Art Tatum: Willow Weep for Me (live 1949)


Willow Weep for Me (live 1949)


Art Tatum (piano)


Piano Starts Here (Columbia 501655)

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Art Tatum (piano).

Composed by Ann Ronell


Recorded: Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, April 2, 1949


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

        Erroll Garner and Art Tatum at Birdland, 1952
                        Photo by Marcel Fleiss

Tatum's April 2, 1949 live recording at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles is a must-have CD for fans of jazz piano. He plays at top form, and seems invigorated by the move from smoky jazz clubs to the concert hall setting. "Willow Weep for Me" was one of his favorite songs -- at least a half-dozen recordings of Tatum playing it survive from the late 1940s and 1950s -- but he never delivered a better version than in this setting. Every last detail is perfect, from the rich harmonies of his classic intro, through the racecourse stride, all the way to the dramatic conclusion. Tatum owns this song, and any pianist who wants to tackle a solo version must operate in the expansive willow tree shadow of this memorable performance.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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