Ralph Sharon discography...
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Ralph Sharon discography...
Ralph Sharon (1948) Although British born pianist Ralph Sharon was the musical director for US singer Tony Bennett for many years he was a prominent figure at the start of the British bebop scene. Born in London in 1923 he played with the Embassy Aces together with guitarist Pete Chilver and tenor saxist Cliff Stonley in 1942 while working in a factory in Slough. Other jobs included the Number One Rhythm Club with Carlo Krahmer in 1942, the Harry Lewis Trio in 1943, Victor Feldman, 1944 and Johnny Claes in 1945. After the war he joined Frank Weir, then had a short spell with Ted Heath in 1946 and then worked with Norman Burns and then Victor Feldman again before forming his own sextet in 1950 which he led for three years making his last recording session in the UK in 1953 before going to the US and becoming musical director of the singer Tony Bennett in 1957.
What is evident from the later records is that his sextet moved towards the George Shearing Quintet sound and the bebop became somewhat diluted.
He died on March31, 2015 at the age of 91. He recorded up to 2007 and was performing three months before his death.

Maurice Burman writing in Jazz Journal in May 1950 reports: "the Ralph Sharon Sextet has taken a long engagement at Fischers in Bond Street, this is a dinner and dance place at reasonable prices and interest lies in the fact that this is the first time a bop band has had an engagement in a 'commercial joint'. It is a happy omen and a good choice. Ralph's band is a quiet, neat, and very modern group. He is fortunate in being able to play bop in such a manner as to make it listenable to the public..."

The group made a number of records in 1950 although it is not reported whether the personnel in the 'commercial joint' was the same as on the records.
Some critics have referred to the sound, disparagingly, as 'dinner jazz'.... Ralph Sharon Sextet (picture)...

Bob Fox adds (via email):
Way back in 1951, I was Manager of the Pier Bandstand at Weymouth, and Ralph had been engaged with a sextet (I say "a" because it was obviously not his usual one). The Weymouth Council had done a deal with Ralph's Agent at the time for the resident summer season, and in order to "boost" the sound as it was only a sextet working on an open air stage, Ralph was required to play a hammond organ. He was also required to play typical "bandstand" music - "Student Prince:"etc, and even, on one night a week, play for Old Time Dancing.
We got on very well - but I don't think it would have been one of his happiest seasons. I really did feel sorry for Ralph especially when one Sunday, Vic Lewis and members of his Band who were playing a Sunday night concert in Weymouth, turned up in the afternoon to hear Ralph playing selections from the shows - very embarrassing!
That season may have been Ralph's first contact with the Americans though, as I remember that the USS MIssouri, known as Mighty Mo' the largest battleship in the world at that time was in Portland Harbour, and Ralph used to go aboard on his night off and play jazz with the Yanks. They had a cracking 20 piece big band, and Ralph wrote an article for the Melody Maker, and I recall the headline to this day " Mighty Mo Rocks at Anchor".


Ted Heath and his Music - January 28th, 1946 (Decca)details

Jack Parnell and his Quartet - March 29th, 1946 (Decca)
Reg Owen (cl), Ralph Sharon (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Charlie Short (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Soft Noodles*/Just You, Just Me*/Too Marvellous For Words/Riffet.
(*Avid CD - Jack Parnell: Two Classic Albums plus Two Eps)

Jack Parnell and his Quartet - July 29th, 1946 (Decca)
Reg Owen (cl), Ralph Sharon (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Jack Fallon (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Cant We Be Friends?*/Stomping At The Savoy*/On The Alamo*/I'll Never Be The Same*.
(*Avid CD - Jack Parnell: Two Classic Albums plus Two Eps)

Melody Maker's Jazz Rally - June 29th, 1947 (All issued on Columbia)
Dave Wilkins (tp), Woolf Phillips (tb), Harry Parry (cl), Reggie Dare (ts), Ralph Sharon (p), Pete Chilver (g), Jack Fallon (b), Norman Burns (d).
Who's Sorry Now (part 1)/Who's Sorry Now (part 2).
Same date
Reg Arnold (tp), George Chisholm (tb), Bertie King (as) Cliff Townsend (vln), Ralph Sharon (p), Frank Deniz (g), Jack Collier (b), Jock Cummings (d).
I've Found A New Baby.
Same date
Frank Weir, Carl Barriteau (cl), Harry Hayes, Bertie King (as), Tommy Whittle (ts), Ralph Sharon (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Jack Collier (b), Jock Cummings (d).
Confessin'/C Jam Blues/Thriving On A Riff*.
(*Proper Records 4CD Box set - Jazz in Britain 1919 - 1950)

