Solo Stride Piano – 1980

Ralph Sutton

The brilliant stride pianist plays five songs

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Ralph Sutton (1922-2001) was one of the greatest stride pianists in history, which was a bit unusual because the style had gone out of fashion (in favor of bebop) by the time he was in his mid-twenties.

That did not matter for Sutton learned from the performances and the recordings of the greats (including Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, and Willie “the Lion” Smith) and developed his own voice within the classic style.

He played at clubs, festivals and jazz parties for more than a half-century, made many recordings, and set the standard for the stride pianists who followed.

During this solo concert, Sutton performs Willie “the Lion” Smith’s “Echo Of Spring,” Fats Waller’s “Alligator Crawl,” “Love Lies,” an often-blazing “Viper’s Drag,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” and an excerpt of “Gin Mill Blues” before the latter cuts off.

The closeups of his hands gives evidence of Ralph Sutton’s mastery of the piano and the stride style.

-Scott Yanow


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