My most lasting impression of spending an hour talking with Kermit Ruffins and Irvin Mayfield is how much they really enjoy each other’s company. While it may be a common trait of New Orleans residents to revel in hanging out, these two accomplished trumpeters truly are soul mates.
On the occasion of Basin Street Records 20th anniversary, Ruffins and Mayfield collaborated on A Beautiful World released this fall and still climbing on the Jazz Week chart. The album boasts over 50 artists, including Rebirth Brass Band – the band which Ruffins co-founded early in his career and which inspired a very young Mayfield. Here’s part of the interview dealing with that part of their lives (including a couple of tracks from A Beautiful World):
The two trumpeters may seem like unlikely buddies but as the story goes (and they both tell the same story with their own twist, listen to the more complete interview below) Kermit Ruffins was preparing to perform at the Superdome when a young Mayfield basically challenged him to a cutting contest. And the relationship grew from there. A Beautiful World is an audio homage to that relationship with Mayfield producing and performing and Ruffins doing what he does best: being himself.
Here are the best parts of the interview held in the Ruffin’s Mother-in-Law Lounge on October 23, 2017.
Craig Klein and Mark Mullins might joke they formed Bonerama as a way to give trombonists greater job security but there’s no hiding the enthusiasm they have for their instrument serving as the band’s main voice. Bonerama’s latest release (it’s seventh in almost 20 years) is aptly named “Hot Like Fire.”
I caught up with the two after a band practice at Craig’s house in the Lower Garden District late last month. The album features seven original tunes by Craig, Mark and Matt Perrine, who plays bass and sousaphone. The songs range from catchy numbers like “Happy” and “Hot Like Fire” to the complex “High Horse.” The album’s two covers include Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” and Allen Toussaint’s “Basic Lady.”
Reluctant to pick one genre for their music style, Mark and Craig give it three – Brass Rock and Funk. But “Hot Like Fire” also throws in a little reggae and jazz. At KAOS, it goes on our Funk shelf where its been getting some good play.
Greg Hicks adds the third trombone to the band with Bert Cotton on guitar and Alex Joseph “A.J.” Hall on drums. Click on the interview above to hear Craig and Mark talk about all nine songs, with samples of the songs, as well as the band’s origins and their connection with Basin Street Records.