A Beautiful World is a collaboration between two friends, New Orleans trumpeters Kermit Ruffins and Irvin Mayfield, featuring over 50 musicians in four configurations built around a jazz structure: big band, traditional jazz marching band, chamber orchestra and an amended funk ensemble. With the assistance of the New Orleans Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the album celebrates the spirit of Basin Street Records, a label that has been releasing and promoting New Orleans music for nearly twenty years, by highlighting two of its recording artists who have been with the label since the beginning.
A Beautiful World seeks to redefine New Orleans music by providing the listener with mostly new, original music that breaches various genres all related to the roots of New Orleans, a feat that could only be accomplished by bringing in such a wide variety of talent, young and old. With Mayfield at the producing helm, the listener is treated to the familiar big band and traditional jazz sounds that launched Ruffins to local stardom over twenty years ago with lushly-orchestrated versions of tracks like "Drop Me Off In New Orleans."
Mayfield brings the listener forward in time to a different part of New Orleans musical history with several tracks reminiscent of the originators of New Orleans funk, The Meters, and enlisted the help of two of the actual members to make sure that sound was authentic on tracks like "Be My Lady" and "Good Life." A nod is also made to one of the most influential figures in New Orleans musical history, arranger/producer/musician Allen Toussaint, with a song named in his honor and about the reverence that so many New Orleans musicians have for the man. The most modern format of New Orleans music, namely bounce, a brand of New Orleans-grown hip-hop is also represented with "Trumpet Bounce."
The true gem of the album, "Beautiful World," sets the precedent for the versatility and creativity of New Orleans not just as a city of jazz music, but simply as a city of good music. The song not only conveys a message of hope in tumultuous times à la Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World," but it also breaths fresh air into the New Orleans music scene.