If Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers only played jazz, then Kermit Ruffins wouldn’t be from New Orleans, where musicians are known for performance versatility. Ruffins and his super-tight band (piano player Yoshitaka Tsuji was a marvel to watch), did play jazz standards like “Route 66” and “Sunny Side of the Street” last night at the Hamilton. But they also threw in a little Tupac (“California Love”), the Black Eyed Peas (“I Gotta Feeling,” complete with ladies from the audience dancing on stage), and a very credible cover of Chuck Brown (“It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Don’t Have The Go Go Swing)”). It was the traditional New Orleans standards, however, like “Jock-A-Mo,” “St. James Infirmary Blues,” and Ruffins’ own “I’m So New Orleans” that got the crowd up and dancing, with some audience members even using handkerchiefs in a traditional second line fashion. But it was Ruffins and his trumpet that brought it all together, and for a minute, you could almost smell the beignets from Cafe Du Monde.
See photos from the set in the gallery.