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R & R (Remastered)

Ralph Sutton & Ruby Braff

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Album Review

During 1979-1981, the great stride pianist Ralph Sutton recorded an extensive series of albums for the tiny Chaz label. Included in the releases were a quartet set with cornetist Ruby Braff, bassist Jack Lesberg, and drummer Gus Johnson, and a duet project with Braff. All of the Sutton dates were elusive and out of print for years, until Chiaroscuro began reissuing some of these valuable sets. This CD has all 11 of the selections from the quartet album and eight out of the 12 duets; hopefully the remaining four duos will be reissued in the future. Braff and Sutton both had the knack of hinting at earlier greats while still sounding very much like themselves. In fact, those who are familiar with the cornetist will have no trouble identifying him within a few notes. Among the 19 songs that are happily swung are such gems as "Shoe Shine Boy," "Sweethearts on Parade," "You Can Depend on Me," "Sunday," "I Would Do Anything for You," and "Dinah." While never wandering too far from the melodies, the two lead voices consistently come up with plenty of fresh ideas and always show their enthusiasm and affection for the vintage music. Easily recommended to fans of small-group swing and trad.

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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