Basin Street Records celebrates 20 years
with Kermit Ruffins, Irvin Mayfield and
more tonight, 9/22

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the local label released their first album, Kermit Ruffins’ The BBQ Swingers—Live. They are pulling out all the stops to celebrate with a first-time-on-vinyl re-release of that initial album as well as new releases, a new book, and a very special evening tonight.

The party begins with a celebration of the release of A Beautiful World, a new album featuring Ruffins, fellow trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, and a cast of dozens of musicians. It starts at the Louisiana Music Factory at 6 PM and extends into the wee, wee hours down the street at the Blue Nile.

A Beautiful World is a thrilling collection of new tunes and classics from across the New Orleans musical spectrum. Cyril Neville guests on the Meters’ ballad, “Be My Lady” and sings a new one he wrote along with Ruffins and Mayfield called “Allen Toussaint.”

There’s incredible jazz orchestration courtesy of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s Emily Frederickson and spoken word interludes by actor and New Orleans native Wendell Pierce. Fellow Basin Street artists including Jason Marsalis, Dr. Michael White, and the Rebirth Brass Band make appearances.

The album was produced by Mayfield and demonstrates his deep affection for New Orleans music and New Orleans musicians. On “Be My Lady” he brings in George Porter, Jr. to reprise his bass part. Porter also appears on three other tracks.

This album will take some time to digest. It certainly took me longer than most recordings and I am still finding new sounds and interesting hooks on its 26 tracks (nine of them are short interludes including Rebirth doing a two-plus minute version of “Do Whatcha Wanna”—the song that put Ruffins and his old band on the map).

The music touches most of the bases connected with New Orleans. Mayfield made sure to include many of the musicians associated with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra on the big band arrangements as well as artists from across the spectrum including vocalists John Boutte and Topsy Chapman and traditional jazz trumpeters Leroy Jones and Gregory Stafford.

Basin Street Records will host a listening party to get a sneak peek of the album, which comes out October 13, at 6 PM at the Louisiana Music Factory. Then everyone heads to the Blue Nile for an evening featuring many of the artists that appear on the record.

Set times are 7 and 11 PM.

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