钢琴大魔神亚特‧泰坦（Art Tatum）绝对称得上是爵士史上最厉害的钢琴手；即使把他摆到包含古典乐的整个音乐界，愿意选他为「钢琴之王」的人士也肯定不在少数。著名的爵士钢琴家汉克‧琼斯（Hank Jones）童稚时期第一次听到泰坦的钢琴独奏作品时，完全不能相信耳里的音乐是由一个人一双手独自完成的；而那些曾临现场观其演出的幸运儿们也常常不相信亲眼所见，一个人怎可能演奏出这么多魔鬼般的摇摆音符！？靠著无懈可击的节奏处理技巧，泰坦可以轻易的靠双手演奏出如同三台钢琴Overdubbing 的效果，从散拍到摇摆，其钢琴键盘上的成就迄今无人能逼视。小号手晕眩‧吉列斯比（Dizzy Gillespie）一面听泰坦的唱片，一面练习跟上演奏速度；年轻时的菜鸟帕克（Charlie Parker）为了能每晚聆听泰坦演出，在哈林区某间夜总会里接下了洗盘子的苦差事；甚至连古典钢琴名家如霍洛维兹（Vladimir Horowitz）与鲁宾斯坦（Arthur Rubinstein）等都常亲临泰坦演出的夜总会现场观摩，汲取自己演奏时的灵感。
Art Tatum: The Art of Jazz Piano is still the only documentary portrait of the greatest jazz pianist ever. Using photographs and some rare footage of Tatum and his contemporaries, the film reconstructs his genius.
Included are interviews with musicians who played with him or who were influenced strongly by him, including Guitarists Tiny Grimes and Les Paul, and pianists Marian McPartland, Hank Jones, Dick Hyman, and George Shearing. Their reminiscences and demonstrations underline Tatum's stutus as the "musician's musician."
Art Tatum (1909-1956) lifted his genre to a new plateau - playing at speeds literally undreamed of, segueing effortlessly between swing, stride and boogie-woogie, and lapsing into the most fantastic melodic variations and inventions that anyone had heard up through that time.
For various reasons, biographical documentaries on Tatum have been surprisingly scant, but Art Tatum: The Art of Jazz Piano marks one of the few exceptions.
Bonus Materials include the following film clips: Tiny's Exercise, Yesterdays, Blue Monk, and Hothouse.
01. St Louis Blues
02. Tiger Rag
03. LaRocca & DeCosta
04. Ain't Misbehavin'
05. Sweet Lorraine
06. Strange As It Seems
08. Aunt Hagar's Blues
09. I Got Rhythm
11. Toledo Blues
12. My Ideal
This compendium of interviews, audio and VIDEO is Wonderful! The segments with Dick Hyman are every bit as instructive as the Tatum footage itself. Art's brother speaks about the pianist's early life, and the life of a blind, traveling musician of color in the 50's.
BUT, the REAL treasure here is some footage of Tatum that I did not know existed, much less had ever seen. The Tatum Trio footage that is included here was, to my previous knowledge, the only Tatum extant on film. Yet, here we have B & W television footage, from what could be the original Tonight Show, hosted by Steve Allen, or Nat Cole's variety show. The stageset is generic 50's show-biz, so I cannot tell. Tatum is shown in WONDERFUL detail playing Yesterdays by Jerome Kern.The performance is COMPLETE, not a fragment! Several of his signature devices are on display for all to SEE as well as to hear!
Hank Jones tells some stories, and plays a bit. Milt Hinton and Les Paul relate how Tatum changed their lives as musicians. The production is merely presentable, as it must have been a locally produced documentary. But, its value to the jazz archive is unique, in the same way that Tatum was unique, superlative, timeless and "beyond category" as Ellington used to say.