Blowing Through Town

February 7, 2013
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New Orleans is the heart and soul of HBO’s “Treme,” and so much of the series is about the city’s music. Local musicians such as Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and Trombone Shorty frequently show up as themselves, but no NOLA musician has appeared as often as trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, who may as well be the series’ unofficial band leader. In honor of Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers’ show at the Howard Theatre, we’re revisiting the best of his “Treme” appearances.

‘Skokiaan’ (Season 1, Episode 1): Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers perform this funky, South African big-band tune to an audience at Vaughan’s Lounge that includes Elvis Costello. It’s Ruffins’ lone contribution to the season 1 soundtrack album.

‘Let’s Stay Together’ (Season 2, Episode 9): Ruffins invites trombone player Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce) to sing an impromptu cover of the timeless Al Green song during a BBQ Swingers gig. The crowd eats it up, and Batiste, who’s headlining a gig down the block, steals Ruffins’ audience out from under him and leads the crowd away to his show.

‘Tipitina’ (Season 3, Episode 10) Performing at a bar mitzvah, Ruffins backs the “man of the hour,” a 13-year-old keyboardist, on a rendition of the Professor Longhair classic.

The Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW; Thu., 8 p.m., $30; 202-803-2899. (Shaw)
Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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Marc Silver | February 7, 2013