The Esquire Five - January 13th, 1948 (Esquire)
Ronnie Scott (ts), Pete Chilver (g), Ralph Sharon (p), Jack Fallon (b), Carlo Krahmer (d).
Lady Be Good*^/Boppin' At Esquire*^/Idabop^/What Is This Thing Called Love^.
(^Indigo CD - Boppin' At Esquire)
(*Giant Steps Records CD - Great Scott)

(^Charly/Esquire 4 CD box set - bebop IN BRITAIN - issued in 1991 currently only available second hand...)
(^Proper Records 4CD Box set - Ronnie Scott "Boppin' With Scott")

Alan Dean and the All Star Sextet - April 17th, 1948 (Esquire)
Aubrey Frank (ts), Reg Arnold (tp), Ralph Sharon (p), Tommy Pollard (vib), Jack Fallon (b), Norman Burns (d), Alan Dean (vocal).
Oop-pop-a da#/Disc Jockey Jump.
(#Hallmark CD - Basement Bop - British jazz in the 1950s)

April 29th, 1948 (Esquire)
Personnel as April 17th.
Galaxy*/I Can't Get Started*#/First Gear*/Confirmation*.
(*Charly/Esquire 4 CD box set - bebop IN BRITAIN - issued in 1991 currently only available second hand...)
(#Hallmark CD - Basement Bop - British jazz in the 1950s)
(#Proper Records 4CD Box set - Jazz in Britain 1919 - 1950)

May 8th, 1948 (Esquire)
Personnel as April, 17th
My Baby Likes To Bebop*/Disc Jockey Jump*/Fallonology*/Jack Fiddles While Norman Burns*.
(*Charly/Esquire 4 CD box set - bebop IN BRITAIN - issued in 1991 currently only available second hand...)

January 15th, 1949 (Esquire)
Personnel as April 17th, 1948 except Kenny Baker (tp) replaces Reg Arnold.
Gabardine And Serge/First Gear.

Keith Bird and The Esquire Six - October 13th, 1949 (Esquire)
Keith Bird (cl), Tommy Pollard (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Charlie Short (b), Carlo Krahmer (d), Cab Kaye (voc-1).
How High The Moon(1)/Esquire Blues/Tom's Tea Party/Revol.

Ralph Sharon Bobtet - November 9th, 1949 (Harmony)
Harry Roche (tb), Harry Klein (as), Ronnie Scott (ts), Bob Burns (bs), Ralph Sharon (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Charles Short (b), Martin Aston (d), Doreen Henry (vcl).
Euphonia/How High The Moon/Zanzibar. (These titles remain unissued).

Ralph Sharon Trio - Late, 1949 (Technidisc)
Ralph Sharon (p), Joe Muddel (b), Laurie Morgan (d).
Lady Bird/September In The Rain/Sweet Lorraine/Shaw 'Nuff.

Ralph Sharon Sextet - March 27th, 1950 (Melodisc)
Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Ralph Sharon (p), Victor Feldman (vib), Pete Chilver (g), Jack Fallon (b), Martin Aston (d).
Burman's Bauble*/Boptical Illusion*/I've Got You Under My Skin/There's A Small Hotel.
(*Jasmine CD - Bop-In' Britain - Vol 1)

Ralph Sharon Sextet - August 29th, September 14th, 1950 (Melodisc)
Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Ralph Sharon (p), Victor Feldman (vib), Dave Goldberg (g), Jack Fallon (b), Martin Aston (d).
The Way You Look Tonight/A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square/The Very Though Of You/Sloppy Joe.

Ralph Sharon Sextet - January 9th, 1951 (Melodisc)
Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Ralph Sharon (p), Victor Feldman (vib), Alan Metcalfe (g), Bert Howard (b), Martin Aston (d).
Heart And Soul/You Go To My Head/Two Sleepy People/Stalking The Stork.

