Art Tatum – Piano Starts Here (’68)

You hear a lot about blind musicians – Amadou and Miriam, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder – yet none can claim such incredible ability and artistry as pianist Art Tatum. (Although he wasn’t completely blind, but close enough.) He pioneered a distinctive piano style, combining stride, jazz, and classical influences to create an incredibly diverse and well rounded sound – something unmistakably Tatum. If you watch him play, he stays entirely calm and controlled, yet performs with such immediacy and technical ability – it’s mind boggling. I mean, if there were an Olympic medal for fastest, most accurate piano playing, Tatum […]

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The United States of America – Self Titled (’68)

  “And the price is right, the cost of one admission is your mind” The United States of America were signed to Columbia Records before putting out material, or even playing a live show. Soon afterwords, they released this self titled psychedelic LP, their only album. They split mere months after its release. What is truly surprising about this album, is the electronic sounds (not to be confused with electronic music). As Joe Byrd, (vocals/effects) once said, “The only available functioning keyable synthesizers were Robert Moog’s, at +$20,000. We were left with whatever functioning sounds I could squeeze from three […]

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