Great Encounters #15: The 1931 evening that Art Tatum dazzled Harlem pianists Fats Waller and James P. Johnson
Excerpted from Ain’t Misbehavin’: The Story of Fats Waller by Ed Kirkeby.
In 1931 a pretty definite pattern of jazz in New York had come into being. Big and small bands held sway at countless nightspots, and most of the big names were in the Big City to stay. Not a lot of new talent was coming along, though bandsmen such as Chick Webb, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and John Kirby — even if not yet in their full stride — were fast becoming known in and around New York music circles. The original crop of jazzmen who nursed the art from its swaddling clothes...
March 29th, 2005