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“Tea for Two” by Art Tatum

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“Tea for Two” by Art Tatum

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“Tea for Two” by Art Tatum


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    “Tea for Two” by Art Tatum is a jazz song.

    Song Title: Tea for Two
    Artist: Art Tatum
    Genre: jazz
    Musical key: A♭ Major and C Major
    Piano: Art Tatum
    Number of listens: 3822
    Current rank: 2923 (updated weekly)
    Highest rank: 2697 (play the video all the way through to register a vote for this song)

    “Tea For Two” was originally a song from the 1924 musical No, No Nanette, music by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Irving Caesar. The duet was sung by Nanette (Louis Groody) and Tom (Jack Barker) in Act II about their future together.
    The song has abrupt key changes between A♭ Major and C Major. The dotted eighth and quarter notes are unusal for a show tune.
    Irving Caesar revealed on Steve Allen’s radio show that the lyrics were originally temporary place holders, with the intent of better lyrics later.
    Art Tatum performed the song in a cutting contest at Morgan’s bar in New York City. His performance was considered the “last word” in stride piano. James P. Johnson said, “When Tatum played Tea For Two that night I guess that was the first time I ever heard it really played.” Both James P Johnson and Fats Waller, who were competing, were blown away by Tatum’s performance. Johnson’s response was a prearranged stride version of Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude. Tatum’s cutting contest perfomance of “Tea For Two” and “Tiger Rag” launched his career.
    Jazz virtuoso Art tatum recorded “Tea For Two” in 1939, turning it into a jazz standard. Jazz pianist Thelonious Monk reharmonized the song in bebop-style in 1952 under the song name “Skippy”.
    The original 1939 version was recorded as a piano solo. His 1952 version was recorded in Los Angeles, California, on 20 December 1952 with Everett Barksdale on guitar and Slam Stewart on bass.


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