Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins is a model for how to conduct a career on your own terms. He made his name as one of the founders of the Rebirth Brass Band, then went solo. He solidified his reputation playing Vaughan’s in the Bywater at a time when you couldn’t get a cab to pick you up there. He’s now an icon who only works when and how he wants to, leaving himself time for softball, barbecue, the Saints and whatever moves him.


Kermit Ruffins’ 50th Birthday Bash

8 p.m.

House of Blues, 225 Decatur St.

(504) 310-4999, House

Davell Crawford and Ivan Neville

10 p.m.

Tipitina’s, 501 Napoleon Ave.

(504) 895-8477,

WWOZ celebrates its 34th birthday with a pair of tributes. Pianist Davell Crawford is an appropriate choice to honor New Orleans piano legend James Booker, who was best known for the eclectic stylistic stamp he put on his own material and covers. Ivan Neville will lead a band to honor his father Aaron and his uncles’ band, the Neville Brothers. It’s a gig Neville knows well, having played in the band over the years.


Debbie Davis and Matt Perrine’s Christmas CD Party

7 p.m.

Cafe Istanbul, 2372 St. Claude Ave.

(504) 975-0286,

Singer Debbie Davis and sousaphone player Matt Perrine are Frenchmen Street mainstays, and they’re joined to celebrate the release of their Christmas CD by friends who play with them in other settings, including Alex McMurray, The Pfister Sisters, Matt Rhody, Banu Gibson, Josh Paxton, Susan Cowsill, Richard Scott, and Aurora Nealand. The album’s title, “Oh Crap, It’s Christmas,” is misleading. Davis and Perrine aren’t too cool for Christmas, but they do have a handle on it as a complex holiday that can be joyous and exhausting at the same time.