Ralph Sutton

The Ralph Sutton and the Jazzband

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Although the great stride pianist Ralph Sutton recorded 12 LPs for the now-defunct Chaz Jazz label during 1979-81, this set was his only one with a group larger than a quartet. The mighty Sutton is joined by some rather notable all-stars: cornetist Ruby Braff, trombonist George Masso, clarinetist Kenny Davern, tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman, bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Gus Johnson. They really stretch out on four Dixieland standards ("Struttin' With Some Barbecue," "Keeping Out of Mischief Now," "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Muskrat Ramble"), all of which are at least nine minutes long ("Keeping Out of Mischief Now" is over 13). All of the musicians play up to their usual levels and seem to inspire each other; Sutton pushes the players to come up with fresh and consistently heated ideas.