In the Valley San Joaquin – Original Songs by Dave Ruffner is a CD that features the writing of Dave Ruffner. Dave, a former music teacher and now New Orleans musician, is probably better known as the leader of the Blue Street Jazz Band – a band that plays traditional jazz and is also known for its proclivities towards playing various musical styles. In this CD, Dave exhibits his broad musical tastes by writing eleven songs in various styles. The album features four New Orleans style jazz pieces, three Latin-tinged compositions, a contemporary – impressionistic jazz ballad, an old time hymn, a hard driving blues, and a fun-filled country song.
The traditional jazz tunes on the album were recorded in New Orleans and the band used for the recording make up some of the finest young jazz musicians in New Orleans. Jason Jurzak and Ben Polcer, part of the popular New Orleans band – Meschiya and the Little Big Horns, are joined by Dukes of Dixieland members Ryan Burrage and Richard Scott, along with locals Matt Bottel and Gene Black. Together this group creates a formidable ensemble for Dave’s Dixieland Jazz songs. Stalwart jazz vocalist Sherri Colby also joins in on I’m so in love with you on the New Orleans stuff.
Rising jazz singer, Karen Marguth, renders three songs on the album. Two of the songs are beautiful Bossa Novas (Mazatlan and In the Valley San Joaquin) and the one is the very thought provoking hymn – The Forgiveness Song. The album features some very fine instrumental soloists. Jim Furnas plays a blazing guitar solo on Dave’s blues – Great Tribulation, Robert Ruffner plays a beautiful trombone solo on Mazatlan, Nate Ketner plays a cool jazz saxophone solo on Rue Dauphine, and Jason Wanner plays one of the most gorgeous piano solos ever recorded on Winter in Fresno County.
If you are eclectic in your musical tastes…you enjoy strong melodies, interesting harmonies, beautiful singing, and great musicianship…this is a CD is something you will want to own.