Kermit Ruffins | Irvin Mayfield

A Beautiful World (vinyl)

Format: LP 12inch
Label: Basin Street
UPC: 0652905071717
Catnr: BSRLP 07171
Release date: 03 November 2017
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1 LP 12inch
Notify when available
 
Label
Basin Street
UPC
0652905071717
Catalogue number
BSRLP 07171
Release date
03 November 2017
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN
DE

About the album

A Beautiful World is a collaboration between two friends, Kermit Ruffins, the big easy ambassador of good times and Rebirth Brass Band co-founder, who has appeared on HBO’s Treme, Bravo’s Top Chef, Late Night with Stephen Colbert, and the soundtrack for Disney’s Jungle Book in a duet with Bill Murray and backing Christopher Walken, and Irvin Mayfield, two-time Grammy-award winner, Billboard Music Award-winner, author, and producer. Combined, the two musicians share a staggering output of nearly fifty records, the majority released on Basin Street Records, an international independent music powerhouse that asked its two most recorded artists to collaborate on this centerpiece of the label’s 20th anniversary celebration. A Beautiful World is the ultimate party in record form. Producer Mayfield worked tirelessly to translate the eclectic soul of Kermit Ruffins to twenty-six tracks. On the process of making the album, Ruffins explains, “Good food and good music are my passions. I wanted to make a record people could eat.”

Mayfield realized that vision by bringing in 57 musicians arranged in four configurations built around a jazz structure: big band, traditional jazz marching band, chamber orchestra and an amended funk ensemble. Some Basin Street Records artists joined to accomplish this goal: The king of New Orleans brass, Rebirth Brass Band; the professorial clarinetist Dr. Michael White; the musical genius, Jason Marsalis; and world-renowned percussionist, Bill Summers. Other notable featured artists include: Haley Reinhart of American Idol, Cyril Neville (of the Meters and Neville Brothers), New Orleans bass legend George Porter Jr. (of The Meters and countless other bands), Tremé-crooner John Boutté, the inimitable and monstrous voice of Glen David Andrews, The King of Tremé Shannon Powell, a nine-piece string ensemble, and the silky-smooth spoken word bass of New Orleans-born actor Wendell Pierce (USA’s Suits, HBO’s The Wire, HBO’s Tremé).
'A Beautiful World' ist eine Zusammenarbeit zwischen zwei Freunden: Kermit Ruffins, dem Big Easy Botschafter der guten Zeiten und Mitbegründer der Rebirth Brass Band und Irvin Mayfield, zweimaliger Grammy-Preisträger, Billboard Music Award-Winner, Autor und Produzent.
Die beiden Musiker teilen sich eine erstaunliche Produktion von fast fünfzig Schallplatten, die meisten davon auf Basin Street Records erschienen. Basin Street hat seine beiden bekanntesten Künstler aufgefordert, an diesem Kernstück der 20-Jahr-Feier des Labels mitzuwirken. A Beautiful World ist die ultimative Party in Rekordform. Produzent Mayfield arbeitete unermüdlich daran, die eklektische Seele von Kermit Ruffins in sechsundzwanzig Tracks zu übersetzen. Zum Prozess der Herstellung des Albums, erklärt Ruffins,"Gutes Essen und gute Musik sind meine Leidenschaften. Ich wollte eine Platte machen, die die Leute essen können."
Mayfield realisierte diese Vision, indem er 57 Musiker in vier Konfigurationen zusammenführte, die sich um eine Jazz-Struktur gruppierten: Big Band, traditionelle Jazz-Marschkapelle, Kammerorchester und ein modifiziertes Funk-Ensemble. Einige Basin Street Records Künstler schlossen sich an, um dieses Ziel zu erreichen: Der König der New Orleans Bläser, der Klarinettist Dr. Michael White. das musikalische Genie Jason Marsalis und der weltberühmte Perkussionist Bill Summers. Weitere bemerkenswerte Künstler sind: Haley Reinhart von American Idol, Cyril Neville (von den Meters und Neville Brothers), New Orleans Basslegende George Porter Jr. (von The Meters und unzähligen anderen Bands), Tremé-Künstler John Boutté, die unnachahmliche Stimme von Glen David Andrews, The King of Tremé Shannon Powell, ein zweimaliger Grammy-Preisträger, Billboard Music Award-Winner, Autor und Produzent.

