A dancing bear of a man, Big Sam Williams is a nose tackle-size New Orleans trombonist and veteran of an apprenticeship in the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The Funky Nation, his eight-piece band, is far less traditional than the Double-D Double-B. Based on the evidence of his CD Peace, Love & Understanding, the band's sound owes at least as much to the chunky, wondrously bombastic full-blown funk of mid-'70s Stevie Wonder as it does to any Big Easy legend. Some post-Galactic New Orleans funk these days can trend toward jam band-dom; Big Sam keeps it more on the street side à la Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, with whom he has also performed. It should be a party down on Main, and a great warm-up for the iFest, which starts the next day.
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