This week, let's check out some video clips featuring trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, who's coming to St. Louis to play on Wednesday, July 24 and Thursday, July 25 at The Gramophone.
The 48-year-old New Orleans native first gained fame for co-founding the Rebirth Brass Band while still a high-school student. He's gone on to establish a career as a solo performer and crowd-pleasing entertainer, playing weekly gigs in his hometown at Vaughan's and his own club, Kermit's Treme Speakeasy, and occasionally venturing out on tour or the festival circuit.
Many locals consider Ruffins an ambassador for New Orleans music, and his national profile also has been raised considerably in recent years by several appearances playing himself in HBO's Treme, often working opposite main cast member Wendell Pierce, who plays trombonist Antoine Baptiste in the series. The trumpeter has released 13 albums as a leader, the latest of which, We Partyin' Traditional Style, came out earlier this year on Basin Street Records.
Today's first two clips were recorded last September in New Orleans as part of an online video series sponsored by the Bonnaroo music festival. Up top, Ruffins and his band the Barbecue Swingers play "Drop Me Off In New Orleans," and down below, it's "If You're A Viper."
Below that, you can see and hear Ruffins play the New Orleans standard "St. James Infirmary" in an undated video recorded at Tipitina's in New Orleans.
That's followed by a version of "Skokiaan," a South African song made famous in this country by Louis Armstrong and performed by Ruffins during one of his appearances on Treme. This clip was recorded by an audience member at Brooklyn Bowl in NYC, and though the video bounces a bit, the audio quality is good.
Then, it's back to New Orleans for a a version of "Exactly Like You" recorded during this year's JazzFest at the Louisiana Music Factory.
Last but not least, there's an extended video of Ruffins' concert last year with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra at LSU, which gave him a chance to show off his trumpet and vocal stylings outside of the small-combo context.