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June 2024
1min read

Legally blind and largely self-taught, Art Tatum played the piano with such overwhelming virtuosity, his long-time guitarist Everett Barksdale remembered, that “the only time I ever heard him goof was when the piano was at fault—a mechanical flaw.” Once, from the bandstand, Tatum’s own mentor, the great Fats Waller, spotted him making his careful way into the dark club where he was playing: “I play piano,” Waller told the crowd, “but God is in the house tonight.”

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