Artist(s)

Kermit Ruffins (trumpet)

“And We Live!” From playing himself in the HBO Series Treme, to barbecuing outside his bar, Kermit’s Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge, to sitting in with Jon Batiste and Stay Human on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the trumpeter/vocalist keeps himself busy when he isn’t on stage doing what he does best—entertaining and sharing his love of life with the world. Ruffins continues making his imprint on the world with wider exposure including appearances on Bravo’s Top Chef and on the soundtrack to Disney’s Jungle Book with Bill Murray and Christopher Walken. He personifies the laid-back vibe of New Orleans. But he did not come by his gifts easily. Ruffins did his homework and developed his stage persona and musical act by studying...
more

“And We Live!”

From playing himself in the HBO Series Treme, to barbecuing outside his bar, Kermit’s Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge, to sitting in with Jon Batiste and Stay Human on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the trumpeter/vocalist keeps himself busy when he isn’t on stage doing what he does best—entertaining and sharing his love of life with the world. Ruffins continues making his imprint on the world with wider exposure including appearances on Bravo’s Top Chef and on the soundtrack to Disney’s Jungle Book with Bill Murray and Christopher Walken. He personifies the laid-back vibe of New Orleans.

But he did not come by his gifts easily. Ruffins did his homework and developed his stage persona and musical act by studying artists who came before him. He watched videos of Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway until the tape wore out, cut his teeth busking the streets of the French Quarter, and apprenticed on stages with local legends “Uncle” Lionel Batiste and Danny Barker.

Consider his lengthy musical career. While still in high school, he co-founded the Rebirth Brass Band – a group that revolutionized the brass band community in New Orleans with songs like “Do Watcha Wanna” that have become anthems. Rebirth’s growth and success bolstered the rejuvenation of the New Orleans second-line culture that now flourishes.

Still, after less than a decade fronting the band and touring the world, Ruffins tired of the road. He missed the culture at home so much that he traveled, like fellow New Orleans icon Fats Domino, with cooking equipment and prepared his favorite foods in hotel rooms far and wide.

He made a bold and risky decision to leave Rebirth and go solo, having no guarantees the public would embrace his new direction. At the time there were very few young musicians playing traditional jazz. Nearly all the backing musicians on his first album were decades older.

Now, Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers are a beloved institution – a must-see for every New Orleans visitor and a favorite of local critics and music lovers. As he’d helped spur the formation of new brass bands in his 20s, he’s since influenced the city’s musical direction in the 21st century. Dozens of young musicians and bands are essentially playing the same music Ruffins pioneered with his solo act. They sing into retro microphones, dress in dandy suits and perform the timeless tunes that defined a decades-past era.

Yet Ruffins has not been content to remain musically static. His live show has included elements of hip-hop since his days with Rebirth. He began rapping on albums long before it was commonplace for jazz musicians to have hip-hop influences.

It’s not the first time he’s taken musical chances. He had a short-lived progressive jazz band that experimented with arrangements of songs from the 1970s. His 2009 album, Livin’ A Tremé Life, included a version of Johnny Nash’s monster 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now.” It also had songs reflecting Ruffins’ deep roots in the R&B of the Crescent City, like Allen Toussaint’s “Holy Cow.”

In the ’90s, Ruffins fronted a big band with arrangements from great maestro Wardell Quezergue. He stocked the band with superior local musicians and the performances were on par with great bands of the ’40s, updated to reflect Ruffins’ effervescent personality. His 2010 release, Happy Talk, revisited that territory with a full horn section and sumptuous arrangements of tunes like “If I Only Had a Brain” (from The Wizard of Oz) and the Louis Armstrong hit “La Vie En Rose.”

