Reference Entry

Tatum, Art(hur)

Felicity Howlett and J. Bradford Robinson

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 |
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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(b Toledo, OH, Oct 13, 1909; d Los Angeles, Nov 5, 1956). American jazz pianist .

Despite seriously impaired vision (he was blind in one eye and had only partial sight in the other), he received some formal piano training as a teenager at the Toledo School of Music, and learnt to read sheet music with the aid of glasses as well as by the Braille method. Otherwise he was self-taught, learning from piano rolls, phonograph recordings, radio broadcasts and various musicians whom he encountered as a young man in the area around Toledo and Cleveland. Tatum acknowledged Fats Waller as his primary inspiration, with the popular radio pianist Lee Sims, whose interpretations contained many interesting harmonies, as an important secondary influence. He was playing professionally in Toledo by 1926, and performed on radio in 1929–30. In 1932 he travelled to New York as the accompanist for Adelaide Hall. There, in ...

Reference Entry.  1126 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Popular Music ; Contemporary Music

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