Art Tatum: Someone to Watch Over Me


Someone to Watch Over Me


Art Tatum (piano)


The Complete Capitol Recordings of Art Tatum (Capitol 7243 8 21325 2 3)

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Art Tatum (piano).

Composed by George & Ira Gershwin .


Recorded: Los Angeles, July 13 & 25, 1949


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

It's hard for me to pick between this studio version of the Gershwin standard and the live recording Tatum made of the same song a few weeks earlier at the Shrine Auditorium. The bottom line: both are dramatic, pull-out-all-the-stops performances. Just shy of his 40th birthday, this pianist was playing as well as at any stage in his career. His speed and clarity are the benchmarks by which future jazz keyboard virtuosos will be measured. The opening rubato intro is so crammed full of pyrotechnics that you can hardly imagine what Tatum will do to top it. But at the 1-minute mark he settles into a medium tempo Harlem stride that looks back to his own musical roots and shows that, in the Age of Bop, you could still top the youngsters with some old-school pianism. No wonder that the composer of this song, George Gershwin himself, counted himself among Tatum's admirers.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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