With over fifteen albums to his credit including live albums capturing his inimitable stage presence (1998’s The Barbecue Swingers Live and 2005’s Live at Vaughan’s), a collaboration with his Rebirth Brass Band brethren (2005’s Throwback), a holiday album (Have A Crazy Cool Christmas [2009]), an homage to New Orleans’ traditional jazz (We Partyin’ Traditional Style! [2010]), and the party-anthem packed #imsoneworleans (2015) the New Orleans trumpeter shows no signs of slowing down.

Every year Ruffins ebullient attitude and love of his hometown music firms his reputation as the New Orleans idol. Dedicated to preserving and passing on the tradition of jazz, he is often compared to his own hero, Louis Armstrong.

On his likeness to “Satch” Kermit says, “That’s someone who really, really led one of America’s true art forms. He was really the cherry on top of New Orleans music. And now I see it being passed on to younger kids, and for me to have a role in that and to maybe do the things he did is so spiritual to me.”

Whether he’s slinging barbecue, adding to his collection of fedoras, or playing at one of his regular weekly shows, Kermit Ruffins does it with joy and passion, an example of what it means to be a true New Orleanian.


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Irvin Mayfield (trumpet)

A Grammy and Billboard Award-winning producer, composer, trumpet player, and author.  Mayfield’s credits include over 30 records, collaborations with Frank Ocean, Lenny Kravitz, George Clinton, Wyclef Jean, Bob Weir, Ani DiFranco, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Haley Reinhart, Wynton Marsalis, Dr. John, Ernest Gaines, and Gordon Parks. His most recent musical project is a trio called Cirque Du Freak in which he and partners, Ronald Markham and John Díaz-Cortés, play a variety of synthesizers, drum machines, and the occasional trumpet over electronic beats. His career started in Latin music as a cofounder of the celebrated group, Los Hombres Calientes with veteran percussionist Bill Summers in 1998. Since then, Mayfield has been named the Jazz Artist in Residence at the Apollo Theater in 2014, Artistic Director...
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A Grammy and Billboard Award-winning producer, composer, trumpet player, and author.

Mayfield’s credits include over 30 records, collaborations with Frank Ocean, Lenny Kravitz, George Clinton, Wyclef Jean, Bob Weir, Ani DiFranco, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Haley Reinhart, Wynton Marsalis, Dr. John, Ernest Gaines, and Gordon Parks.
His most recent musical project is a trio called Cirque Du Freak in which he and partners, Ronald Markham and John Díaz-Cortés, play a variety of synthesizers, drum machines, and the occasional trumpet over electronic beats.
His career started in Latin music as a cofounder of the celebrated group, Los Hombres Calientes with veteran percussionist Bill Summers in 1998. Since then, Mayfield has been named the Jazz Artist in Residence at the Apollo Theater in 2014, Artistic Director of Jazz from 2009 to 2014 at the Minnesota Orchestra, and Founder and Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra from 2002 to 2016.
Mayfield’s catalogue includes live recordings at the prestigious Blue Note Jazz Club, the Village Vanguard, and most recently a live recording at the Newport Jazz Festival. Domestically, Mayfield has headlined all major performing arts centers including Carnegie Hall and has twice performed at the White House for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Internationally, Mayfield has headlined major Jazz festivals from North Sea in Europe to the Sydney Jazz Festival in Australia and has toured extensively throughout four continents.
Mayfield has authored two coffee table books, A Love Letter to New Orleans and New Orleans Jazz Playhouse, and has received an honorary doctorate from Dillard University. Mayfield was nominated by President George W. Bush and appointed by President Barrack Obama to the National Council on the Arts. He was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his recording with Dee Dee Bridgewater.


