and was a major influence on later generations of jazz pianists.
A number of surgical procedures improved his eye condition to a degree but some of the benefits were reversed when he was assaulted in 1930.
A child with perfect pitch, Tatum learned to play by ear, picking out church hymns by the age of three, learning tunes from the radio and copying piano roll recordings his mother owned.
In a Voice of America interview, he denied the widespread rumor that he learned to play by copying piano roll recordings made by two pianists.
While playing piano was the most obvious application of his mental and physical skills, he also had an encyclopedic memory for Major League Baseball statistics.
In 1925, Tatum moved to the Columbus School for the Blind, where he studied music and learned braille. Rainey at either the Jefferson School or the Toledo School of Music.
Rainey, who was also visually impaired, probably taught Tatum in the classical tradition, as Rainey did not improvise and discouraged his students from playing jazz.As word of Tatum spread, national performers passing through Toledo, including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Joe Turner and Fletcher Henderson, would make it a point to drop in to hear the piano phenomenon.In 1931, vocalist Adelaide Hall commenced a world tour that lasted almost two years, during which (most probably in January 1932 when she was appearing at the Rivoli Theatre) In 1932, Hall returned to New York with Tatum and introduced him to Harlem on stage at the Lafayette Theatre.In August 1932, she made four recordings using Tatum as one of her pianists including the songs "Strange As It Seems" and "You Gave Me Everything But Love". Johnson and Fats Waller, who exemplified the stride piano style, and from the more "modern" Earl Hines, six years Tatum's senior.Tatum identified Waller as his main influence, but according to pianist Teddy Wilson and saxophonist Eddie Barefield, "Art Tatum's favorite jazz piano player was Earl Hines.He used to buy all of Earl's records and would improvise on them.