Kermit Ruffins

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Kermit Ruffins
Kermit Ruffins.jpg
Kermit Ruffins at the 2007 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Background information
Birth name Kermit Ruffins
Born (1964-12-19) December 19, 1964 (age 49)
Origin New Orleans, Louisiana U.S.
Genres Jazz
Rhythm and blues
Occupations Musician
Instruments Trumpet
Vocals
Years active 1973–present
Labels Basin Street Records
Putumayo Records
Justice Records
Associated acts Rebirth Brass Band
Danny Barker
Dr. Michael White
Irvin Mayfield

Kermit Ruffins (born December 19, 1964) is an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and composer from New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. He has been influenced by Louis Armstrong and Louis Jordan and says that the highest note he can hit on trumpet is a high C. He often accompanies his songs with his own vocals. Most of his bands perform New Orleans jazz standards, though he also composes many of his own pieces. Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Ruffins is an unabashed entertainer who plays trumpet with a bright, silvery tone, sings with off-the-cuff charm and never gets too abstruse in his material."[1]

Early life[edit]

He started playing trumpet in 8th grade at Lawless Junior High School in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. He attended Joseph S. Clark High School in the 6th Ward.[2] In high school, he played a little bit of classical music at the behest of a strict band teacher.[3]

He developed an appreciation for cooking from his grandmother, observing her movements in the kitchen.[4]

Career[edit]

Rebirth Brass Band[edit]

Kermit Ruffins (left) with the late Danny Barker at French Quarter Festival

Kermit Ruffins co-founded the Rebirth Brass Band in 1983 while attending Clark High School, in the Tremé neighborhood.[5] He made his first recordings with the Rebirth in 1984. The group was inspired by The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, a band of slightly older musicians credited with bringing influences of funk and contemporary bebop into New Orleans style brass bands. Before they achieved the popularity allowing them to play regularly in local music venues, the Rebirth often busked around the French Quarter for tips. They soon became a houseband at the Glass House, previously the Dirty Dozen's home venue. The Rebirth once had a gig in New York City at Lone Star Cafe, but were hassled by police for having no permit when they began marching outdoors as they always did in New Orleans.[6]

Barbecue Swingers[edit]

Ruffins founded the Barbecue Swingers in 1992, a traditional jazz quintet. He is known for cooking on a barbecue at his shows. Every Thursday since the early 1990s, they have played a show at Vaughan's Bar in the Bywater neighborhood which is very popular with both locals and visitors. His 2007 Basin Street Records release, Live at Vaughan's was recorded during one of his performances there.

He has also performed at hundreds of funerals during his career in The Crescent City.[7] In 2003 the band received a nomination at the Big Easy Entertainment Awards, which recognizes local talents. He appeared as himself in HBO's Treme as a recurring character.[8]

Gallery[edit]

Discography[edit]

Year Album Notes Label
1993 World on a String debut album Justice Records
1994 The Big Butter and Egg Man - Justice Records
1996 Hold on Tight - Justice Records
1998 The Barbecue Swingers Live - Basin Street Records
1999 Swing This - Basin Street Records
2001 1533 St. Philip Street - Basin Street Records
2002 Big Easy - Basin Street Records
2005 Throwback - Basin Street Records
2007 Live at Vaughan's - Basin Street Records
2009 Livin' a Treme Life - Basin Street Records
2009 Have a Crazy Cool Christmas - Basin Street Records
2010 Happy Talk - Basin Street Records
2013 We Partyin' Traditional Style! - Basin Street Records

Filmography[edit]

Awards[edit]

  • 2003 - Offbeat's Best of The Beat Awards in Best Traditional Jazz Band or Performer for Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pareles, Jon (2001-07-16). "The Good Times of Way Down Yonder...". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  2. ^ Lichtenstein, Grace (1993). Musical Gumbo: The Music of New Orleans. W.W. Norton & Company Inc. p. 239. ISBN 0-393-03468-2. 
  3. ^ "Ibid"; Kermit Ruffins: Trumpeter of Kermit Ruffins and
  4. ^ Ruffins, Kermit. "Kermit Ruffins at All About Jazz". Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  5. ^ Edge, John T. (2003). New Orleans. Lonely Planet. p. 30. ISBN 1-74059-193-3. 
  6. ^ "Ibid": Lichtenstein, Grace
  7. ^ "Ibid"; Kermit Ruffins: Trumpeter of Kermit Ruffins and
  8. ^ Simmons, David Lee. "Keys to the Kingdom". Retrieved 2007-05-31. 

External links[edit]