Storyville Records

Sutton Quartet, 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 Quartet: At Sunnie's Vol 2

While vol. 1 of Ralp Sutton's Trio series on Storyville (STCD 8286) mostly consisted of familliar tunes interpreted in inventive fashion, the second set has more than its share of obscurities standbys. The first eight songs were composed by pianists like Earl Hines, Meade Lux Lewis, Willie 'The Lion' Smith and Fats Waller. The second half of the program has swinging versions of such standards like "Blue Lou" and an exciting rendition of "St. Louis Blues" that has some heated boogie-woogie choruses. A definite highlight are Sutton's interpretation of four selections by the forgotten rural composer Willard Robison including "'Tain't So, Honey 'Tain't So". Here Sutton shows just how well-rounded a pianist he had become after over two decades of playing in the major leagues. Still maintaining a busy schedule, Ralph Sutton's music remains timeless, undated and highly enjoyable!