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Big Sam’s Funky Nation

Jazz

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Noladelic PowerFunk. That’s the sound Big Sam’s Funky Nation has been whipping up for more than a decade. It’s high-energy music that mixes funk, rock and roll, hip-hop, and jazz into the same pot, gluing everything together with the brassy influence—and heavy grooves—of New Orleans.

From national performances at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and Austin City Limits to hometown appearances at the Voodoo Fest and the Jazz Fest, Big Sam’s Funky Nation has built its reputation onstage. The band’s live performances are legendary, filled with blasts of brass, bursts of electric guitar, and the charisma of Big Sam, a front man who sings, plays, dances, and involves the audience in everything he does. You don’t just watch a Funky Nation show; you become part of the show, singing along with Big Sam whenever he demands a call-and-response.

A native of New Orleans, Big Sam first rose to fame as a member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, whose touring schedule kept the young trombonist on the road for three hundred days a year. The group performed with bands from all genres, backing up Widespread Panic one minute, before sharing the stage with the Dave Matthews Band the next. A fan of diverse bands such as Parliament Funkadelic, Jimi Hendrix, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Living Colour, and Prince, Big Sam loved the variety that the Dirty Dozen Brass Band offered.

He wanted to front his own group, though. He needed to sing, engage the crowd, and write his own songs. Inspired to chase down that dream, he formed Big Sam’s Funky Nation, reaching out to some of his favorite players from around the Big Easy—including Andrew “Da Phessa” Bayham, Jerry “Jblakk” Henderson, Alfred Jordan, and Keenan McRae—to create his own supergroup.

Explosive blend of hard-driving funk and the festive sound of New Orleans street parades

San Francisco Chronicle

The charisma of former Dirty Dozen trombonist Sam Williams makes him an able focal point for a musical party that blends brass, Meters-style funk, hip-hop and rock.

OffBeat Magazine

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