The 1951 Melody Maker All-Stars - February 3rd, 1951 (Esquire)
Kenny Baker (tp), Gordon Langhorn (tb), Ronnie Chamberlain, Henry McKenzie (cl), Ronnie Scott (ts), Johnny Dankworth (as), Dave Shand (bs), Victor Feldman (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Ivor Mairants (g), Charlie Short (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Brand's Essence*/Marshall's Plan*.
(*Giant Steps Records CD - Great Scott)
(*Proper Records 4CD Box set - Ronnie Scott "Boppin' With Scott")
(*Acrobat CD - Ronnie Scott Not So Fast - The Complete Esquire Recordings 1951)

Ralph Sharon Trio - March 22nd, 1951 (Melodisc)
Ralph Sharon (p), Bert Howard (b), Rex Bennett (d).
Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams*/Don's Dilemma/Skylark/A Foggy Day*/You're My Lucky Star/The Folks Who Live On The Hill*/Slightly Oliver/A Bachelor Guy. (*unissued)

Ralph Sharon Sextet - October 25th, 1951 (Melodisc)
Keith Bird (ts), Martin Slavin (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Alan Metcalfe (g), Bert Howard (b), Leon Roy (d).
I Get A Kick Out Of You/Someone To Watch Over Me/This Can't Be Love*/Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart. (*unissued)

November 13th, 1951 (Melodisc)
Personnel as October 25th.
I'm Beginning To See The Light*/Where Or When/Serenade In Blue/April In Paris*. (*unissued)

Ronnie Scott & Kenny Graham - December 3rd, 1951 (Esquire)
Ronnie Scott (ts), Kenny Graham (ts), Victor Feldman (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Lennie Bush (b), Tony Crombie (d), plus other rhythm.
Not So Fast+/Battle Royal*+/Fast+/Twin Beds+.
(*Giant Steps Records CD - Great Scott)
(+Proper Records 4CD Box set - Ronnie Scott "Boppin' With Scott")
(+Acrobat CD - Ronnie Scott Not So Fast - The Complete Esquire Recordings 1951)

The 1952 Melody Maker All-Stars - March 24th, 1952 (Esquire 20-001)
Jimmy Deuchar (tp), Keith Christie (tb), Vic Ash (cl), Ronnie Scott (ts), Johnny Dankworth (as), Victor Feldman (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Ivor Mairants (g), Joe Muddel (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Leap Year (2 takes one take on*)/Up The Poll (2 takes one take on^)/M.M.Special (Part 1)/M.M.Special (Part 2).
(*Giant Steps Records CD - Great Scott)
(*Proper Records 4CD Box set - Ronnie Scott "Boppin' With Scott")
(^Avid 2 CD set - Cleo Laine & John Dankworth: Three Early LPs & More)

Ralph Sharon Sextet - June 6th, 1952 (Melodisc)
Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Alan Graham (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Roy Plummer (g), Joe Muddel (b), Harvey Bard (d).
These Foolish Things*/Sometimes I'm Happy*/Bill/I't Don't Mean A Thing. (*unissued)

Ralph Sharon Sextet - November 2nd, 1952 (Lyragon)
Tommy Whittle (ts), Alan Graham (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Ike Isaacs (g), Joe Muddel (b), Kenny Harris (d).
Love Walked In/Room 504/Deep Purple/We'll Gather Lilacs.
November 11th, 1952 (Lyragon AF-1)
As November 2nd, except Jimmy Skidmore (ts) replaces Whittle .
As Time Goes By/She's Funny That Way/I'm Shooting High (JS out)/I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good.

After the dates for Lyragon the Ralph Sharon Trio, (Sharon, Joe Muddel (or Jack Fallon), Tony Kinsey), recorded a couple of commercial sessions for Decca between December 2nd, 1952 and March 5th, 1953 which were released in LP format. Sharon did not record again in the UK until 1990. His recording sessions under his own name between 1955 and 1964 were all recorded in New York with American musicians.

After his permanent move to New York in the mid 1950s Sharon's recorded his first album under his own name on May 27th, 1955 for the US London label. Titled Easy Jazz it was by the Ralph Sharon Sextet and featured: J.R.Monterose (ts), Teddy Charles (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Joe Puma (g), Charles Mingus (b), Kenny Clarke (d). The resulting record was released in the UK as London LL1488...

Sharon's second album under his own name was recorded in 1956 for the US Bethlehem label. Titled The Ralph Sharon Trio it featured: Ralph Sharon (p), Jay Cave (b), Christy Febbo (d). The resulting record was not released in the UK...