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Jason Marsalis (percussion)

From a tender young age it was clear that Jason Marsalis had what it took to be great. Jason is the son of pianist and music educator Ellis Marsalis and his wife Dolores, and the youngest sibling of Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo. Together, the four brothers and their patriarch Ellis, comprise New Orleans venerable first family of jazz.   Ellis and Dolores began to cultivate Jason’s interest in music at age three, with the purchase of a toy set of drums. Jason is fond of telling the story of a game he and his parents would play with the drums. “When I was three, my parents bought me a toy drum set and the used to introduce me to an imaginary audience. They...
more
From a tender young age it was clear that Jason Marsalis had what it took to be great. Jason is the son of pianist and music educator Ellis Marsalis and his wife Dolores, and the youngest sibling of Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo. Together, the four brothers and their patriarch Ellis, comprise New Orleans venerable first family of jazz.
Ellis and Dolores began to cultivate Jason’s interest in music at age three, with the purchase of a toy set of drums. Jason is fond of telling the story of a game he and his parents would play with the drums. “When I was three, my parents bought me a toy drum set and the used to introduce me to an imaginary audience. They would say, ‘Ladies and gentleman introducing the fabulous Jason!’ and I would come out and start banging away much to my parents delight. I too enjoyed it to the point that I started to go up to my parents unsolicited and say, ‘Dad, introduce me again!’” By age six, not only had Jason gotten his first real drum set, but he was also taking lessons from the legendary New Orleans drummer James Black. At age seven he was sitting in with his father’s jazz group, as well as playingwith his trombonist brother Delfeayo. Jason was progressing so rapidly as a drummer that in 1984 his father started using him consistently on engagements. Jason was starting to become a seasoned road veteran before the age of nine, even traveling to the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston for older brother Delfeayo’s recital.
Though Jason had also taken up violin at age five, drums remained his primary focus throughout his grade school years. However, in his last year living in Richmond, VA,it was as a member of a junior youth orchestra that he first discovered the percussion section. The following year, Jason gave up the violin and focused exclusively on percussion. In 1991, he auditioned and was accepted to the acclaimed New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts High School (NOCCA). Throughout his high school years he continued to hone his skills by playing gigs with his father and brothers, as well as studying orchestral percussion techniques at the venerable Eastern Music Festival. Shortly after graduation from NOCCA in 1995, Marsalis ascended to the drum throne of a new group lead by virtuoso pianist and former sideman for Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Roberts. Despite a demanding touring schedule with Roberts, Marsalis furthered his educational goals by attending Loyola University in New Orleans, as well as studying composition with notable classical composer, Roger Dickerson. While Marsalis made appearances with such international jazz luminaries as Joe Henderson and Lionel Hampton, he was visible on the New Orleans scene working with a diverse cross section of bands from Casa Samba (Brazilian), Neslort (jazz fusion) Summer Stages (children’s theater), Dr. Michael White (traditional jazz) and many others. It was in 1998 that he co-founded the Latin-jazz group Los Hombres Calientes. While recording two albums with the group, Marsalis also produced two albums under his own name, Year of the Drummer (1998) and Music in Motion (2000), as well as producing reissues and current recordings of his father on their self-owned label, ELM Records.
