Art Tatum: “Have You Met Miss Jones?”

As the story goes, Vladimir Horowitz was once asked to name the greatest living pianist. “Art Tatum,” replied the Russian-American virtuoso without hesitation, adding, “If Art Tatum took up classical music seriously, I’d quit my job the next day.” The sentiment was echoed by Arthur Rubinstein, Arturo Toscanini, Sergei Rachmaninov, and others who flocked to Harlem clubs throughout the 1940s to experience Tatum’s unique artistry. According to one account, Horowitz worked on an …

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Gershwin’s “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” Art Tatum in 1949

Holding hands at midnight ‘Neath a starry sky Nice work if you can get it And you can get it if you try Ira Gershwin’s famous lyric is not about work in the occupational sense. The song’s verse rejects “the man who only lives for making money” and who “works for fame.” Instead, it is the more spiritually informed work of building a loving relationship. The song’s narrator seems to have all of …

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