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Published: 2017/06/27
by Andy J. Gordon

Big Sam’s Funky Nation at The Mint

New Orleans’ favorite Big Sam Williams leads a group of talented, high-energy musicians that form Big Sam’s Funky Nation. Their current tour has them causing dance parties across the country and they boogied into Los Angeles on June 16, 2017, with a stop at The Mint. That intimate club with a dedicated respect for New Orleans bands boasted a big crowd that night, all ready to get going to the band’s dance-friendly, spirited funk that started late that Friday night and jammed on into the early morning hours.

Sam Williams truly is a force of nature. He is one of several world-class trombonists that have come out of New Orleans, but what separates him from the rest is the unbridled energy he brings to his live shows. When he isn’t fronting the band on vocals or playing explosive trombone solos, Williams leads the dancing from the stage and infects the audience with his love of shakin’ everything he’s got.

Big Sam got solid support from his bandmates on this gorgeous summer night in LA LA Land. Andrew “Da Fessah” Baham exchanged vocals and shout-outs throughout the show. Baham also played impressive trumpet solos and a few percussion instruments. Jerry “JBlakk” Henderson’s bass thumped rhythmically through the night and the youngest band member, drummer Alfred Jordan, let loose on the obligatory solo late in the set. Along the way, birthday boy and guitarist Keenan McRae led the band through some classic New Orleans funk staples including The Meters’ “Hey Pocky A-Way.”

The band also played many of their own tunes, including crowd favorites “Peace, Love & Understanding,” “Freak” and “Up in Here.” They also did some sweet covers like George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic’s “We Got the Funk,” House of Pain’s “Jump Around” and The Beatles’ “Come Together.”

The synchronized horn arrangements, tight guitar and drum lines and William’s vibrant stage presence (and those exuberant dance moves) captivated the crowd. The band’s combination of New Orleans funk, rock, dance music and well-chosen covers kept everyone boogying. It was an epic show that for one fun-filled night brought a taste of New Orleans to Los Angeles.

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