Sunday, December 6, 2009

Art Tatum / Ben Webster - "The Album" CD

Originally recorded in 1956, and with some added Tatum solo cuts from 1953, this selection of smooth piano-led jazz was the culmination of years of experience from the masterful Tatum/Webster Quartet (though it isn't billed as such, oddly). Tatum's smooth (and seemingly omni-dexterous) piano pyrotechnics still wow critics and fans today, while Webster's husky tenor sax adds a late-night vibe to the sound, which ranges from the laid-back, melodic "Gone With The Wind" to the wild rollercoaster of "Have You Met Miss Jones?", where Tatum takes the lead and shows why he's considered one of the finest pianists, period. "My One And Only Love" is sweet and gently seductive, as the title suggests. Without accompaniment, Tatum's fantastic solo version of "Have You Met Miss Jones?" (featured later in the disc), is so kinetic and sprightly, I easily forgot this was just one man with two hands playing. Tatum's superhuman energy and evolved melodic sense is the focus here, and this release is a superlative document of his immortal style and grace. (Essential Jazz Classics)

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