Kermit Ruffins: Just a Closer Walk With Thee


Just a Closer Walk With Thee


Kermit Ruffins (trumpet, vocals)


Throwback (Basin Street 105)

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Kermit Ruffins (trumpet, vocals),

with the Rebirth Brass Band


Recorded: New Orleans, 2005


Rating: 85/100 (learn more)

Here's a version of a "Closer Walk" that is taken at a true walking pace, slow enough so that even grandpa can keep up with the strolling band. The connection to the New Orleans funeral parade tradition can be felt in each bar. But this isn't just a history in old time music—there are bits of modern soul and funk added into the mix. Ruffins possesses a spacious range and firm command of his horn, but he uses so much vibrato that I don't think there is any left for the rest of the band by the time he is done. The result is a track that sounds just a bit too stylized and over-the-top for my tastes, jazz for the tourists passing through town. Mary Griffin's vocal is the most authentic ingredient on this track, with a real gospel-ish delivery that is perfectly suited for the lyric.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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