Things are sort of dull around the Music Monday composing room, so for the next few weeks the cracked editorial staff has decided on a new feature for the day:
The artwork of David Stone Martin on record covers.
One exciting work of art (called Illustration by some) will be presented here each week until they run out. Most scans are from the editor's personal library and the original copyrights apply.
They are presented here for admiration and educational purposes only.
The second two are not signed but are generally attributed to David Stone Martin.
October 13 in 1909 Art Tatum was born. Next Thursday is his birthday. Did you send a card? You didn't send one to Buddy Rich either. I am beginning to suspect.
David Stone Martin apparently did art work for several Art Tatum Albums. Pictured are four. The artwork was often repeated on reissues using different layouts and backgrounds.
Arthur "Art" Tatum, Jr. (October 13, 1909 – November 5, 1956) was an American jazz pianist and virtuoso. He was noted for his extremely fast runs despite being nearly blind.
Tatum is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. Critic Scott Yanow wrote, "Tatum's quick reflexes and boundless imagination kept his improvisations filled with fresh (and sometimes futuristic) ideas that put him way ahead of his contemporaries ...
Art Tatum's recordings still have the ability to scare modern pianists."
In 1925, Tatum moved to the Columbus School for the Blind, where he studied music and learned braille. Subsequently he studied piano with Overton G. Rainey at either the Jefferson School or the Toledo School of Music. Rainey, who too was visually impaired, likely taught Tatum in the classical tradition, as Rainey did not improvise and discouraged his students from playing jazz. In 1927, Tatum began playing on Toledo radio station WSPD as 'Arthur Tatum, Toledo's Blind Pianist', during interludes in Ellen Kay's shopping chat program and soon had his own program.
By the age of 19, Tatum was playing with singer Jon Hendricks, also an Ohioan, at the local Waiters' and Bellmens' Club.
As word of Tatum spread, national performers, including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Joe Turner and Fletcher Henderson, passing through Toledo would make it a point to drop in to hear the piano phenomenon.
Tatum tended to work and to record unaccompanied, partly because relatively few musicians could keep pace with his fast tempos and advanced harmonic vocabulary. Other musicians expressed amazed bewilderment at performing with Tatum. Drummer Jo Jones, who recorded a 1956 trio session with Tatum and bassist Red Callender is quoted as quipping, "I didn't even play on that session [...] all I did was listen. I mean, what could I add? [...] I felt like setting my damn drums on fire."
Buddy DeFranco said that playing with Tatum was "like chasing a train.
Tatum said of himself: "A band hampers me."
Tatum did not readily adapt or defer to other musicians in ensemble settings. Early in his career he was required to restrain himself when he worked as accompanist for vocalist Adelaide Hall in 1932-33. Perhaps because Tatum believed there was a limited audience for solo piano, he formed a trio in 1943 with guitarist Tiny Grimes and bassist Slam Stewart, whose perfect pitch enabled him to follow Tatum's excursions. He later recorded with other musicians, including a notable session with the 1944 Esquire Jazz All-Stars, which included Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and other jazz greats, at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. He also recorded memorable group sessions for Norman Granz in the mid-1950s.