James Tatum

Jazz Concert Pianist, Composer,

Performer & Recording Artist


CD Review II- James Tatum
  Back to the Roots II

Description: This CD features James Tatum, Piano; Deblon Jackson, Flute; William Omar Butler, Trumpet; Don Mayberry, String Bass; Isaac Daney, Drums and Percussionist Miguel Gutierrez. It features all original music composed by Tatum. Back to the Roots II is a continuation of Part I in a new dimension of colors of sounds, by the flute, mute trumpet, bongo conga drums added in the rhythm section and harmonic texture in the selection of songs.

What makes Back to the Roots II so special: "It's especially wonderful that the musicians on this second CD happen to include two of the former scholarship recipients from my Foundation. I introduced Butler and Jackson to this jazz recording session. Butler and Jackson joined me for a jazz concert performance at Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas. The chemistry that they had in performing jazz influence me to use their talents on this recording."

1) Tatum's Theme: Original composition displays Tatum's dazzling piano techniques and fresh ideas of Jazz expressions.

2) JT Swings: Melodic theme for improvisation. Swinging ideas and harmonic structure influence by Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Bud Powell and Horace Silver.

3) Trail to Freedom: Inspired to put the tone expressions, melodic theme and character of portraying my people towards the trail of freedom, finding out how our people reached so-called freedom through humming and singing. It reminds me of Sojourner Truth, who led the people from the South to the North to freedom. That reading experience helped to inspire me to write this Composition.

4) Spiritualotta: The inspiration was to bring about African-American History. Those feelings and imagination of our forefathers who have gone through the struggle with pain and agony woven with trumpet, flute and bongo rhythmic expressions of Afro-American experience.

5) Wind Fantasy: The sound of the music reflects the wave of the ocean sunset. The theme played from the flute and piano emerge together with tone color expressions.

6) Back to the Motherland: We are truly innovative fathers of blues, bringing pain, agony, supplication and happiness. That's why I wrote the composition in F minor mode, to bring the mood of programmatic ideas.

7) Diaspora: This composition depicts our forefathers who brought the music culture to the Caribbean. Diaspora is the characterization of the dramatic experience of escaping to freedom. The rhythmic theme and the rhythm section brings drama in the music.