Kermit Ruffins: Happy Talk

Kermit Ruffins: Happy Talk
People may know Kermit Ruffins from co-founding the Rebirth Brass Band in 1983. Or maybe he is more familiar from consulting on HBO’s Treme. Either way, the New Orleans native has one of the highest profiles of any modern jazz musician. Now the legendary trumpeter is releasing Happy Talk, his twelfth album.
On the album, Kermit Ruffins delivers the type of fun loving jazz New Orleans is known for. The album features mostly jazz standards with only two original compositions by Ruffins making the album. Happy Talk kicks off with “Panama”, the 1910 composition by William H. Tyers. The instrumental shows off Ruffins’ virtuosity on trumpet while presenting the album’s insouciant pathos.
The album stays pretty light-hearted while presenting renditions of such well-known classics as “If I Only Had a Brain”, “High Hopes”, and Sam Cooke‘s “Ain’t That Good News”. Perhaps the moodiest track on the album is the sullen take on the Edith Piaf classic, “La Vie En Rose”. Ruffins’ gruff voice does its best to mimic the chanteuse but it is the exquisite instrumentation that is the star of the track.
Happy Talk really presents Kermit Ruffins at his best, celebrating jazz’ heritage. For fans of vocal jazz, Happy Talk might be the best of the year.
Rating: 7.8/10
MP3: Kermit Ruffins “If I Only Had a Brain”
Buy: iTunes