Art Tatum, The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 5
Any one edition drawn from this eight-CD set will do. And any one is enough to give a sense of the enormity of Tatum's genius and its far-reaching effects on all the music that followed. Tatum simply played more piano — got more out the instrument — than any other musician. He was a direct link from the whorehouse piano men to the classical soloist. Here, late in life, he plays song after song and, beginning with "Too Marvelous for Words," he builds each one into a concerto of melody, harmonics, and improvisation that set the bar high and establish the logic for much of modern jazz.