Synopsis by Nathan Southern
As the most brilliant jazz pianist who ever lived, hands-down (by any standard), Art Tatum (1909-1956) lifted the genre to a new plateau - playing at speeds literally undreamt 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. The program relays the high points of the pianist's life and times, discusses his litany of musical accomplishments and his reinvention of jazz as a form, and draws on interviews with giants including Marian McPartland, Les Paul and Dick Hyman.
career, jazz, pianist