By James Lester
Paintings Tatum outlined the bounds of the prospective in jazz piano. Gunther Schuller referred to as Tatum's enjoying "a wonder of perfection.... His deep-in-the-keys complete piano sonority, the tone and contact keep watch over in pyrotechnical passages...are miracles of performance." Whitney Balliett wrote "no pianist has ever hit notes extra fantastically. each one one--no topic how briskly the tempo--was mild and entire and resonant, just like the letters on a finely published page." His well-known runs were in comparison to the arc left opposed to the evening sky via a Fourth-of-July sparkler. And to have heard him play, one musician acknowledged, "was as awe-inspiring as to have obvious the Grand Canyon or Halley's Comet." Now, in Too exceptional For phrases, James Lester offers the 1st full-length biography of the best virtuoso performer within the historical past of jazz. prior to this quantity, little used to be identified approximately Tatum, even between jazz afficionados. What have been his origins, who taught him and who supplied early pianistic affects, how did he holiday into the jazz box, what position did he play within the improvement of alternative jazz avid gamers, and what used to be he like while he wasn't taking part in? to reply to those questions, Lester has carried out nearly 100 interviews for this publication, with surviving relatives, early life neighbors, schoolteachers, and the well-known jazz musicians who performed with him or knew him. Lester creates a memorable portrait of this designated musician and of the colourful jazz international of the Thirties and Forties, shooting the complexity and energy of this awesome performer. Tatum, who was once almost blind, pain among 70% and ninety% visible impairment, emerges as pleased, fun-loving, full of life and out-going, without any of the demonic self-destructiveness that looked as if it would hang-out such jazz greats as Charlie Parker or Billie vacation. He usually joked approximately his blindness, yet didn't love it pointed out as a handicap and hottest to pre-plan his front to the piano in a membership, instead of have somebody lead him there. He was once easily inexhaustible and had a life-long behavior of staying up all evening after a gig, often looking an after-hours membership within which to pay attention and play until eventually first light. Lester additionally unearths that Tatum was once beneficiant with more youthful gamers, yet his amazing technical brilliance usually devastated them. No much less a expertise than Oscar Peterson recalls that when first listening to Tatum, "I gave up the piano for 2 strong months, and that i had crying matches at night." And Les Paul remarked that once listening to Tatum for the 1st time, he surrender piano thoroughly and commenced taking part in guitar. might be most crucial, Lester presents an intensive, an expert dialogue of Tatum's song, from his early affects, resembling stride pianist fat Waller, to his mature variety within which Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Waller, and Earl Hines all turned grist for his harmonic mill. From unexceptional origins in Toledo, Ohio, artwork Tatum advanced right into a world-class musician whose significance in jazz is analogous to Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker and whose command of the piano captured the admiration of Horowitz and Paderewski. Too extraordinary For phrases is the 1st complete portrait of this amazing musical genius.
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Additional resources for Too Marvelous for Words: The Life and Genius of Art Tatum
38 1 Too Marvelous for Words The case of Rubinstein, and that of Blind Tom, convinced me that with enough raw talent it can be done. Rubinstein's achievements are well known. 5 He was born in America, blind, the twenty-first child of a slave, in 1849, at the height of the European "virtuoso frenzy," and he was "thrown into the bargain" when his mother was sold to a certain Colonel Bethune. " He imitated vocally the cries of animals, the sounds of clocks or even storms, almost anything he heard.
There is almost nothing to give us a clue as to Art's relationship with his father, except for a few of Arline's remarks—for example: "Don't let a football game get on the radio or the TV Art bought us when they first came out, and they'd sit in the front room yellin' and carryin' on . " (Balliett, American Musicians). Mr. , loved sports, as Art, Jr. did for his whole life, and Art loved to share sports events with his father. " In spite of Arline's remarks about the "presence" of her father, in the view of a neighbor, Ernestine Allen, "You didn't see too much of his father.
Bennett must have had too little experience with piano players, small or large, to let her grasp what a phenomenon was unfolding in her neighborhood. Early Musical Development • }$ There is more evidence about the age at which Art started playing in the remark of Russell McCown, a childhood friend who was seven years older than Art: "My earliest recollection of Art Tatum, my folks returned from a concert at the church one night, they were talking about this little five-year-old blind boy playing the piano.
Too Marvelous for Words: The Life and Genius of Art Tatum by James Lester