This boxed set consists of 10 CD and 1 DVD comprising 212 tracks and 12½ hours of playing time. They range in date from early 1934 to mid-October 1956, only three weeks before Tatum’s death. None of the tracks in this box was recorded in a studio for ultimate sale to the public. With the exception of some recordings made for the U.S. government, they are all live performances, from a wide variety of sources, including off-the-air radio broadcasts, the audio portion of his limited TV appearances, private parties, night club performances, after-hours clubs, transcriptions, recordings in private homes (including his own), and tracks from pressings made gratis for the Voice of America, and for the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II.
A rewarding release… As to the Mandarin, first impressions suggest a gloved fist on Ozawa's part and a general softening of attack since [his earlier DG recording from] 1975… Ozawa is strong on sensuality - those all-pervading glissandos, the seduction games and the languidly teasing sequences that lead to the chase… As to the Concerto for Orchestra…the Bostonians' Bartókian pedigree - it was, after all, Koussevitzky who commissioned the work — guarantees a certain élan and refinement… Ozawa is best where the going gets frantic (his finale is terrific, especially at the outset, and he plays Bartok's more concise original ending)… Ozawa's virtues are intelligence, alertness and a fine ear for detail… (Gramophone [8/1995] reviewing the Bartók recordings, originally released as Philips 442783)