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July/August 1999

Kermit Ruffins
Swing This!
Basin Street Records

Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins jumps deep into the tradition, kicking off Swing This! with the classic "Bogalusa Strut." With his horn way up front, Ruffins struts his stuff, showing off more trumpet technique than on previous discs. A smile is in Ruffins' voice as he goes swinging on several original cuts which also hearken back to the past. There's the very funny shuffle of "Can't Take My Baby Nowhere," and the jungle-jump of "Hide the Reefer," a song which, in keeping with previous favorites like Stuff Smith's "If You're a Viper" and his own "Light Up," is bound to be a crowd-pleaser. Ruffins polishes off the tune with a hip little scat. A more modern edge is given to the title cut, a fast-paced instrumental that gets Ruffins' Barbecue Swingers-trombonist Corey Henry, pianist Emile Vinette, bassist Kevin Morris, drummer Jerry Anderson and saxophonist Roderick Paulin smoking. Tracey Freeman was called in as producer which could account for the beefed-up sound of Ruffins' horn. Swing This! is swathed in the sauce of New Orleans with Ruffins the ever-ready chef.

Originally published in July/August 1999
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