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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


‘It’s so nice it must be illegal’ Vol.1

Nagel Heyer CD 094




  1. Intro. spoken by Ralph Sutton
  2. Honeysuckle Rose
  3. Love lies
  4. Echoes of Spring
  5. Everything Happens to Me
  6. My Blue Heaven
  7. Medley: Squeeze Me, Ain’t Misbehavin’
  8. S’posin
  9. Medley: Sophisticated Lady, I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart, Ring Dem Bells
  10. Vipers Drag
  11. Just One of Those Things
  12. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.

Ralph Sutton – Piano, Vocals
Michael Silva – Drums
Recorded on November 27, 1988 live at Espace Jean Vilar, Amilly, France
This session took place at the behest of the Hot Club du Gatinais, a small town some 100Kms South of Paris.

Sutton the last of the great ‘stride’ piano players is on his very best form, in this most entertaining of albums. For anyone not sure of what ‘stride piano’ is, both Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller and Bill Basie, yes the Count himself, were also great exponents. Drummer Michael Silva, who Ralph had not worked with before, was the only other musician used on this live recording. The two of them seemed to work together just fine, but after all Silva had worked for Sammy Davies, so you would expect that.

The audience was generous with their applause and it is well deserved, Ralph Sutton has lots of technique and a very polished approach to his work. I have listened to other records Ralph has made and the same remarks could apply to all of them, but on this particular day it all seemed to be a bit special.

The programme is an excellent one to show off Ralph’s talents and it includes a number of Fats Waller tunes and a very nice Ellington medley, which starts with Sophisticated Lady, one of my Ellington favourites and moves into another with ‘I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart. Ring Dem Bells complete the medley.

This album is a must for fans of ‘stride’ piano playing and for those who do not know the stride genre it is an excellent opportunity to find out about it.

Don Mather

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