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

Ralph Sutton: Ralph Sutton Trio Live At Sunnie's Rendevouz 1969, Vol 1

When one considers that Ralph Sutton has been at the top of his field for nearly a half-century. it seems remarkable that he is not a household name in America. Such is the fate of being the greatest living exponent of stride piano. The main focus throughout the set is on the pianist. Sutton is in a relaxed mood and most of his interpretations are taken at a medium-tempo. Included in the repertoire are five Fats Waller compositions (including the rarely performed "Ain't Cha Glad"), another song closely associated with Waller although not actually written by him "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter"), James P. Johnson's "Snowy Morning Blues," five veteran standards (all of which were already at least 30 years old when Sutton performed them at Sunny's), the pianist's own 'Dog Ass Blues" and an obscurity from Willard Robinson ("Think Well Of Me"): Robinson is also well represented by four of his songs on this first volume of this rewarding trio recital.