In 2000, Jason left the Los Hombres group to attain more focus with the Marcus Roberts trio. It was around that time the Marsalis started to play the vibraphone on gigs in New Orleans. This evolved in yet another chapter in Marsalis’ career as he recorded on the vibes with clarinetist Tim Laughlin and drummer Shannon Powell while starting to lead his own band on vibes. In 2005, Marsalis’ made a recording of George Gershwin’s “Concerto in F” with the Marcus Roberts Trio and the Saito Kinen orchestra. It was a project that involved fusing jazz and classical music and it was an important moment for the Trio. While this exciting event was taking place in Tokyo, Japan, it was marred by the events happening in his hometown, Hurricane Katrina. Even though his career took a slight hit after that event and living in Brooklyn for a year, Jason returned to New Orleans in 2007 to put the pieces back together. After returning to New Orleans in 2007, his reach with the types of bands widened considerably. Early that year he recorded with John Ellis and Doublewide on a well received album entitled “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow”. He also recorded and produced an album of Thelonious Monk’s music with his father entitled “An Open Letter to Thelonious”. In January of 2008, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) called for him to start teaching the students. He also started working on the traditional jazz scene with musicians such as Lars Edegran and Tommy Sancton at Preservation Hall and Palm Court Jazz Cafe. It was in April of 2008 that Marsalis was asked to play the vibraphone with the legendary Lionel Hampton Orchestra at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans. In fall of that year, he was on a double-bill tour with Double-wide and a jazz-fusion group from Denton, Texas, Snarky Puppy. After that tour, Marsalis would make guest appearances with the group and has developed a following amongst the groups fans.
In 2009, the Marsalis Family would receive the NEA Jazz Masters award. In June of that year, the family would appear at the White House and the Kennedy Center to do a tribute show to their father. The concert was made into an album entitled, “Music Redeems”. Later that year, Marsalis would release his first new album in 9 years and his debut album on vibes, “Music Update”. In 2010, the bassist from the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Christian Fabien, called him to participate in a recording session with drummer Ed Littlefield and pianist Reuel Lubag. The made two records, Christian’s “West Coast Session” and Ed’s “Walking Between Worlds”. The latter would include folk songs from the leader’s native Alaskan Tlingit tribe from his hometown of Sitka, Alaska. That project inspired the group to be named the Native Jazz Quartet, a group that would arrange folk songs into jazz tunes. Their first recording of that concept was “NJQ Stories”, recorded in 2012. Marsalis was involved in another genrebreaking collaboration as the Marcus Roberts Trio released an album with banjoist Bela Fleck. The combination of jazz and bluegrass was entitled “Across the Imaginary Divide” and the unit toured successfully that year.
2013 was a monumental year in which Marsalis released his next recording as a leader on vibes entitled “In a World of Mallets”. The album went to number 1 on the JazzWeek Radio Charts and also won an Offbeat Magazine award, a New Orleans music magazine, for best Contemporary Jazz Album. Marsalis also participated in a session produced by Bill Cosby by playing vibes for music used in Cosby’s Comedy Central special, “Far From Finished”. There was even recordings from the drum kit as Marcus Roberts released three recordings that year. Two with Wynton Marsalis, “Together Again – In the Studio” and “Together Again – Live in Concert”, and the ambitious original trio suite from Roberts, “From Rags to Rhythm”. 2014 found Marsalis further pushing the limits of modern jazz with The 21st Century Trad Band—keeping with his quartet configuration and further solidifying his place among the greats of mallet instruments.
With each passing year Jason Marsalis continues to grow and develop as both a composer and performer. With a fire in his heart and a passion for the music, his will to swing has never been more resolute. The maturity and the command he possesses over his music is clearly evident to those who have heard or seen him.

