Arthur Tatum was born in Toledo, Ohio. From birth he suffered from cataracts which left him with only very limited vision in one eye. He played piano from his youth, and played professionally in Ohio before moving to New York City in 1932.
Tatum was widely recognized among his colleagues as the most gifted jazz pianist alive. When he walked into a club where Fats Waller was playing, Waller supposedly said "I play the piano, but God is in the house tonight."
Art Tatum died in Los Angeles, California.