January/February 1997

Ralph Sutton Trio
Sunday Session
Sackville

As regulars on the jazz festival circuit, pianist Sutton, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Butch Miles have found themselves playing together in countless ad hoc lineups for several years both before and since this December 1992 concert in Baden, Switzerland. It should be apparent, then, that the question of stylistic compatibility need not even be raised. Had they been working nightly as an organized trio for this long a period, their playing could not have been more cohesive. Sutton is, of course, a reigning master of the Swing piano idiom, in particular, the style of Fats Waller, whose compositions he has been recording for several decades. In this instance, though, he embraces a somewhat wider repertoire, albeit one equally familiar to cognoscenti of the period. Of the 14 pieces presented, only one, Waller's "Clothes Line Ballet," justifies the term "seldom heard," but that is not to say that Sutton's fiery playing on such hoary numbers as "Dinah" is to be easily dismissed. Similarly commendable are "Undecided," "Why Was I Born?," "Three Little Words," "All Of Me," and "Hindustan," and, as is to be expected, Hinton and Miles have their moments to shine as well. - Jack Sohmer

Originally published in January/February 1997
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