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Rebirth Brass Band

Hailed by the New York Times as “a New Orleans institution,” the Rebirth Brass Band have been at the forefront of the brass band revival that they helped kick off over 30 years ago. Formed by the Frazier brothers, Phil and Keith, along with Basin Street labelmate Kermit Ruffins in 1983, The Rebirth Brass Band has gone from playing on corners in the French Quarter to selling out concert halls across the world and appearing in David Simon’s HBO hit Treme. While committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands, they’ve also extended themselves into the realms of funk and hip-hop to create their signature sound. “Rebirth can be precise whenever it wants to,” says The New York Times, “but...
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Hailed by the New York Times as “a New Orleans institution,” the Rebirth Brass Band have been at the forefront of the brass band revival that they helped kick off over 30 years ago. Formed by the Frazier brothers, Phil and Keith, along with Basin Street labelmate Kermit Ruffins in 1983, The Rebirth Brass Band has gone from playing on corners in the French Quarter to selling out concert halls across the world and appearing in David Simon’s HBO hit Treme. While committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands, they’ve also extended themselves into the realms of funk and hip-hop to create their signature sound. “Rebirth can be precise whenever it wants to,” says The New York Times, “but it’s more like a party than a machine. It’s a working model of the New Orleans musical ethos: as long as everybody knows what they’re doing, anyone can cut loose.” It perhaps can’t be put more simply than in the words of Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Flea, “Just saw THE REBIRTH BRASS BAND, unbelievable. Hard as hell, free as a ray of light, there is not a band on earth that is better. Stunning.” No band exemplifies the essence and soul of New Orleans like Rebirth Brass Band.

