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Art Tatum: Piano Starts Here

Art Tatum: Piano Starts Here (Columbia, 1968) [recorded in 1933 and 1949]

The title’s wrong: Piano starts with James P. Johnson’s “Carolina Shout.” But piano may end here. Tatum’s virtuosity—here captured in his very first recordings and in a 1949 solo concert—has never been equaled. Moreover, in the 16 years between the album’s two parts, Tatum doesn’t lose a step: the hands playing “How High the Moon” at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium have all the power and confidence of the ones that pounded out that impossible rendition of “Tiger Rag” in ’33. MICHAEL J. WEST

Learn more about Piano Starts Here on Amazon.