Art Tatum (performance recreated by Zenph Studios): I Know That You Know


I Know That You Know


Art Tatum (piano)


Piano Starts Here: Live at the Shrine (Sony Classical)

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Art Tatum (piano),

Performance recreates Tatum’s live recording made on April 2, 1949 in this same location with Zenph Studio’s “re-performance” technology


Composed by Otto Harbach, Anne Caldwell O’Dea and Vincent Youmans


Recorded: Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, September 23, 2007


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Fats Waller once famously introduced Art Tatum with these oft-quoted words: "I just play the piano, but God is in the house tonight." Well, this performance concocted by the tech wizards at Zenph Studios must qualify as the artificial intelligence equivalent of God. Richard Dawkins will be happy about that, but jazz fans have even more reason to celebrate. This recording takes Tatum's brilliant 1949 concert at Shrine Auditorium, with its murky sound quality, and recreates it with Zenph's proprietary and controversial technology in a crystal-clear modern digital version.

Purists have carped about this (don't they always?), but I find it hard to understand how any jazz lover can listen to this music and not be exhilarated. I have cherished the original Tatum performance since my high school years, but now I can hear nuances and aspects of this familiar track that were lost until now. "I Know That You Know" is impressive even by Tatum's high standards. This must be one of the fastest solo piano outings in the history of jazz, and there are points where the pulse reaches a defibrillator-charged 400 beats per minute. Even the uninitiated will be awestruck by the dexterity required, but I am just as impressed by the harmonic movement in the half-time section, and the odd displacement of the left-hand accents in the opening melody statement. This is Tatum the trickster at his trickiest, and anyone who is blasé about Zenph's miracle-making or the music presented here gets sent off for six months hard labor at Czerny and Hanon before they are allowed a second listen.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


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