Kermit Ruffins

New Orleans is the only place on the planet that could have produced native son Kermit Ruffins. Whether he's blowing trumpet on a Louis Armstrong classic or one of his own hot numbers, Ruffins embraces the tune with the true spirit of the city. Ruffins' music, like New Orleans itself, swings hard with a big heart as it remembers tradition and the importance of good-timin” fun. Born on Dec. 19, 1964 (sharing the birthdate with New Orleans' legend Professor Longhair!), Ruffins is a modern hipster in possession of an old soul.

There's a knowing grin on Ruffins' face and a smile in his voice and trumpet when the stylish leader steps out with his Barbecue Swingers. Formed in 1992, the band is aptly named as it reflects the two things for which Ruffins is highly noted—hot jazz and a smokin” barbecue. The smell of sizzling sausage browning on the grill set up in the back of the trumpeter's gleaming red pickup truck usually greets folks heading for Ruffins' shows. Meanwhile, inside the club, Ruffins brushes his own spicy sauce on uptempo favorites like 'swing This!” the title cut from his 1999 disc on Basin Street Records.

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