Art Tatum Body and Soul — plus Annette Hanshaw’s vocal version.

Thanks to Okmusix for the You Tube and images.

Art Tatum’s version of Body and Soul was released on Disc 1 Cut 7 The Art Tatum Complete Solo Masterpieces on Pablo CD’s. It was recorded December 28, 1953. Every Tatum record is a journey into a tune in which he explores all the harmonics of the song, turns it inside out and back again, does runs and landings with the harmonies. Indeed, Tatum was so far beyond other Jazz pianists in technical ability that some have said Tatum killed the jazz piano. I don’t know about that. But, I acknowledge that sentiment when I’ve said that there will never be another Tatum.

One thing Tatum does is he will fit in a phrase from an old song, like “something old” at a wedding. In Body and Soul, he plays a phrase from the old slave era spiritual “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” See if you can find it.

Tomorrow I’ll play the Coleman Hawkins version of Body and Soul recorded in 1939. Both Hawkins and Tatum experimented with chord harmonies in ways that transitioned Jazz from the Swing Era to variously what came afterwards.

In case you’re wondering, Fats Waller never recorded Body and Soul. Fats was a busy man. Or, maybe the song didn’t appeal to him. Those are my guesses.

I discovered that Annette Hanshaw recorded a vocal version of Body and Soul in 1930 when it was new and fresh, along with the verse which I’ve never heard before. Annette Hanshaw was an underrated singer, especially by herself.  Here it is:

Thanks to edmundusrex for the You Tube




About Richard Rollo

I am a retired Community College Instructor. I taught Political Science 1 American Government for 22 years in Southern California. I am originally from Northern Minnesota. My earliest years were spent in the living quarters of a rural Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Railway Depot. Then my family joined the great 1950's migration to Southern California where I joined up with fellow baby boomers in overcrowded schools.
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