Art Tatum's legacy preserved at 104th birthday celebration

Nearly 60 years after the death of Toledo-born jazz legend Art Tatum, one local group came out to celebrate the pianistâ??s birthday anniversary.

The Citizens' Advisory Board of the Art Tatum African American Resource Center celebrated the 104th birthday of the jazz giant at the Kent Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library on Saturday.

Pianist Jim Gottron tickled the ivories of an electric piano as he entertained a crowd of about 20 with renditions of several Art Tatum arrangements.

Organizers say the partially-blind musicianâ??s influence is still felt in the community today.

â??When you listen to his music, you see the dexterity and technique,â?? said Brett Collins of the Art Tatum African American Resource Center. He added, â??We have a lot of people who are strong supporters of jazz, who appreciate and acknowledge Art Tatum as the greatest pianist of all time, and they understand what a treasure he was.â??

Those who attended were also treated to birthday cake and refreshments as they enjoyed hearing Tatumâ??s classics.