Art Tatum: Sweet Lorraine
The Esquire All Stars (featuring Art Tatum)
Esquire All Stars: At the Met, Volume 2 (Arpeggio Jazz)
Cliff Burwell and Mitchell Parish.
Recorded: Metropolitan Opera House, New York, January 18, 1944
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
The setting for this concert was the Metropolitan Opera House, and many of the greatest jazz artists of the era (or any era, for that matter) were part of the band. But Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and other members of the all-star unit sit out this number, letting Tatum take center stage on a trio performance. In truth, you can't hear drummer Catlett during the first half of the track, and bassist Pettiford seems a bit unnerved by Tatum's well-known tendency to act as though he is performing solo even when he is in a trio setting. Tatum, for his part, is more flash than substance on this tune, and we don't get to hear the clever harmonic substitutions that he usually applies to every progression in his path. Nonetheless, the pianist has some fine moments, especially with one of his runs-to-end-all-runs at the 2-minute mark.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia