When Ron Sutton Jr. sat in at a local club with Freddie Hubbard a year or so ago, the famed horn player was sufficiently impressed with the 19-year-old D.C. native's prowess on the saxophone to call Sutton's father from the Virgin Islands a couple of days later and say so.
That's really not so surprising, considering that Sutton's father, Ron Sutton, has followed jazz all his life and has hosted radio shows featuring it since the early '70s. And Sutton's grandfather "hung out in all the nightspots and knew all the musicians around town" and his grandmother gave piano lessons to the late trumpeter Clifford Brown. "I've been into it since day one because all my family's been into it," says Ron Sutton Jr.
At Duke Ellington School for the Arts he found peers whose interest in the music was as strong as his, began playing in the school's jazz ensemble and participating in jazz workshops, played at benefits, "hung out in clubs with my father," and, of course, sat in whenever the opportunity presented itself. This Wednesday through Friday he will take his own group into Torts. Charles Wright will be on guitar, Oteil Burbridge on bass, Christopher Fender at the drums and Shirl Gibson on vocals.