Kermit Ruffins’ “Panama” Could Make A Rock Smile

Kermit Ruffins, keepin’ it RUFF! Mr. Ruffins’ bio is a good read, and man, can he blow the trumpet. This music is so fun and full of life, it could cure the foulest of moods. Like the one I started to have when I read the news this morning! Played this album with a nice cup of coffee, now I’m right as rain. Real live music by real live badasses. Bop on down to “Panama” by way of New Orleans and make some “Happy Talk.” This swings, baby!

Kermit Ruffins
“Panama” (download mp3)
from “Happy Talk”
“Panama” (play)
(Basin Street)
Need More!

Steve Coleman & 5 Elements: “Proteus”

This will be my last or first posting for Steve Coleman depending on how you’re reading this blog.

Throughout these albums Coleman features jazz stars such as Marvin “Smitty” Smith on drums, Cassandra Wilson on vocals, saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Gary Thomas, Geri Allen on keyboards, and Dave Holland on bass.

Here’s some stoopifying funk for your trunk from the 1988 release Sine Die:


Steve Coleman and 5 Elements: Drop Kick

For myself, the “m-base” funk sound of Steve Coleman and friends hits the nail on the head. Beautiful cutting-edge jazz harmonics and improvisation sitting inside the funkiest of pockets.

Enjoy this sub-set from his 1981 ahead-of-its-time release Drop Kick:

Drop Kick

Terra Nova

Dread Drop

Tschanz — featuring the great Don Byron on clarinet!

Z Train

Steve Coleman and Five Elements: “Ascending Numeration”

One of my favorite contemporary jazz composers/band-leaders/saxophonists Steve Coleman has put up nearly all he’s recorded under his name. It’s really awesome stuff. And what a gift!
I’ll start off by introducing you to “Ascending Numeration” from his group’s 2002 release “Alternate Dimension Series I.”

Ascending Numeration

I don’t know about you, but this stuff feeds my ear what it’s most hungry for. And I got the munchies.


The Beth Custer Ensemble: “The Empire of the United States”

Loaded with various brass and woodwind instruments, this subtle and funky piece rocks out all charkas. Charles Mingus meets Laurie Anderson meets Bootsy Collins.  I keep hearing new things every time I spin this one.  Give it a shot.  Clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer and friends speak truth to power:

The Empire of the United States

Duke Ellington, “Jubilee Stomp”

Duke Ellington’s music career was as distinguished as he was. His natural affinity for melody and instrumentation made him one of the archetypes of big band leaders. “Jubilee Stomp” is charismatic from beginning to end, drawing in its listener by showcasing several instruments, therefor highlighting the distinct voice of each. This is a song without lyrics yet cascades into beautiful arches and themes.

“Jubilee Stomp” (play/download mp3)