Ralph Sutton/Ruby Braff: Ralph Sutton Quartet Featuring Ruby Braff, Vol. 4
This release is the final chapter of a four-volume undertaking by Storyville Records to put to disk live performances of stride pianist Ralph Sutton and his guests at his wife's Allene (Sunnie) Anderson's club, in the ski resort of Aspen, Colorado. For this set the headliner was cornetist Ruby Braff who must have been energized by the mountain air for he was in fine fettle.
Consummate professionalism, as well as good jazz, prevails through the more than 60 minutes in this disc. Even in 1968, yhe principals had been around for a while and it shows in the manner they addressed the program of familiar standards. The highlight to watch out for is the interplay between Braff's stuttering cornet and Hinton's walking bass on "I Surrender Dear". Nothing fancy or way out, but just lots of fun between two accomplished musicians. The same maneuver is used for "Just One of Those Things". But this time the breaks are taken by Mousie Alexander's drums. Hinton takes ones breath away on "Lady Be Good" with a strong solo bracketed once more by Alexander's drums. All the time, the stride piano, not as robust as he usually plays, is working hard underneath. Sutton's power and vitality are brought into "Jeepers Creepers" which features Hinton. But it's Braff who takes the lion's share of honors with his full, warm-toned cornet favoring as he would wont, the lower and middle registers of the instrument. He doesn't bludgeon the melody, he caresses it irrespective of the tempo of the moment, whether it be an unhurried stroll or a hundred yard dash. Kudos to Storyville for making these sessions available. Recommended.
Track Listing: I Surrender Dear; Jeepers Creepers; Just One of Those Things; I'm Crazy `Bout My Baby; Coquette; Lady Be Good; Cottage for Sale; I Got Rhythm; Dinah; St. Louis Blues
Personnel: Ruby Braff - Cornet; Ralph Sutton - Piano; Milt Hinton - Bass; Mousie Alexander - Drums