Kermit Ruffins

Swing This

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New Orleans trumpeter/vocalist Ruffins concentrates on good time jive and swing, with a big band taste and second-line influence on this CD with his group, the Barbeque Kings. His bright trumpet sound and slightly Louis Armstrong-inflected vocal style is complemented by his band of fellow young jazzmen, the most distinctive being trombonist Corey Henry. Ruffins wrote four of the 12 selections: "Treme Second Line" (Blow Da Whistle)," "Can't Take My Baby Nowhere," and "Hide the Reefer" are silly goof numbers, the latter with a Gene Krupa rhythm. The title track is a bopping instrumental where Ruffins, Henry, and tenor saxophonist Roderick Paulin get to blow a little. Ed Frank's "Fruit Punch" is also a swinging instrumental with promising solos. Ruffins cops Eddie Jefferson's lyric on "Things Are Getting Better," adding a peanut vendor line. He sings "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Bucket's Got a Hole in It" with that self-effaced Satchmo charm. Additional horns turn the ensemble into a big band sound for "Ma, He's Makin' Eyes at Me" and "But Not for Me." Six-year-old Neshia Ruffins and seven-year-old Christina Ruffins join four-year-old Milan Arriola on a truly kiddish "This Little Light of Mine," and the CD kicks with a true New Orleans trad classic, "Bogalusa Strut." As he matures, Ruffins should grow out of camp into pure musical value. This is a quite an entertaining recording.

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