At the very height of his popularity in the early 1950s, Frank Sinatra gave Art Tatum this Bulova wristwatch inscribed on the back:
14 kt gold. In running condition with original metal band.
Art Tatum is considered one of the world's greatest jazz pianists. Tatum had received some formal musical training but, utilizing his perfect pitch, was mainly self-taught. He was known for his experimental and creative playing, as well as his legendary speed and improvisational skills. Despite being nearly blind, Tatum's dexterity made him an excellent player, as can be heard on the 1933 recording 'Tea for Two,' one of his best known songs.
Ahead of his time, Art Tatum's techniques would contribute to the development of modern jazz, with aspects of his technique influencing musicians including Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Oscar Peterson. Tatum, after his sadly premature death at age 47, was recognized for his considerable talents and his contributions to the jazz world when he was posthumously inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame, the International Hall of Fame, and awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, among other honors.
The gift of this elegant watch from one musical great to another is a sign of recognition, from one of the best-known names in music, of the talent and influence of Art Tatum. Sinatra, six years junior to Tatum, could have seen Tatum as an inspiration, or at least would understand the deep importance of Tatum's legacy. Sinatra's career, at the time of the gift, was certainly on the rise; at the beginning of the 1950s he had just starred in the successful movie From Here to Eternity, for which he won both an Academy and a Golden Globe Award. The following few years would see him releasing his popular albums In the Wee Small Hours and Songs for Swingin' Lovers!
From the Estate of Art Tatum.