Wonderful World With Dr. John, Soulive, Kermit Ruffins
Wonderful World With Dr. John, Soulive, Kermit Ruffins – July 16, 2016
Flushing Meadows Park was the venue for the third annual Louis Armstrong Wonderful World Festival. It was a day to appreciate not only Armstrong’s legacy but the rich musical tradition of his home city New Orleans. Both Kermit Ruffins and Dr. John have that hometown in common so they were natural artists to invite to play the all day fest held just blocks from the museum of the Louis Armstrong House where Satch spent the second half of his life in Corona. You couldn’t ask for a pair of more suitable ambassadors. Dr. John has taken pride in exporting that city’s sounds for his entire career. His latest album Ske Dat De Dat, from two years ago, was a tribute to Louis Armstrong. Ruffins, who is a generation younger than the doctor, embodies the city to the same degree. He‘s a fixture at funerals as well as clubs in the Crescent City and his most recent effort, released last year, is titled #ImSoNewOrleans!
I’ve seen Dr. John perform at least a half dozen times over the years but I had never seen the man born Mac Rebbennack play guitar until the Wonderful World gig. Legend has it that guitar was his first instrument but he switched to piano after he took a bullet in the ring finger on his left hand. Without a word of introduction, he picked up a six string and offered a satisfying, swampy version of Come On (part one) – a song by Earl King who is yet another New Orleans guy who Dr. John did sessions with as a teen. Jimi Hendrix recorded Come On as well on Electric Ladyland.
Soulive isn’t from New Orleans but Eric Krasno, when I bumped into him at one of the Tame Impala shows earlier this summer in Brooklyn, confessed to be considering a move there. Regardless of his mailing address, Krasno is steeped in the sounds of NOLA as are his bandmates Alan and Neal Evans. The mighty trio, featuring Alan on drums and Neal on keyboards have a new album on the way but it sits on the back-burner at the moment as The Eric Krasno Band just released a new disc called Blood From The Stone. More on Kras and his myriad activities coming soon to this dude space…