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Dr. Michael White (clarinet)

Dr. Michael White is an accomplished, multi-faceted New Orleans-based clarinetist, bandleader, composer, musicologist, jazz historian, and educator widely regarded as one of the leading authorities and culture-bearers of traditional New Orleans jazz music. He has performed in over two dozen foreign countries, played on over 50 recordings, received countless awards, made multiple national television appearances, and been featured in major media publications.   Despite an upbringing in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans, and a bloodline to some of the earliest jazz musicians, Michael White did not get his start playing jazz. An aunt who played clarinet inspired him to take up the instrument in elementary school, where he primarily studied symphonic music and marched with the famed St. Augustine Marching 100. It wasn’t until much later, in his...
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Dr. Michael White is an accomplished, multi-faceted New Orleans-based clarinetist, bandleader, composer, musicologist, jazz historian, and educator widely regarded as one of the leading authorities and culture-bearers of traditional New Orleans jazz music. He has performed in over two dozen foreign countries, played on over 50 recordings, received countless awards, made multiple national television appearances, and been featured in major media publications.
Despite an upbringing in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans, and a bloodline to some of the earliest jazz musicians, Michael White did not get his start playing jazz. An aunt who played clarinet inspired him to take up the instrument in elementary school, where he primarily studied symphonic music and marched with the famed St. Augustine Marching 100. It wasn’t until much later, in his late teens, that he first heard live New Orleans jazz played at Jazz Fest, and he became inspired by the music of the city.
He would play his first professional gig with Ernest “Doc” Paulin’s Brass Band in 1975 at a church parade.
His jazz career grew, as he played primarily in social club parades and jazz funerals with Paulin’s group and other bands and musicians including the Danny Barker-founded Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band and George “Kid Sheik Cola” Colar.
In the late 1970s, White discovered a recording of George Lewis that would serve as his primary inspiration to pursue a life as a New Orleans jazz clarinetist. He would later dedicate an album in honor of the New Orleans musician, the 2000 release, A Song for George Lewis (Basin Street Records). In addition to Lewis, Dr. White cites several other clarinet influences including: Sidney Bechet, Johnny Dodds, Barney Bigard, Paul Barnes, and Willie Humphrey.
He formed his first group, the Original Liberty Jazz Band, in 1981. A band that regularly performs in New Orleans, and that held a weeklong annual residency around New Year’s Eve at The Village Vanguard in New York City for many years. He continues to lead that band as well as two smaller groups, the Liberty Brass Band and the Michael White Quartet. Since 1979 he has also played in the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, founded by clarinetist John Casimir sometime in the 1940s. During this early part of his career, he had the opportunity to play alongside more than three dozen traditional jazz musicians born between 1890 and 1910.
It is White's crystal-clear clarinet that can be heard on Wynton Marsalis' critically hailed 1989 release, The Majesty of the Blues (Columbia Records). White worked with Marsalis, the artistic director for Jazz at the Lincoln Center in New York, on A Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton, a series of concerts that were performed there, and that were reviewed favorably by Jon Parales of the New York Times. White also served as musical director for concert tributes to King Oliver and Sidney Bechet that were collaborations with Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He has since served as an artist-in-residence for Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. In addition to his collaboration with Marsalis, White’s unique clarinet sound has been included on recent recordings by several legends of popular music, including Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, Paul Simon, and Marianne Faithful.
Throughout the 90’s Michael White recorded a variety of records with multiple record labels including 1992’s New Year’s Eve Live at The Village Vangaurd (Antilles). The year 2000 marked the beginning of his relationship with New Orleans-based label, Basin Street Records, which has released the majority of his solo work including A Song for George Lewis (2000), Jazz from the Soul of New Orleans (2002), Dancing in the Sky (2004), the post-hurricane Katrina reflective Blue Crescent (2008), the two part Adventures in New Orleans Jazz, Parts 1 & 2 (2011, 2012), and Tricentennial Rag (2018).
White faced a momentous year in 2005—the spiritual high of taking his band on an international tour of Europe, and later the emotional low of facing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. White’s Gentilly home was flooded with seven feet of water, and his entire collection of invaluable historical musical memorabilia and music collection were destroyed. He managed to cope with the loss through an artists’ retreat where he generated material for Blue Crescent (2008), an album that received the following praise from John Swenson of Offbeat Magazine, “Dr. Michael White has produced what must surely be one of the greatest examples of New Orleans traditional jazz ever recorded.” In 1980 White began teaching Spanish at Xavier University, while he maintained a career as a gigging musician. His relationship with the university would grow over the years, and led him to being awarded the Rosa and Charles Keller Jr. Endowed Chair in the Humanities, under which he currently teaches African American Music. Dr. White does extensive work hosting workshops and teaching about New Orleans music, including guest coaching at Julliard School of Music. Since 1995 he has served as the main consultant for traditional jazz for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. In 2002 he began producing the Culture of New Orleans Series at Xavier University, a highly successful program of over two dozen lectures, concerts, and film presentations featuring the authentic traditions and people of New Orleans.
Michael White continues an active career in a variety of capacities, and his collection of awards, accolades, and accomplishments is ever-growing. These include receiving the rank of Chevalier of Arts & Letters from the French government in 1995, being awarded the 2008 Heritage Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts (the nation’s highest award in the traditional and folk arts), and being named the 2010 Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Humanist of the Year. He has been awarded Clarinetist of the Year by Offbeat Magazine in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 in addition to winning Best Traditional Jazz Artist of the Year from Gambit Magazine’s Big Easy Awards in 2010. In 2012, he made several national television appearances: The Allstate Sugar Bowl National Anthem, HBO’s Treme, National Geographic Channel’s America’s Lost Treasures, International Jazz Week Celebration—various news channels, and CNN’s New Year’s Eve Celebration. He has also been featured on NPR’s Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins. In 2015 he received the Jazz Hero Award from the Jazz Journalists Association of America, and he produced the recording New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City for the Smithsonian Institution.
With a career now spanning over three decades, Michael White continues to grow his musical legacy as one of the authoritative figures on New Orleans Jazz Music, and one of the finest clarinetists to walk the streets of the crescent city.

