Big Sam's Funky Nation
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Big Sam's Funky Nation

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"New Orleans ready to celebrate New Year's Eve"

Big Sam´s Funky Nation is led by the barrel-chested trombonist Sammie Williams. Virtually unknown until three years ago, Williams was plucked from the obscurity of his local church and invited to join the world-famous Dirty Dozen Brass Band. His enormously powerful sound and crowd-pleasing antics enlivened many tours with the Dozen. But, wanting to do his own thing, Williams started the Funky Nation. At only 22 years old, Williams is a prolific songwriter. His tunes are a dance-happy mix of classic ´70s funk, contemporary hip-hop and New Orleans street beats.

- Staff Bayou Buzz

"Spotlight on: Big Sam's Funky Nation"

When you’re a 22-year old musician who may be a direct descendent of Buddy Bolden, the legendary “First Man of Jazz,” it would be natural to be a little intimidated by that musical heritage. However, intimidated is a word that trombonist Sammie Williams doesn’t understand. The young leader of Big Sam’s Funky Nation has never had a problem with self-confidence. “The first cd I ever got was the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s ‘Ears To The Wall’ and I said then I was going to play in that band someday,” Sammy reminisces. Never mind that the Dirty Dozen had already achieved legendary international status - he had already made up his mind. So at the ripe old age of 19, Sammie went on his first tour with the Dozen and has been a regular ever since.

“My momma gave me a lot of confidence just by the way she raised me,” he explains. Which is why when several of his fellow NOCCA alums are just now graduating from college, Sammie has already toured the globe, recorded with performers like Dave Matthews, Widespread Panic, and Karl Denson, and purchased a new house in Harvey. “My mom didn’t like me dropping out of UNO,” Sammy admits. “I had a 4.0. But I told her I could always go back to school. This opportunity may not come along again.” Then again Sam seems to make his own opportunities. Before NOCCA, he went to Kennedy High School where he and 3 other classmates started The Lil’ Stooges Brass Band. Now his new priority is his Funky Nation he started last year. “I still love the Dirty Dozen but in my group, I call all the shots,” Sam points out. “Funky Nation plays anything from James Brown to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Outcast - as long as it feels good.” And it sounds good – at least according to the band’s ever-growing legion of fans that caught them at Jazz and MO’ Fests and that attend their weekly Funky Butt appearances. You can find out when they're gigging by logging onto
- Kathy Goode

"San Francisco"

Trombonist Sammie Williams knocks me out all night. His head rockin’ like some soul metronome, he rides the rhythm seamlessly every time he steps up for another Fred Wesley caliber solo that makes the bubbling mass of funkateers dance that much harder. - Dennis Cook

"Armstrong Park"

Big Sam’s Funky Nation
Brass Funk
Trombonist Sammie Williams burst onto the New Orleans scene with the force of a sonic boom. The unknown talent was tapped by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band for his youthful intensity and comic stage antics. His own brass-funk outfit mixes classis ‘70s-style funk with modern hip-hop to create a wildly exciting – and uniquely New Orleans – sound.
- Keith Marszalek

"Big Sam's Funky Nation"

Presiding over his Funky Nation is Big Sam, a big man with an impeccable urban fashion sense, who blows the funk out of his trombone and refuses to let the audience sit still. Between solos and trombone riffs, Big Sam second-lines (a uniquely New Orleans style of street-dance) and gets the crowd going both in movement and in replies to his call-and-response MC-style. A talented group of jazz-trained musicians makes up the Funky Nation, bringing with them the improv-style associated with jazz and the horn-heavy front section that's the hallmark of big band funk. Theirs, and Big Sam's, exuberant dancing and playing, affords them a rare opportunity to let loose. Big Sam's Funky Nation has undeniable personality, as well as masterful chops. Their energetic weekly Sunday gigs at the Funky Butt offer a welcome -- and hugely popular--diversion from the venue's usual jazz lineup.

- Sarah Debacher


Big Sam's Funky Nation: Birth of a Nation , Take me Back
Dirty Dozen Brass band: DVD Down & Dirty
Cd Medicated Magic , We got Robbed ,
Funeral for a friend
Modest Mouse , Dave Matthews: Some Devil
Widespread Panic ,
Govn't Mule DVD , Cd Deepest End
Tinsley Boyd(violin for Dave Matthews)
Allen Toussaint , Elvis Costello
James Andrews, Dr. John
Elliott Cohn, Stanton Moore DVD
Terry(Bubba Mac Shack)
Lil Stooges Brass Band: It's about Time
Terence Higgins: Swamp Grease
Nils Landgren, Joe Sample. DVD: Make it Funky a documentary on New Orleans culture & music by Michael Murphy.
Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint "River in Reverse" cd.



Big Sam is a former member of the world renowned Dirty Dozen Brass Band and has traveled all over the world but wanted to branch out and do his own thing so Jan.2001 he formed Big Sam's Funky Nation. Big Sam's shows are very high energy and always crowd pleasing. When he blows his trombone his sound is so enourmous, soulful, and powerful it drives the crowd wild. He's a great dancer as well. He's like 300 something lbs and moves around like a butterfly that never stops. He just keeps going and going and going like the energizer bunny.