fingers on the 88 keys do all the talking he ever needed to do.
Art Tatum. What else can I say?
I have an incomplete set on ARA records of Art in a solo setting. I'm missing one of the discs, but I'll gladly post the contents of the other three.
"Memories Of You"
These six tunes show just how easily Art could jump from one mode into another, stride one minute, and almost free-improv the next. These were all recorded in one session, as the matrix numbers are pretty much sequential... just imagine Art ambling into the studio, sitting at the piano, and all the recording engineer had to do was to start the lathe and nod to the Man. Then Magic occurred. Can't be more elequent than that, I guess. Or, maybe, further elequence would be wasted... listen and be transported into Art's World. It's well worth the trip.
I am sorry to say that "Hallelujah" was pressed off-center, that's why it sounds off-key. ARA was never very good with their quality control, but at least the shellac quality on these was well above their average.
If anyone has the fourth disc to this set, please leave me a note in the comments, if nothing more than to get mp3 files to complete this set digitally. Thank you.
I'm saving the Tatum sides for later. He makes me way too nervous...
What's the value of this set?? I have all the records plus the case/cover, which is ART TATUM 'PIANO IMPRESSIONS' [color cover] ARA records R-4500.
Anyone interested in purchasing this???
Thanks for sharing.