Arthur Tatum Jr. (October 13, 1909 – November 5, 1956) was an American jazz pianist who is widely regarded as one of the greatest in his field.
Tatum grew up in Toledo, Ohio, where he began playing piano professionally and had his own radio program, rebroadcast nationwide, while still in his teens. He left Toledo in 1932 and had residencies as a solo pianist at clubs in major urban centers including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Throughout his career, Tatum also played in after-hours venues at which he was said to be more spontaneous and creative than in his regular paid performances. Tatum drank large quantities of alcohol when performing; although it did not negatively affect his playing, it damaged his health. In the 1940s, Tatum led a commercially successful trio for a short time and began playing in more formal jazz concert settings, including at Norman Granz-produced Jazz at the Philharmonic events.
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