New Orleans’ own Offbeat music magazine named native son Ruffins and his longtime band the Barbecue Swingers the city’s Best Traditional Jazz Band or Performer. Influenced by NOLA’s most famous son, Louis Armstrong, Ruffins has, since his emergence more than two decades ago, strengthened his local role as the good times purveyor of the city. Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers are all about passion: The 51-year-old lives it, plays it and sings about it, and nowhere is it more evident than when he discusses his craft: the swinging, good-time jazz that lured him in as a teenager and continues to whet his appetite.
“You definitely pick that up from me. That’s’ definitely the way I live, man,” he has said. “From the time I wake up in the morning, I’m itching for my next show to happen. It can’t get here fast enough for me. I think that’s the basic ingredient of New Orleans music. It’s really just happy music.” At this point in his career, in fact, having fun at work is a prerequisite.