|This compendium of interviews, audio and VIDEO is Wonderful! The segments with Dick Hyman are every bit as instructive as the Tatum footage itself. Art's brother speaks about the pianist's early life, and the life of a blind, traveling musician of color in the 50's.
BUT, the REAL treasure here is some footage of Tatum that I did not know existed, much less had ever seen. The Tatum Trio footage that is included here was, to my previous knowledge, the only Tatum extant on film. Yet, here we have B & W television footage, from what could be the original Tonight Show, hosted by Steve Allen, or Nat Cole's variety show. The stageset is generic 50's show-biz, so I cannot tell. Tatum is shown in WONDERFUL detail playing Yesterdays by Jerome Kern.The performance is COMPLETE, not a fragment! Several of his signature devices are on display for all to SEE as well as to hear!
Hank Jones tells some stories, and plays a bit. Milt Hinton and Les Paul relate how Tatum changed their lives as musicians. The production is merely presentable, as it must have been a locally produced documentary. But, its value to the jazz archive is unique, in the same way that Tatum was unique, superlative, timeless and "beyond category" as Ellington used to say.