Great Black Men on Piano

I’ve never written about music on this site. Today I’d like to share some of my favorite jazz pianists.

1) Art Tatum

From Wikipedia:

Numerous stories exist about other musicians’ respect for Tatum. Perhaps the most famous is the story that Tatum walked into a club where Fats Waller was playing, Waller stepped away from the piano bench to make way for Tatum, announcing, “I only play the piano, but tonight God is in the house.”

…Other luminaries of the day including Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, Leopold Godowsky and George Gershwin marveled at Tatum’s genius.

…Classical composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff said “he has better technique than any other living pianist, and may be the greatest ever.”

Tiger Rag:

Yesterdays:

2) Thelonious Monk

Monk is my favorite jazz musician, along with John Coltrane. In fact the only music CD I have at home (like all of you cheap bastards, I download all my music online) is Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall, which happens to be my favorite album of all time. The album was recorded in 1957, and was thought to be lost. It was rediscovered in 2005 by a librarian at the Library of Congress, to the glee of jazz fans worldwide.

According to Wikipedia:

The recording has been highly praised: Newsweek called it the “musical equivalent of the discovery of a new Mount Everest,” and Amazon.com editorial reviewer Lloyd Sachs called it “the ultimate definition of a classic”. Soon after its release, it became the #1 best selling music recording on Amazon.com.

Blue Monk (this is my favorite jazz performance of all time):

Epistrophy:

3) Oscar Peterson

Sweet Georgia Brown (a good solo, but far from the greatest piano solo ever, as mentioned in the title. The person who posted the video admitted that he intentionally put the title to drive traffic to his video. There is a video of the full performance but unfortunately it’s not on Youtube anymore):

Some solo:

4) McCoy Tyner

Tyner’s solo is after Coltrane’s. You might recognize this song from The Sound of Music:

Giant Steps, a famous jazz standard:

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