Kermit Ruffins: Bogalusa Strut


Bogalusa Strut


Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers


Swing This! (Basin Street 102)

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Kermit Ruffins (trumpet, vocals),

Corey Henry (trombone), Kevin Morris (bass), Emile Vinette (piano), Jerry Anderson (drums), Roderick Paulin (reeds)




Recorded: New Orleans, no date given (CD released in 1999)


Rating: 87/100 (learn more)

How Dixieland music has changed! When played by Kermit Ruffins it comes in a swinging 4/4 time with no more of that two-beat rhythm grandpa and grandma liked so well. The back beat can even be as wide as Canal Street nowadays, imparting a certain funkiness to the proceedings that is appealing but a bit different from what Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver played for those first fans of hot music. Solos are now more important than counterpoint. And even if no one ever actually said "Modern Dixieland = White Imitators" (okay, maybe someone did mutter that from the back row), jazz fans should be happy to find a little more diversity in the front line. Ruffins, for his part, plays with enthusiasm, and knows how to put on a show. Almost anything can happen at a Ruffins' gig—he exchanged vows with his beloved during a performance, and will even cook up a killin' barbecue to serve up along with the music. "Bogalusa Strut" captures his band in fine form, and is worth downloading even if no sauce and ribs come with the MP3 file. There is a tendency for jazz insiders to dismiss music that is so appealing on the surface level, but Ruffins knows the horn and is an engaging, cogent soloist. Dixieland could hardly find a better advocate in the new millennium.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


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