Text Box: JAZZ autographs


Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247


Price: $300.00



Dual autographed original matte double-weight photograph of the great jazz stride pianists in a club, c. 1970’s.  The original Al White photograph is dedicated to the photographer.


McShann (1916-2006) and Sutton (1922-2001) were literally the last great stride pianists of their generation!  They even put out 2 recordings with bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Gus Johnson in 1989 entitled “The Last of the Whorehouse Piano Players”.  Truly great friends and competitors, the dual piano playing on the albums is quite extraordinary.


Jay “Hootie” McShann was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma.  He was a natural, self taught listening to Earl Hines on the piano.  He began to play gigs in the Tulsa area in 1931 and moved to Kansas City in 1936 forming his own band. He hired Charlie “Bird” Parker in 1937 giving him his first regular gig.  The band in addition to Parker included Jimmy Coe, Ben Webster, Gus Johnson, Gene Ramey and others.  The Jay McShann Orchestra made their first recordings in 1940 including Parker and Webster in their debut recordings.   The group disbanded in 1944 as McShann was drafted into the army.  McShann’s mentor Earl Hines would poach Parker from his band in 1942.  After the War, McShann get back into leading groups, including Ben Webster and jazz singer Jimmy Witherspoon. While not leading his band, McShann would also play solo, or with smaller combos.  A prolific song composer, The Rolling Stones recorded McShann’s “Confess’in the Bluyes”.  The pianist played nearly until his death, making his last record in 2001.


Ralph Sutton was also born in Missouri, Hamburg to be exact.  He was known as “The Master of Stride”.  He received lessons as a boy and began playing the organ in church.  At night, his Father a good amateur violinist had the boy play piano in his country band.  Sutton heard Fats Waller when he was 9 and fell in love with stride piano.  Whilst in college at Northeast Missouri State he had a chance meeting with Jack Teagarden and auditioned for him and was immediately accepted for his New York band.  He was drafted two months later.  Post World War II, Sutton played in a club in the red light district of East St. Louis until Teagarden came calling and he went back to New York.    Thereafter he was a regular at Eddie Condon’s Club in the Village. An original member of the World’s Greatest Jazz Band, he played with them from 1968 to 1974.  He did not like the hard life of a touring musician, so he quit and moved to Colorado and played in a quartet there with reed player Mike “Peanuts” Hucko.  Apparently at this stage of his life he was too poor to have a piano in his home and friends pitched in a bought him one.  He realized he needed to make a real living so much in demand, he began to tour the United States and Europe in various clubs and festivals.  Sutton recorded significantly throughout his life.


Quite scarce autographed together, or separate.