Saturday, April 3, 2010

for art tatum (1)

for art tatum
1909 - 1956
"i only play the piano, but tonight god is in the house."
fats waller, announcing art tatum

bird aspired to play yr right hand, but not even he

could run with u, catch up to u because u were

so ahead of yrself; more fly than he. oh how he

thanked his stars that u -- with yr perfect pitch & nimble

fingers effortlessly playing the impossible;

cataract blind in one eye, not seeing at all out
the other -- had chosen to play piano & not
the saxophone. that night in ’33 at new york’s

morgan’s bar when u cut up j.p. johnson, willie

“the lion” smith & fats waller with yr two-fingered

runs & self taught technique, reharmonized melodies
& strong, swinging pulse, u sent a message, a shot heard
round the fickle jazz world: there can only be just one!

©: Joseph McNair; 2010

1 comment:

  1. Art was an amazing piano player, I recognize his music through the previous music classes i've taken. How you explain that no one can catch up to Art was completely true, he was too advanced for everyone. His techniques used like boogie woogie and blues were a wonderful concept. It was ashamed that he passed through a failure in his kidneys, but at least he was able to live a good life with a great ear for music.