Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Live Review: Kermit Ruffins - 6/9/2022 Arthur's Tavern NYC

Kermit Ruffins
Live @ Arthur's Tavern 
NY, NY 6/9/2022
Early Show

During the first set of Kermit Ruffins Thursday night show at the historic Arthur's Tavern in the West Village of Manhattan he mentioned that he doesn't get paid for shows, he gets paid to get on airplane and travel to do these shows. The notoriously 'happy in New Orleans' Ruffins left his beloved town to headline a two night run at the famous jazz bar's Grand Opening (post Covid lock down) Party. 

Ruffins was in great spirits hanging with fans before hand in the tiny bar as people filed in. The full capacity was not more than a hundred people but the bar was full when trumpet blared, signaling the start of the proceedings as his four piece backing band dropped in. The quartet (Ruffins - Trumpet, Yoshitaka Tsuji - piano, Kevin Morris - bass, Jerry Anderson - drums) eased into things with a relaxed version of Louis Armstrong's "Sleepy Time Down South".

Things picked up with a jazz vengeance for "Jeepers Creepers" as each artist took a searing solo, the technical skills were flashed by all resulting in a highlight of the early set. Slow rolling ballads came next as Kermit jokingly sang the fun loving "Rosetta" and "I Can Give You Anything But Love" which found him mimicking a trombone solo, introducing himself as Trombone Shorty post song. 

Two Eddie Jefferson songs came back to back next which pumped up the swinging vibes and scat singing from Ruffins. Both "Paper Moon" and "Things Are Getting Better" were hot with the later finding Tsuji delivering a stirring piano solo. 

After those joyous numbers Ruffins had a Bud Light break on the side of the stage as Kimberly Woods took over vocal duty for a mid set run of standards highlighted by "Fly Me To The Moon". Kermit rejoined the band taking back over lead vocals for the fun romp of "New Orleans Lady" which included crowd singalongs and funky drumming. The band wrapped up the early set on the night with a blistering delivery of the "Flintstones Theme". 

Ruffins mentioned that he was so honored to play this venue, in-between cracking jokes and having a blast. Always a fun master of ceremony's, seeing Kermit Ruffins and company in the Big Apple is a rare treat, and seeing them in the tight confines of a historic jazz club which hosted the likes of Charlie Parker,  John Coltrane and more back in the day, makes this grand opening party even more special. 

Support the artist, and peep some video from the previous night (6/8) below:

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