In November, 1956 Ralph Sharon recorded another album in New York for the Bethlehem label. Titled Mr. & Mrs. Jazz it was by the Ralph Sharon Sextet plus vocals by Mrs. Sharon (Sue Ryan). The Sextet comprised: J.R.Monterose (ts), Eddie Costa (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Joe Puma (g), Milt Hinton (b), Jo Jones (d), Sue Ryan (Sharon) (vcl). The resulting record was not released in the UK...

On January 9th and 10th, and February 5th and 7th, 1957 Ralph Sharon recorded another sextet album in New York for the Rana label. Titled Around the world in jazz the Sextet was made up of : Lucky Thompson (ts), Eddie Costa (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Joe Puma (g), Oscar Pettiford (b), Osie Johnson (d). The resulting record was not released in the UK...

On June 3rd, 1958 Ralph Sharon recorded a quartet album in New York for the Argo label. Titled 2:38 a.m. the quartet was made up of : Ralph Sharon (p), Allan Mack (b), Billy Exiner (d), Candido Camero (cga). The resulting record was not released in the UK...

In 1965 Ralph Sharon recorded a trio album in New York for the Columbia label. Titled Music for the late hours / The Tony Bennett song book, this was his last own name album for 25 years. By now he was full time musical director for the vocalist Tony Bennett. The trio was made up of : Ralph Sharon (p), Hal Gaylor (b), Billy Exiner (d). The resulting record was not released in the UK...

In 1990 Sharon began to record, in London, a series of trio CDs on the Horatio Nelson label featuring the work of the great American song writers...
Ralph Sharon Trio - 1990 (The magic of Cole Porter - Horatio Nelson)
Ralph Sharon (p), Lennie Bush (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Twenty six of Cole Porter's best known songs*.
(*West End 2CD set - The Essential Collection - The magic of Porter & Kern)

Ralph Sharon Trio - c1991 (The magic of George Gershwin - Horatio Nelson)
Ralph Sharon (p), Lennie Bush (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Twenty one of George Gershwin's best known songs*.
(*West End 2CD set - The Essential Collection - The magic of Gershwin & Rodgers)

Ralph Sharon Trio - 1991 (The magic of Richard Rodgers - Horatio Nelson)
Ralph Sharon (p), Lennie Bush (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Twenty eight of Richard Rodgers best known songs*.
(*West End 2CD set - The Essential Collection - The magic of Gershwin & Rodgers)

Ralph Sharon Trio - 1992 (The magic of Irving Berlin - Horatio Nelson)
Ralph Sharon (p), Lennie Bush (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Twenty seven of Irving Berlin's best known songs*.
(*Avid CD - The magic of Irving Berlin)

Ralph Sharon Trio - 1993 (The magic of Jerome Kern - Horatio Nelson)
Ralph Sharon (p), Lennie Bush (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Twenty five of Jerome Kern's Berlin's best known songs*.
(*West End 2CD set - The Essential Collection - The magic of Porter & Kern)

The Jerome Kern CD was the last of the song writers series to be recorded in London. Future issues were recorded in New York and not all were available in the UK...

In October, 1994 Ralph Sharon recorded a trio album in New York for the DRG label titled Swings the Sammy Cahn songbook. The trio was made up of : Ralph Sharon (p), Douglas Richeson (b), Clayton Cameron (d) and is augmented on three of the sixteen titles by Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax. The resulting CD may be available in the UK from specialist importers...

On February 10th and 11th, 1996 Ralph Sharon recorded another trio album in New York for the DRG label titled Portrait of Harold (The Harold Arlen songbook. The seventeen songs are performed by a trio made up of : Ralph Sharon (p,arr), Douglas Richeson (b), Clayton Cameron (d). The resulting CD may be available in the UK from specialist importers...

In May, 1997 Ralph Sharon recorded another trio album in New York for the DRG label titled Plays the Harry Warren songbook. The eighteen songs are performed by a trio made up of : Ralph Sharon (p,arr), Douglas Richeson (b), Clayton Cameron (d). The resulting CD may be available in the UK from specialist importers...

In 2001, Ralph Sharon recorded a quartet album in New York for the DRG label titled The Ralph Blane songbook. The quartet comprised: Ralph Sharon (p,arr), Gray Sargent (g), Douglas Richeson (b), Clayton Cameron (d). The resulting CD may be available in the UK from specialist importers...


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