Ralph Sutton
Birth nameRalph Earl Sutton
Born(1922-11-04)November 4, 1922
Hamburg, Missouri, U.S.
DiedDecember 30, 2001(2001-12-30) (aged 79)
Evergreen, Colorado
Associated actsBob Scobey

Ralph Earl Sutton (November 4, 1922 – December 30, 2001) was an American jazz pianist born in Hamburg, Missouri. He was a stride pianist in the tradition of James P. Johnson and Fats Waller.


Sutton was born in Hamburg, Missouri, the son of Earl Sutton and Edna Sutton. His younger sister Barbara Sutton Curtis was also a jazz pianist.[1][2]

Sutton had a stint as a session musician with Jack Teagarden's band before joining the US Army during World War II. After the war, he played at various venues in Missouri, eventually ending up at Eddie Condon's club in Greenwich Village. In 1956, he relocated to San Francisco, California, where he recorded several albums with Bob Scobey's dixieland band. From the 1960s onward, he worked mostly on his own. However, when the World's Greatest Jazz Band was established in 1968, he was the natural choice for piano. He left that band in 1974 due to the extensive travel involved, and joined an old sidekick, Peanuts Hucko, in a quartet in Denver, near his home in Evergreen, Colorado.[3]:1–4, 133, 202

Fellow jazz pianist Jess Stacy said this about Ralph Sutton: "He is a superb piano player and a great guy. There's nothing upstage about him. I really admire the way he plays. He's one of the few piano players who uses both hands, and it's sure nice to know that a player like Ralph is still around. I can't say enough good things about him. He's one of the greats, and I hope he gets the recognition he deserves."[3]:180

Sutton died of a stroke in Evergreen, Colorado at the age of 79.[4]


As leader

As co-leader

With Ruby Braff

  • Remembered (Arbors)
  • Ralph Suttom & Ruby Braff 1980 (Chaz Jazz Records inc.) CJ101
  • Ralph Suttom & Ruby Braff 1980 (Chaz Jazz Records inc.) CJ102

With Dick Cary

  • Rendezvous at Sunnie's 1969 (Arbors)

With Kenny Davern

  • Ralph Sutton and Kenny Davern Vol. I 1980 (Chaz Jazz Records inc.) CJ105
  • Ralph Sutton and Kenny Davern Vol. II 1980 (Chaz Jazz Records inc.) CJ106

With Jay McShann

With Johnny Varro

  • *A Pair of Kings (Arbors)


  1. ^ "Famous Jazz Pianist Raises Funds to Refinish Piano". Ukiah Daily Journal. January 1, 1999. p. 5. Retrieved December 29, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ "Barbara Sutton Curtis" Ukiah Daily Journal (November 24, 2019).
  3. ^ a b Shacter, James D. (1975). Piano Man: The Story of Ralph Sutton. Chicago: Jaynar Press. ASIN B0006CEQ3Y.
  4. ^ Martin, Douglas (January 1, 2002). "Ralph Sutton, 79, the Pianist Known as the Master of Stride". The New York Times.

External links