Editors’ Notes Trumpeter/vocalist Kermit Ruffins is steeped in the various musical strains of New Orleans. In the early ‘80s he co-founded the Rebirth Brass Band, a group that fused hip-hop, funk, and jazz with the second-line tradition of his hometown. He started recording as a solo artist in the early ‘90s, and was exposed to a wider audience when he played himself on the popular television series, Tremé. On 2010’s Happy Talk, Ruffins leads a big band that brings a rousing energy to the proceedings. Things kick off with the old-timey “Panama,” a track that features several sweet solos, including turns by Ruffins, trombonist Mark Mullins, and clarinetist Dr. Michael White. Cy Coleman’s “Hey Look Me Over,” with a smoothly swinging arrangement by pianist Matt Lemmler, finds Ruffins displaying considerable vocal charm. The Harold Arlen classic, “If I Only Had a Brain,” gets an extended, nine-minute workout. As the band grooves in Latin mode, Ruffin brings a sense of playfulness to the song’s lyrics. The album wraps up with a swaggering, bluesy original, “New Orleans (My Home Town).”

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