Storyville Records

Sutton, Ralph

Ralph Earl Sutton (November 4, 1922 – December 30, 2001) was an American jazz pianist born in Hamburg, Missouri. He was a stride pianist in the tradition of James P. Johnson and Fats Waller. Sutton had a stint as a session musician with Jack Teagarden's band before joining the US Army during World War II. After the war, he played at various venues in Missouri, eventually ending up at Eddie Condon's club in Greenwich Village. In 1956, he relocated to San Francisco, California, where he recorded several albums with Bob Scobey's dixieland band. From the 1960s onward, he worked mostly on his own. He died in 2001 and was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame the following year. Sutton died in Evergreen, Colorado.

Recordings

Edmond Hall / Ralph Sutton: At The Club Hangover 1954

In these recordings a then young Jazz giant, Ralph Sutton who in the 1950s was already (in Leonard Feather's words) 'one of the best of the later stride pianists' meets a figure who in any terms was seminal to Jazz's classic era: clarinetist Edmond Hall. Hall was one of the greatest of clarinettists, who possessed every quality required for Jazz immortality; a bitingly original sound, unique creative conception and absolute mastery of his instrument. Furthermore he was filled with the kind of creative drive that carried him on from local gigs in New Orleans to musical equality with master-geniuses of Jazz such as Art Tatum and Louis Armstrong. By the time of these recordings Ralph Sutton was already one of the finest mainstream Jazz pianists. And his work with Hall locks into a unit of tight musical professionalism at its best.