Born Ralph Earl Sutton, 4 November 1922, Hamburg, Missouri, USA, d. 30 December 2001, Evergreen, Colorado, USA. After playing piano locally for several years, Sutton left NE Missouri State University to join Jack Teagarden in 1941. After a spell of national service Sutton went to St. Louis, where he attracted widespread attention thanks to his participation in a series of radio shows hosted by jazz writer Rudi Blesh. From the late 40s through to the mid-50s he played regularly at Eddie Condon's club in Greenwich Village, New York, and also took part in the guitarist's radio and television shows. By 1956 Sutton had relocated to San Francisco, where he played in Bob Scobey's dixieland band and recorded several albums. In the 60s Sutton worked mostly as a single, but also played in a number of traditional bands and towards the end of the decade was a founder-member of the World's Greatest Jazz Band. Thereafter, Sutton's star rose and remained in the ascendancy with a series of record albums and world tours, solo and in a variety of settings. His musical partners in these ventures included Ruby Braff, Jay McShann, Kenny Davern and Peanuts Hucko. He continued to perform with great panache and a seemingly undiminished level of invention into the late 90s.
An outstanding pianist in the great tradition of stride giants such as James P. Johnson and Fats Waller, Sutton's style was both forceful and lightly dancing, as the needs of his repertoire demanded. Although drawing from the century-old tradition of jazz piano, from ragtime through the blues to Harlem stride, Sutton brought to his playing such inventive enthusiasm that everything he performed seemed freshly minted.
Piano Moods 10-inch album (Columbia 1950)***, Ralph Sutton (Commodore 1951)****, Ralph Sutton 10-inch album (Circle 1951)****, I Got Rhythm 10-inch album (Decca 1953)****, Ragtime Piano Solos 10-inch album (Down Home 1953)***, Backroom Piano: The Ragtime Piano Of Ralph Sutton (Down Home 1955)***, Classic Jazz Piano (Riverside 1956)****, A Salute To Fats (Harmony 1958)***, Ragtime, USA (Roulette 1963)***, with Ruby Braff On Sunnie's Side Of The Street (Blue Angel Jazz Club 1968)****, Piano Solos (Sackville 1975)***, Suttonly It Jumped! (88 Up Right 1975)***, Off The Cuff (Audiophile 1976)****, Live At Haywards Heath (Flyright 1976)***, The Ralph Sutton Quartet (Storyville 1977)****, with Wild Bill Davison Together Again (Storyville 1977)***, with Jay McShann The Last Of The Whorehouse Piano Players (Chiaroscuro 1979)***, with Braff Ralph Sutton & Ruby Braff Duet (Chaz 1979)***, with Braff Ralph Sutton & Ruby Braff Quartet (Chaz 1979)***, with Kenny Davern Ralph Sutton & Kenny Davern Trio Vol. 1 (Chaz 1980)***, with Davern Ralph Sutton & Kenny Davern Trio, Vol. 2 (Chaz 1980)***, The Other Side Of Ralph Sutton (Chaz 1980)****, The Big Noise From Wayzata (Chaz 1981)***, Live At Hanratty's (Chaz 1981)***, Ralph Sutton And The Jazzband (Chaz 1981)***, with Eddie Miller We've Got Rhythm (Chaz 1981)****, Blowin' Bubbles (Chaz 1982)***, Partners In Crime (Sackville 1983)****, Alligator Crawl (Jazzology 1989)***, Eye Opener (J&M 1990)***, Easy Street (Sackville 1991)****, Sunday Session (Sackville 1992)***, Live At The Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 30 (Concord Jazz 1993)***, Echoes Of Swing: The Complete Hamburg Concert (Nagel-Heyer 1997)***, The Ralph Sutton Quartet 1968 recording (Storyville 1999)****, Ralph Sutton Quartet Feat. Ruby Braff, Vol. 2 1968 recording (Storyville 1999)****, Ralph Sutton Quartet Feat. Ruby Braff, Vol. 3 1968 recording (Storyville 2000)****, Swings St. Louis (Gaslight 2000)***, with Johnny Varro A Pair Of Kings (Arbors 2001)***, The Second Set (Gaslight 2001)***, Home Again (Gaslight 2002)***, with Ruby Braff R&R (Chiaroscuro 2002)**,
At Cafe Des Copains (Sackville 1983)****, More Cafe Des Copains (Sackville 1987)****.
Piano Man: The Story Of Ralph Sutton, James D. Shacter. Loose Shoes: The Story Of Ralph Sutton, James D. Shacter.
Source: Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Trio & Quartet
The Second Set
Ralph Sutton With Ted Easton Jazzband
Ralph Sutton Live
Nagel Heyer Records (Germany)
Wondrous Piano: Private Family Recordings 1961
Oh Baby: Solo Piano *
Origin (Arts) Records
NIce To Meet Miss Christine
Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 30
Partners In Crime