The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume Eight

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The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume Eight
Tatum Group Masterpieces Vol. 8.jpg
Studio album by Art Tatum
Released 1975
Recorded September 11, 1956 (1956-September-11)
Genre Jazz
Label Pablo
Producer Norman Granz, Akira Taguchi
Art Tatum chronology
The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume Seven
The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume Eight
On the Air

The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume Eight is a 1975 jazz album featuring a 1956 session between pianist Art Tatum and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, with Red Callender on double bass and Bill Douglass on drums. The session was originally released on a Verve Records album produced by Norman Granz in 1958, but Granz re-acquired the masters in the 1970s after the album was allowed to go out of print. He reissued the material as one of a series of eight Group Masterpieces featuring Tatum in collaboration with other artists, also issuing it as part of a boxed set, The Complete Pablo Group Masterpieces. The album has subsequently been reissued on CD, including a January 31, 1992 version with bonus tracks.

The album was critically well-received, with critics singling out the mesh of Webster's tone with Tatum's elaborate piano. The album is listed in several volumes as among the best in jazz and is recommended by the Music Library Association as an important piece for music libraries.


Top-billed performers Tatum and Webster were well-established figures in their 40s when they came together on September 11, 1956 for this production.[1] According to Ben Ratliff in Jazz: A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings, Tatum was known for virtuoso solo performance, while Webster had mellowed from his days with Duke Ellington.[2] Notwithstanding the differences between the players, they meshed, a success in collaboration liner-note author Benny Green attributed to Webster's tone and professionalism.[3] Critic Scott Yanow agrees that "the combination works very well" and also praises Webster for "wisely" emphasizing "the beauty of his tone."[4][5] This was among the last recordings of Tatum, who died on November 5 of that year.[5] The session was originally released in 1958 on an LP produced by Norman Granz for Verve Records under the title Art Tatum - Ben Webster Quartet.

By 1971, Granz had already attempted to gain access to this and his other out-of-print collaborations with Art Tatum from Verve, even offering to buy the masters.[6] He acquired the rights after the 1973 formation of his own label, Pablo Records, and reissued those albums in 1975 under the series titles The Tatum Group Masterpieces and The Tatum Solo Masterpieces as individual albums and also as two boxed sets.[6] One track from the session, "All the Things You Are", was later included in the 12-track CD The Best of the Pablo Group Masterpieces.[7]

The album was reissued on January 31, 1992 with bonus tracks.

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[8]

The album was critically well received. In a 1994 review, The Hartford Courant described it as "delectable", with "Webster's big, breathy tone" wrapping "Tatum's arabesques in a warm, loving embrace."[9] The Washington Post characterized it as "[a] great way to introduce two of the greats."[10] The album is included in several books on the top albums in jazz, including Jazz: A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings, where it is listed at No. 42,[11] and in The 101 Best Jazz Albums, where author Leonard Lyons describes volume 8 as "most exciting" among the Group Masterpieces collection.[12] Along with volumes one and seven of the Group Masterpieces, it is recommended for inclusion in medium-sized or larger public libraries and all academic libraries by the Music Library Association in A Basic Music Library: Essential Scores and Sound Recordings.[13]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Gone With the Wind" (Herb Magidson, Allie Wrubel) – 4:48
  2. "All the Things You Are" (Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern) – 7:15
  3. "Have You Met Miss Jones?" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers) – 4:49
  4. "My One and Only Love" (Robert Mellin, Guy Wood) – 6:15
  5. "Night and Day" (Cole Porter) – 5:31
  6. "My Ideal" (Newell Chase, Leo Robin, Richard Whiting) – 7:18
  7. "Where or When" (Hart, Rodgers) – 6:28

Bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Gone With the Wind" (alternative take 1) (Magidson, Wrubel) – 4:53
  2. "Gone With the Wind" (alternative take 2) (Magidson, Wrubel) – 4:51
  3. "Have You Met Miss Jones?" (alternative take) (Hart, Rodgers) – 5:02





  1. ^ Ratliff, 110.
  2. ^ Ratliff, 110-11.
  3. ^ Ratliff, 111.
  4. ^ The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume Eight at AllMusic
  5. ^ a b Yanow, Scott (2003). Jazz on Record: The First Sixty Years. Backbeat Books. p. 420. ISBN 0-87930-755-2. 
  6. ^ a b Palmer, Richard (2004). Sonny Rollins: The Cutting Edge. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 142. ISBN 0-8264-6916-7. 
  7. ^ The Best of the Pablo Group Masterpieces at AllMusic
  8. ^ Allmusic review
  9. ^ McNally, Owen (1994-06-12). "The genius of Art Tatum". Hartford Courant. p. G.1. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  10. ^ Staff (2002-12-22). "Ella and Company, overlooked no more". The Washington Post. p. G.04. 
  11. ^ Ratliff, 110-112
  12. ^ Lyons, Leonard (1980). The 101 Best Jazz Albums: A History of Jazz on Records. University of Michigan. W. Morrow. p. 140. ISBN 0-688-03720-8. 
  13. ^ Davis, Elizabeth A.; Music Library Association (1997). A Basic Music Library: Essential Scores and Sound Recordings. ALA Editions. p. 355. ISBN 0-8389-3461-7. 


External links[edit]