Art Tatum & Defranco, Buddy: Art Tatum-Buddy de Franco Quartet (Vinyl LP)
Jazz Wax Records
EU-only 180gm vinyl LP pressing including bonus track and digital download. During various marathon recording sessions in 1953-56, Norman Granz taped Art Tatum playing both alone and coupled with various other stars he had under contract. A heavy drinker, Tatum was seriously ill by that time and he would die on November 5, 1956 at the age of 47. Although the pianist had cut plenty of solo recordings in the early stages of his career, by the time Granz got to him he was mainly playing in a trio format with guitar (his longest lasting partners were Tiny Grimes and Everett Barksdale) and bass (Slam Stewart during most of the Forties, Bill Pemberton in the final years). The collaborations with the aforementioned all stars undertaken by Granz produced some of the most beautiful music in Tatum's discography - the Tatum-DeFranco album reissued here is one of the finest examples (no other conjunct work between the two musicians exists). During the sessions many musicians were just as amazed at the amount of beer Tatum drank as they were at Tatum's staggering musical virtuosity. Although his excessive drinking didn't affect his playing, it did unfortunately affect his health. By 1952, Tatum began showing evidence of uremia, a toxic blood condition resulting from a severe kidney disease. Granz's recordings of Tatum are, therefore, a testament of one of the most outstanding artists jazz ever produced.