Ralph Sutton
Oh Baby -- Piano Solos
Sackville 2063

The performances on this CD are among the earliest of Ralph Sutton's solo recordings. The first fifteen selections come from a 1949 session in San Francisco for Down Home Records. At that time Rudi Blesh and Harriet Janis were researching their forthcoming book They All Played Ragtime and Sutton would spend many a Sunday sight reading obscure compositions for them. Nine of these Classic Rags are included in the Down Home session as well as three of Jelly Roll Morton's similarly structured pieces. Ralph plays this music with a rhythmic intensity few others have achieved. His mastery of the idiom is complete but he rarely, if ever, included this material in his regular repertoire.

Ralph, in his usual bombastic way stated I'm no ragtime player. I'm a whorehouse piano player. Whorehouse piano swings. So too does ragtime when played by Ralph and Eubie Blake.

The final eight selections are even less well known. They were recorded in London in 1952 and issued on the Lyragon label. At the time Sutton was performing there as a jazz concert artist but still found time to put down on wax these brief interpretations of material which he was to rework successfully through his long career.

The highlights include the three Willie The Lion Smith compositions. Concentratin' and Morning Air remained staples of Ralph's repertoire but his performance here of No Local Stops may well be its only recorded performance.

These obscure sessions are an invaluable part of Ralph Sutton's legacy and are issued here by arrangement with the Ralph Sutton estate.

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