Art Tatum: Improvisations

Art Tatum: Improvisations

by Steven Mayer
     
 

Pianist Steven Mayer is either a very brave man or a very foolhardy man -- or both. Even superstar classical pianists like Vladimir Horowitz and Sergei Rachmaninoff were dumbstruck when they ventured into the depths of New York City to hear Art Tatum, the most astounding jazz pianist of the 20thSee more details below

Overview

Pianist Steven Mayer is either a very brave man or a very foolhardy man -- or both. Even superstar classical pianists like Vladimir Horowitz and Sergei Rachmaninoff were dumbstruck when they ventured into the depths of New York City to hear Art Tatum, the most astounding jazz pianist of the 20th century. Undaunted, Mayer -- who is one mean technician himself, with recordings of Liszt and the hugely difficult Ives "Concord Sonata" behind him -- went ahead and recorded 17 numbers that Tatum himself cut, in what Naxos purports to be "the exact way that Tatum made famous." Um...not quite, for this is not a virtual Tatum album, literally or even stylistically. There is no doubt that Mayer has lots of dexterity and a better feeling for a jazz pulse than most classical pianists. Understandably, Mayer doesn't even attempt to replicate every note of what Tatum actually played; rather, these are improvisations on improvisations, which is more truthful to the jazz tradition. Yet they do not even begin to approximate the daring of Tatum's harmonic thought; his unpredictable shifts in rhythm; his barely reined-in outbreaks of wild super-stride; his outrageously rapid runs, classical quotes, and shafts of naïve humor. Mayer's rhythm tends to be quite regular in comparison to Tatum's, more in a traditional stride manner. Mayer's touch is heavier, and he applies some of Tatum's trademark flourishes in a self-conscious way. That said, listeners who can put the Tatum originals out of their minds briefly can find much attractive piano playing to enjoy here, and a few tunes (like "Yesterdays" and "I Know That You Know") do come closer than others in evoking the Tatum style. Moreover, an hour of Mayer isn't nearly as fatiguing to the ear as an hour of Tatum can be if you are concentrating on every passage. But you won't get the electric charge that the originals, when heard one at a time, can provide.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/19/2004
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943913024
catalogNumber:
8559130
Rank:
170905

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Improvisation on Tea for Two, for piano (after Youmans & Caesar)  - Steven Mayer
  2. Improvisation on St. Louis Blues, for piano (after Handy)  - Steven Mayer
  3. Improvisation on Tiger Rag, for piano (after La Rocha, De Costa , Ragas  - Steven Mayer
  4. Improvisation on Aunt Hagar's Blues, for piano (after Handy & Brymn)  - Steven Mayer
  5. Improvisation on Humoresque, for piano (after Dvorak)  - Steven Mayer
  6. Improvisation on Sweet Lorraine, for piano (after Burwell & Parish)  - Steven Mayer
  7. Improvisation on Get Happy, for piano (after Arlen & Koehler)  - Steven Mayer
  8. Improvisation on The Jitterbug Waltz, for piano (after Waller)  - Steven Mayer
  9. Tatum Pole Boogie, for piano  - Steven Mayer
  10. Improvisation on Cherokee, for piano (after Noble & Davis Jr.)  - Steven Mayer
  11. Improvisation on Lover, Come Back to Me!, for piano (after Romberg & Ha  - Steven Mayer
  12. Elegie, improvisation after Massenet, for piano  - Steven Mayer
  13. Improvisation on Hallelujah, for piano (after Youmans, Robin & Grey)  - Steven Mayer
  14. Improvisation on Willow Weep For Me, for piano (after Ronell)  - Steven Mayer
  15. Improvisation on Emaline, for piano (after Parish & Perkins)  - Steven Mayer
  16. Improvisation on Yesterdays, for piano (after Harbach & Kern)  - Steven Mayer
  17. Improvisation on I Know that You Know, for piano (after Youmans, O'Dea  - Steven Mayer

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Steven Mayer   Primary Artist,Piano

Technical Credits

Antonin Dvorák   Composer
Jules Massenet   Composer
Sigmund Romberg   Composer
Art Tatum   Composer
Fats Waller   Composer
Ray Noble   Composer
W.C. Handy   Composer
Vincent Youmans   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Jerome Kern   Composer
Irving Caesar   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
Otto Harbach   Composer
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Leo Robin   Composer
Larry Shields   Composer
Steven Mayer   Liner Notes
Ann Ronell   Composer
Ted Koehler   Composer
Clifford R. Burwell   Composer
Clifford Grey   Composer
Frank Perkins   Composer
B.H. Edwards   Composer
Norbert Kraft   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Bonnie Silver   Producer,Audio Production
Francks Deceus   Cover Image

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