Ralph Sutton

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Ralph Sutton
Birth name Ralph Earl Sutton
Born (1922-11-04)November 4, 1922
Hamburg, Missouri, U.S.
Died December 30, 2001(2001-12-30) (aged 79)
Evergreen, Colorado, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano
Labels Arbors Records
Associated acts Bob Scobey

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. However, when the World's Greatest Jazz Band was established in 1968, he was the natural choice for piano. He left that band in 1974 due to the extensive travel involved, and joined an old sidekick, Peanuts Hucko, in a quartet in Denver, near his home in Evergreen, Colorado.[1]:1–4, 133, 202

Fellow jazz pianist Jess Stacy said this about Ralph Sutton: "He is a superb piano player and a great guy. There's nothing upstage about him. I really admire the way he plays. He's one of the few piano players who uses both hands, and it's sure nice to know that a player like Ralph is still around. I can't say enough good things about him. He's one of the greats, and I hope he gets the recognition he deserves."[1]:180

Sutton died of a stroke in Evergreen, Colorado at the age of 79.[2]


As leader[edit]

  • Backroom Piano Piano solos (Columbia Records 33CX 10061, Clef series) Unknown date
  • Piano Solos in the Classic Jazz Tradition (Riverside Records, 1949 & 1952)
  • Wondrous Piano, The Private Family Recordings, (Arbors Records, 1961)
  • Ragtime U.S.A (Roulette, 1963)
  • Ralph Sutton "Off the Cuff" Audiophile AP-163 Recorded April 17, 1976
  • Ralph Sutton at St. George Church, England (Arbors Records, 1992)
  • Ralph Sutton at Maybeck (Maybeck Recital Hall Series Volume Thirty, Concord Records, 1993)
  • The Joint is Jumpin' 'The Music of Fats Waller' with Bob Barnard and friends. Recorded Sydney Australia 21 April 1999.

As sideman[edit]

With Ruby Braff

With Dick Cary

  • Rendezvous at Sunnie's 1969 (Arbors)

With Kenny Davern

  • Ralph Sutton and Kenny Davern (Chiaroscuro)

With Jay McShann

  • Last of the Whorehouse Piano Players 1979 (Chiaroscuro)
  • Last of the Whorehouse Piano Players 1989 (Chiaroscuro)

With Johnny Varro

  • A Pair of Kings (Arbors)


  1. ^ a b Shacter, James D. (1975). Piano Man: The Story of Ralph Sutton. Chicago: Jaynar Press. ASIN B0006CEQ3Y. 
  2. ^ Martin, Douglas (1 January 2002). "Ralph Sutton, 79, the Pianist Known as the Master of Stride". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]