Consumer Guide Album
Art Tatum: The Best of the Pablo Group Masterpieces [Pablo, 2003]
Digitally spectacular and harmonically futuristic, solo Tatum is also florid and self-involved. But with Ben Webster, Roy Eldridge, Benny Carter, Buddy DeFranco, etc. playing one thoughtful note to a handful of his brilliant ones, the aptness, ambition, and jaw-dropping entertainment value of his silvery showers shine through. The young Tatum was so enamored of his own technique that he suffered sidemen begrudgingly, and all these standards were recorded, mostly in quartet or trio formats, over the three years before he died at 47. You'd never guess he'd slowed down by then if the booklet didn't swear it was true.