Kermit Ruffins: Big Easy (2002)
Senior Contributor since 1997...wants to know if Gene Harris is playing "Summertime" in Heaven...
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In the Vernacular...
Big Easy offers a couple of surprises but for the most part is the status quo (and a fine one at that) of what we have come to expect from Kermit Ruffins. A homegrown product of New Orleans, Ruffins represents the local journeyman musician in a town full of journeyman musicians. Ruffins is neither a great trumpet player nor a great singer. In that, he does represent all that is good about traditional New Orleans Jazz. He is cognizant of the gravity of the canon, as he strolls through "Tiger Rag," Palm Court Strut," "On The Sunny Side of the Street" (with revamped lyrics), and "Basin Street Blues." in all of these, Ruffins provides is unique, rough-around-the-edges vocals. Ruffins is not afraid to take chances. The big surprise of the disc comes on Ruffins’ instrumental take on War’s "The World is a Ghetto," where the trumpeter’s horn tells a dire tale of want. "Stardust" is a real treat as presented by Ruffins as he infuses the Carmichael lyrics with a solid sincerity, the same sincerity that hangs on every piece of this music like the humidity on the street signs of the French Quarter.
Track Listing: Tiger Rag; Skokiaan; When I Die; Wake Up Nessie; Palm Court Strut; Stardust; On The Sunny Side Of The Street; Breakfast, Lunch, And Dinner; Big Easy; The World Is A Ghetto; Basin Street Blues; One Life; Skokiaan. (Total Time: 73:53).
Personnel: Kermit Ruffins