Ralph Sutton

Rendezvous at Sunnie's 1969

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The seventh volume in the Arbors label's Historical Series is a delightful live set from 1969, recorded at Sunnie's Rendezvous in Aspen, CO. Aspen was pianist Ralph Sutton's home turf, and trumpeter Dick Cary was driven 2,000 miles to the club by a pair of California-based jazz enthusiasts who intended to record the pair's musical summit meeting. It took more than 25 years for the resulting tapes to finally see commercial release, but they've been worth the wait. Cary and Sutton are a match made in heaven, two men of spectacular musical erudition, gentle musical wit, and uncompromising swing who are equally capable of spinning out sweet and elegant variations on "I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me" and charging energetically through the barrelhouse boogie-woogie of "Honky Tonk Train." Sutton's soft but urgent introduction on "I've Found a New Baby" generates tremendous energy that only continues to build through his solos; listen carefully to his left-hand work and you'll hear a summary of the whole history of jazz piano. Cary has similar stylistic range, wailing and growling Louis Armstrong-style one moment and sighing lyrically the next -- his work on the rarely played alto horn is especially interesting and enjoyable. The producers apparently took special care with microphone placement on this live recording, resulting in unusually good sound quality. Highly recommended.

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