Release Year: 2015
Label: Basin Street
- I’m So New Olreans
- Mexican Special
- At Last (Feat. Nayo Jones)
- I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
- Put Your Right Foot Forward
- Jock-A-Mo (Iko Iko)
- Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Feat. Kaylin Orleans Ruffins)
- I’m So New Orleans Part 2
- Kermit Ruffins – Trumpet, Vocals
- Kevin Morris – Bass
- Jerry Barbarin Anderson – Drums
- Yoshitaka ‘Z2’ Tsuji – Piano, Keyboard
- Nayo Jones – Vocals
- Kaylin Orleans Ruffins – Vocals
- June Yamagishi – Guitar
- Haruka Kikuchi – Trombone
- Britney Chauntae – Vocals
- Percy Williams – Percussion
- Dexter Daily – Steel Drums
Reviewed In OffBeat
Geraldine Wyckoff (Jazz Fest Bible 2015)
The title of the album is actually also the name of the first and last cuts of trumpeter and vocalist Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers’ latest CD, “I’m So New Orleans.” Okay, got it. The opener is a typical, swinging, good-spirited Ruffins tune with a strong intro by drummer Jerry Barbarin Anderson. It’s also good to hear the trumpeter teamed with a trombonist once again, with Haruka Kikuchi up to the challenge.
In Ruffins’ lyrics on both cuts, one can learn more about the real musicians and nature of this city than, perhaps, watching episodes of the HBO Treme series. He tells of his love for Danny Barker, Uncle Lionel and Fats Domino, and then at the end, when he revisits the subject, he reveals that he didn’t come out of the 9th Ward until he was 15 years old and when he was 12 years old, his grandfather used to give him a Miller pony when they watched the television show “Sanford & Son.” Okay, got it.
With pianist Yoshitaka “Z2” Tsuji, a wizard throughout the album, onboard, it makes perfect sense for Ruffins to dig into Professor Longhair’s “Tipitina.” As a gritty singer with a laugh in his voice, Ruffins boasts just the right vocal attitude for the classic number. He pushes the trumpet solo by strongly repeating a phrase, sending the whole tune upwards.
“Mexican Special” is a spectacular remake of Ruffins’ and the Frazier brothers’—bass drummer Keith and tuba man Phil—composition first recorded on the Rebirth Brass Band’s 1989 release Feel Like Funkin’ Up. The tempo is slowed down from the street beat of the original to a swaying Caribbean rhythm. Ruffins flutters his trumpet while guest Dexter Daily enhances the island flavor on steel drums.
Ruffins again returns to past Rebirth favs for “Put Your Right Foot Forward,” which he co-wrote with Phil Frazier. It’s modernized here, including a strong bass line by Kevin Morris that keeps its timeless message fresh for another generation. The tune also goes from the streets to the stage with an expanded version of the Barbecue Swingers with guests guitarist June Yamagishi and vocalist Britney Chauntae.
Ruffins’ love of family is also in evidence as he brings in his daughter, Kaylin Orleans Ruffins, for a duet on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Her pure tone and rhythmic instincts take this number beyond sentimentality. Think Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.
Kermit Ruffins does Kermit Ruffins on #imsoneworleans, and that’s so New Orleans.