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Tatum, Artlocked

(13 October 1909–05 November 1956)
  • Eddie S. Meadows

Extract

Tatum, Art (13 October 1909–05 November 1956), jazz pianist, was born in Toledo, Ohio, the son of a mechanic. The names of his parents are unknown. Tatum was born with cataracts in both eyes. Several operations partially restored vision in one eye. Not considering himself blind, Tatum identified colors and played cards. Knowledge of Tatum’s early musical life is sketchy. It is believed that he taught himself the hymns that his mother sang. In his teenage years he entered the Toledo School of Music and, with the help of glasses and the Braille method, learned to read music. On his own, Tatum studied piano rolls, phonograph recordings, radio broadcasts, and the work of various musicians. Tatum later acknowledged ...

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