Bob Dietsche, Tatum’s Town (Bobson Press)
Most Art Tatum devotees know that Toledo, Ohio, was his hometown. It was where his genius became evident when he was a teenaged Fats Waller disciple. Many Tatum fans may not know that Toledo’s active jazz community in the 1920s and ‘30s included a number of musicians destined to become important jazz artists. Among them were trombonist Jimmy Harrison, guitarist Arv Garrison, Count Basie saxophonist Candy Johnson and, later, younger musicians like vocalist Jon Hendricks and pianist Stanley Cowell. Dietsche traces the development of jazz in his hometown and does for Toledo what he did for Portland, Oregon, in his 2005 book Jumptown. Tatum’s Town is slightly marred by indexing confusion and lax copy editing, but it is packed with anecdotes and information about a jazz scene that thrived before, during and after the swing-to-bop transition and produced Tatum, one of the music’s pivotal figures.