SONY BMG Masterworks and Zenph® Studios Releases Re-Performance® of Legendary Art Tatum Concert

- For the first time in 50 years, hear it as Art Tatum actually played it -

Recording Available June 3, 2008


SONY BMG Masterworks and Zenph® Studios announce the June 3 release of Art Tatum's "Piano Starts Here," the second recording in a series of discs that represent a milestone in the history of recorded music.

Art Tatum's "Piano Starts Here" album contains material that has been in print for more than 50 years. Yet the original, an incomparable jazz album that highlights the mastery of this singular musician, had been marred by nominal sound quality and other imperfections -- until now.

Zenph's unique technique turns audio recordings into live performances that precisely replicate the original recording, but offer vastly improved sound quality. Listeners are transported back to the moment of creation and experience Tatum's playing as if they were in the room when the original recordings were made.

Zenph captures the musical nuances of the original recording, with details about the pedal actions, volume and articulations down to millisecond timings. This new digital data, transcribed into high-resolution MIDI files, was played back on a state-of-the-art Yamaha Disklavier Pro™ concert grand piano. The process allows for the production of pristine new renderings that transcend the limitations of the original recording process.

Last year, Sony BMG and Zenph Studios re-recorded Tatum's 1949 concert at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. They placed the piano on the same stage in the same spot that Tatum played and recorded a flawless re-performance on modern equipment before a live audience.

The original album includes nine virtuosic solos Tatum recorded live at The Shrine, along with Tatum's first four commercial recordings from 1933, issued on 78 rpm masters by the Brunswick label, including "Tiger Rag" -- considered to be his signature performance. This year marks the 75th anniversary of those landmark studio recordings.

SONY BMG's new disc is a hybrid surround-sound SACD/CD disc, which plays on all traditional CD players and sounds magnificent on Super Audio (SACD) players. It also includes a binaural version of the re-performance that provides an immersive experience. When listened to with headphones, it replicates what Tatum would have heard while he sat on the piano bench.

The Zenph re-performance also corrects several problems with the original album. For one thing, playback speed was too slow on 12 of the 13 tracks, so after Zenph fixed the tempo, you hear that Tatum actually played faster than has been thought.

And, thanks to Tatum discographer Arnold Laubich, Zenph has restored about two minutes of lost material. The original album omits excerpts from Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess," which Tatum performed at the concert during the track now titled "The Man I Love." Zenph also fixed an 80 millisecond tape glitch during "Humoresque" that mars the timing on the original album.

SONY BMG assembled its top producers and engineers for the Tatum project, including Steve Epstein, five-time Grammy® Award winner for "Producer of the Year," Richard King, a three-time Grammy® winner, and Gus Skinas, renowned for his expertise in high-resolution surround-sound recording. Piano voicer Marc Wienert is the main subject of the acclaimed book Grand Obsession by Perri Knize.

The Tatum CD is a follow up to the profusely-praised re-performance of pianist Glenn Gould's 1955 rendition of the Bach Goldberg Variations. "A technological miracle," observed the Wall Street Journal. "I cannot over- recommend [the Gould release] too highly," wrote The Audiophile Voice. "You are in for a life-altering experience."

Hailed worldwide, Zenph's work was named one of the "Best Ideas of the Year" by The New York Times Magazine and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, National Public Radio and the BBC.

Extended details of the songs, personnel, recording, and Tatum's life can be found at

About Sony BMG Masterworks

RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz are labels of SONY BMG Masterworks. For email updates and information regarding RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz artists, promotions, tours and repertoire, please visit

About Zenph Studios

Zenph® Studios, Inc. is a software company based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The company's focus is building software for understanding -- and re-creating -- precisely how musicians perform. Sony BMG Masterworks began issuing a series of Zenph's re-performances® in 2007, which feature modern recordings of classic performances with vastly improved sound from perspectives tailored for surround-sound and headphone listening. Zenph's processes create data representing performances identical to past recordings by legendary artists. Whether on stage or via new recordings, the results offer astonishing fidelity. For more information about Zenph Studios, visit

SOURCE: SONY BMG Masterworks

CONTACT: United States: Susan Schiffer of Sony BMG Masterworks,
+1-212-833-4763,; International: Silke Zimmermann
of Sony BMG Masterworks, +49-89-41369646,

Web site: