Kermit Ruffins Blows His Big Horn in the Energized Arts Block

Kermit Ruffins
Kermit Ruffins on trumpet at the Arts Block, Greenfield.

Last night I felt like I was in the right place at just the right time. Driving up to Greenfield with two old friends, our first stop was Hope and Olive, where the friendly maitre’d Jim as usual made us feel welcome. Greenfield had an energy last night, a confidence and an excitement that radiated out of this, the best restaurant in town.

After dinner we headed over to the Arts Block and it began, that wave when you see person after people you know. It’s just the opposite of walking awkwardly into a party where it’s all strangers. Instead, the bar was lined with people I was glad to see. And right there, where there once wasn’t one, stood a gleaming white oak bar. It was as if someone had heard me the last time I walked into the Arts Block and said, ‘there should be a bar here!”

I enjoyed catching up, pressing the flesh, saying hi to the many people who like me, thought this would be a good show to catch. In not too long Kermit Ruffins made his entrance, holding a big fat trumpet. He wore a fedora and a charcoal suit, and he blew sweetly as the energy of the room engulfed him. He blew clear, familiar notes, and his bassist, drummer and organist all jumped on board, quickly setting up a satisfying groove.

He stuck with the familiar, the crowd pleasers, the songs people expect a man from New Orleans to play. Nothing that original, just solid Crescent City jazz, and the big room swirled, danced, and cried out with the energy.

Greenfield energy. A town on the rebound, a town that’s going somewhere.