We Partyin' Traditional Style!

Kermit Ruffins

Basin Street Records, 2013


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


It's been a busy decade for New Orleans resident Kermit Ruffins. The jazz trumpeter, composer, and vocalist has released over a dozen albums since 1993, and his Louis Armstrong and Louis Jordan influenced compositions brought attention to his home in the wake of the Katrina tragedy. Lately what he's really become known for is his recurring role as himself on the HBO hit show my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Treme, and he somehow also finds the time be a restaurant entrepreneur as well.

As hinted by the title, Ruffins and his esteemed band pump out a lively listen here full of classics that are reworked with Ruffins' playful, party vibe. The timeless New Orleans anthem “When The Saints Go Marching In” sees new life here, as does the ballad “Careless Love.” Additionally, classics like “Chinatown, My Chinatown,” “All Of Me” (a duet with Mykia Jovan), and “When it's Sleepy Time Down South” are also brought into the mix and given the once over with pianos, trumpets, clarinets, trombones, and on occasion a banjo.

Though Ruffins is front and center here with his vocals and trumpet, many songs highlight certain parts of his band to the fullest. “Jeepers Creepers” will get you on the dance floor and is illuminated by the stand up bass of Richard Moten, and on “Treme Second Line” Lucien Barbarin's trombone steals the spotlight. Ruffins pays homage to those that inspired him in his formative years, his rendition of Satchmo's "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" boasting his own warmth and raw vocals, exemplifying that Armstrong has indeed had the most impact on his own work. 

If there was ever a soundtrack to the New Orleans lifestyle this would be it. Seeing as Ruffins plays these songs all over bars in New Orleans, you can take the album at face value. Together with the finest talent in the area of Traditional New Orleans Jazz, Ruffins brings a new radiance to plenty of songs from the '20s and probably had as much fun doing it as you will listening to it.

Rating: B

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