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In Copenhagen

Ralph Sutton

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Album Review

Ralph Sutton is generally recognized as a giant of stride piano, though he was equally at home playing swing tunes. This compilation draws from two earlier Storyville albums recorded over a span of three days in May 1977, while the pianist was touring Europe. The first 13 tracks represent the master takes from Trio and Quartet, featuring Sutton with a full rhythm section, playing duo settings or solo. Sutton had lost none of his fire at the age of 54, offering delightful interpretations of old favorites like “Thou Swell," “Undecided," and “St. Louis Blues," though he is at his most lyrical with his impressionist solo settings of “In the Dark" and his own miniature ballad “Worrying the Life Out of Me." The last five songs come from taking part in a quintet led by cornetist Wild Bill Davison and multi-reed player Jesper Thilo, all of which appeared on the Storyville CD Together Again. Even though the band is a pickup group, the bandmembers mesh well in a lively “Blue Room" and a raucous “Running Wild," the latter in which Thilo (on soprano sax) gives the two veterans a run for their money in the solo department. While most Ralph Sutton fans will want to seek the two complete CDs, this compilation is an excellent alternative investment.

Biography

Born: 04 November 1922 in Hamburg, MO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '80s

Ralph Sutton was the greatest stride pianist to emerge since World War II, with his only close competitors being the late Dick Wellstood and the very versatile Dick Hyman. Nearly alone in his generation, Sutton kept alive the piano styles of Fats Waller and James P. Johnson, not as mere museum pieces but as devices for exciting improvisations. Although sticking within the boundaries of his predecessors, Sutton infused the music with his own personality; few could match his powerful left hand. Ralph...
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In Copenhagen, Ralph Sutton
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