Dec 022010

Art Tatum, Unchallenged Virtuoso of Jazz Piano

Art Tatum (1909 – 1956), partially blind from childhood, was active in recording from the 1930’s through the about 1956, when he passed. His virtuosity has been compared to Franz List and Paganinni. All the well known classical pianists of the times, such as Artur Rubenstein and Vladimir Horowitz, as well as Bernstein, Gershwin, and Godowsky  came out to hear him. Horowitz even did a transcription of Tea For Two. Continue reading »

Dec 022010

Dick Hyman, Educator and Master of All Jazz Styles

Dick Hyman (1927 – ) is at the top of the food chain for working New York Pianists. He has had a very long recording career, including TV and movies (You hear him playing piano or directing music in a lot of Woody Allen movies). He can play just about anything in any style, and has recorded tributes to a lot of the great pianists of the past, e.g., Art Tatum, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, and so on. He may be under-rated because he didn’t compose a lot, didn’t invent a new way of playing that was influential to other pianists, and was not an iconoclast like say, Miles Davis, or McCoy Tyner. Continue reading »