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Bill Summers (percussion)

Cyril Neville (vocals)

John Boutté (vocals)

Topsy Chapman (vocals)

Denisia (vocals)

Leroy Jones (trumpet)

Shane Theriot (guitar)

Composer(s)

Kermit Ruffins (trumpet)

“And We Live!” From playing himself in the HBO Series Treme, to barbecuing outside his bar, Kermit’s Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge, to sitting in with Jon Batiste and Stay Human on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the trumpeter/vocalist keeps himself busy when he isn’t on stage doing what he does best—entertaining and sharing his love of life with the world. Ruffins continues making his imprint on the world with wider exposure including appearances on Bravo’s Top Chef and on the soundtrack to Disney’s Jungle Book with Bill Murray and Christopher Walken. He personifies the laid-back vibe of New Orleans. But he did not come by his gifts easily. Ruffins did his homework and developed his stage persona and musical act by studying...
more

“And We Live!”

From playing himself in the HBO Series Treme, to barbecuing outside his bar, Kermit’s Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge, to sitting in with Jon Batiste and Stay Human on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the trumpeter/vocalist keeps himself busy when he isn’t on stage doing what he does best—entertaining and sharing his love of life with the world. Ruffins continues making his imprint on the world with wider exposure including appearances on Bravo’s Top Chef and on the soundtrack to Disney’s Jungle Book with Bill Murray and Christopher Walken. He personifies the laid-back vibe of New Orleans.

But he did not come by his gifts easily. Ruffins did his homework and developed his stage persona and musical act by studying artists who came before him. He watched videos of Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway until the tape wore out, cut his teeth busking the streets of the French Quarter, and apprenticed on stages with local legends “Uncle” Lionel Batiste and Danny Barker.

Consider his lengthy musical career. While still in high school, he co-founded the Rebirth Brass Band – a group that revolutionized the brass band community in New Orleans with songs like “Do Watcha Wanna” that have become anthems. Rebirth’s growth and success bolstered the rejuvenation of the New Orleans second-line culture that now flourishes.

Still, after less than a decade fronting the band and touring the world, Ruffins tired of the road. He missed the culture at home so much that he traveled, like fellow New Orleans icon Fats Domino, with cooking equipment and prepared his favorite foods in hotel rooms far and wide.

He made a bold and risky decision to leave Rebirth and go solo, having no guarantees the public would embrace his new direction. At the time there were very few young musicians playing traditional jazz. Nearly all the backing musicians on his first album were decades older.

Now, Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers are a beloved institution – a must-see for every New Orleans visitor and a favorite of local critics and music lovers. As he’d helped spur the formation of new brass bands in his 20s, he’s since influenced the city’s musical direction in the 21st century. Dozens of young musicians and bands are essentially playing the same music Ruffins pioneered with his solo act. They sing into retro microphones, dress in dandy suits and perform the timeless tunes that defined a decades-past era.

Yet Ruffins has not been content to remain musically static. His live show has included elements of hip-hop since his days with Rebirth. He began rapping on albums long before it was commonplace for jazz musicians to have hip-hop influences.

It’s not the first time he’s taken musical chances. He had a short-lived progressive jazz band that experimented with arrangements of songs from the 1970s. His 2009 album, Livin’ A Tremé Life, included a version of Johnny Nash’s monster 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now.” It also had songs reflecting Ruffins’ deep roots in the R&B of the Crescent City, like Allen Toussaint’s “Holy Cow.”

In the ’90s, Ruffins fronted a big band with arrangements from great maestro Wardell Quezergue. He stocked the band with superior local musicians and the performances were on par with great bands of the ’40s, updated to reflect Ruffins’ effervescent personality. His 2010 release, Happy Talk, revisited that territory with a full horn section and sumptuous arrangements of tunes like “If I Only Had a Brain” (from The Wizard of Oz) and the Louis Armstrong hit “La Vie En Rose.”

With over fifteen albums to his credit including live albums capturing his inimitable stage presence (1998’s The Barbecue Swingers Live and 2005’s Live at Vaughan’s), a collaboration with his Rebirth Brass Band brethren (2005’s Throwback), a holiday album (Have A Crazy Cool Christmas [2009]), an homage to New Orleans’ traditional jazz (We Partyin’ Traditional Style! [2010]), and the party-anthem packed #imsoneworleans (2015) the New Orleans trumpeter shows no signs of slowing down.

Every year Ruffins ebullient attitude and love of his hometown music firms his reputation as the New Orleans idol. Dedicated to preserving and passing on the tradition of jazz, he is often compared to his own hero, Louis Armstrong.

On his likeness to “Satch” Kermit says, “That’s someone who really, really led one of America’s true art forms. He was really the cherry on top of New Orleans music. And now I see it being passed on to younger kids, and for me to have a role in that and to maybe do the things he did is so spiritual to me.”

Whether he’s slinging barbecue, adding to his collection of fedoras, or playing at one of his regular weekly shows, Kermit Ruffins does it with joy and passion, an example of what it means to be a true New Orleanian.


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