Art Tatum, the king of piano in jazz

November 05, 2021 at 09:26 hrs.


The fact that he was almost blind did not stop Art Tatum from becoming one of the best pianists jazz in the world.

Famous for its virtuosity e shocking improvisations, Arthur Tatum Jr., better known as Art Tatum, revolutionized the 20s and 30s with his spectacular piano playing technique.

He was born in 1909 in Ohio, United States, into a family of amateur musicians, so all his life he was surrounded by melodies.

Despite that he was completely blind in one eye and had very little vision in the other oneTatum learned to play the piano, violin, accordion, and guitar by reading the braille sheet music.



Due to the talent he had, which was undeniable to whoever listened to him, Art Tatum decided to start playing in clubs at 18 to try his luck. 

Just two years later, he became a successful professional musician and was hired by the local radio station, WSPD, to do a daily 15-minute show that became an event. Thanks to this, Tatum was summoned to participate in the Speed ​​Webb orchestra.

In 1932 he moved to New York to accompany the cabaret star Adelaide Hall, but a few months later he was presented with the opportunity to work alone, in which he would act until the day of his death.


Showing off a peculiar piano style, he began recording for Decca in 1933. The albums Tiger rag e Indiana in their early days they were a success. A little later he crossed the Atlantic to perform in Europe, where he managed to build a well-deserved reputation on an international scale.

His renowned recordings lasted from 1932 to 1950, the last year being the most prolific in his musical history. 

Due to uremia, at just 47 years old, Art Tatum passed away on November 5, 1956 in Los Angeles. More than three decades later, in 1989, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Award for his impressive artistic career.

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