ABOUT THIS BOOK
DID YOU KNOW?
• Art Tatum is among the few giants in the world of jazz whose talents
will probably never be surpassed. In his esteemed company are
Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich, Charlie Parker,
and Duke Ellington.
• Art was born with severely limited vision, which worsened as he
grew older. He had numerous operations to improve his sight, but
none of them were very successful. He relied on his other senses in
his career and his life.
• When Art entered a club or a bar, it wasn’t uncommon for someone
to say, “God is in the room.” Other pianists were often too intimidated
to play in his presence.
DISCUSSION AND WRITING
• “Because of my bad eyes, day and night, dark and light, don’t really
matter to me. Not the way sounds and smells do—piano notes,
streetcar bells, corn bread baking in the oven.” Imagine how you
would experience the world if you weren’t able to see. What sounds
and smells would be the most significant for you?
• Art Tatum’s music takes him all over the country, but no matter
where he is, he thinks of his home in Toledo and his family.
Where do you hope to travel in the future? What will you miss
from back home?
• Look for Art’s music in the library or on the Internet. Listen to it
with a friend and see if you agree with his distinction as one of the
true jazz greats. Download a PDF of the Teacher's Guide