StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: In the groove with Big Sam's Funky Nation


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This week, let's check out some videos of the New Orleans-based band Big Sam’s Funky Nation, who are coming back to St. Louis to perform on Thursday, August 11 at the Broadway Oyster Bar.

Led by trombonist “Big Sam" Williams, the Funky Nation has been visiting St. Louis at fairly regular intervals for several years now, usually appearing at the Oyster Bar. With a danceable, crowd-pleasing style that draws on rock, funk, and more, as well as jazz, they recently were named “Best Band In New Orleans” by the local magazine Where Y’At in the publication's 19th annual writer’s poll.

Interestingly, Williams is a great-grandson of Buddy Bolden, the famed New Orleans cornetist, a fact he didn't learn until he was an adult and already working as a professional musician. Before forming the Funky Nation, he previously played with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and with famed singer/songwriter and pianist Allen Toussaint, and from 2010 to 2013 also had a recurring role on the HBO series Treme.

You can hear a fine example of the signature sound of Big Sam's Funky Nation in the first video up above, a clip of a tune called “Gimme That Funky Horn" that was recorded in 2013 at The Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton, FL

After the jump, you can see five more videos, all recorded in December 2015 at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, FL and shared on the band's own YouTube page. In order, the clips feature “Big Sam's Blues Medley"; a medley of “Do Whatcha Wanna" “Treme", and “Tweet"; “Give Up the Funk"; “Coffee Pot"; and a medley of “Funky Donkey" and “Purple Haze".

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.


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