Big Sam's Funky Nation - "Peace, Love & Understanding" - Big Sam's Funky Nation - 2008
Big Sam is built for the festival stage. While he fills up New Orleans night clubs regularly and puts on a fantastic show, he belongs on the road in front of huge, thousands-strong crowds spreading our city’s gospel. That’s where his loud, affable stage presence is given room to play with the crowd, and whether it’s at Jazz Fest, Jam Cruise or Wakarusa, he always has them in the palm of his hand.
The 2008 album “Peace, Love & Understanding” from the trombone player’s band Funky Nation gives a taste of what Big Sam brings to the table: rocking funk fueled by brass. The album is filled with instrumentals that sound great on CD, but shine even more during his funked out jam sessions at live shows.
Big Sam takes a break from the trombone on a few songs to do vocals, like on the opening track “Up in Here,” featuring Ivan Neville’s magic touch. They reprise that track later on in the album, leading into “We Got It,” a nasty tune where Big Sam has a long solo over a slap-bass rhythm dripping with funk.
When listening to “Peace, Love & Understanding” for the first time, you won’t find yourself blown away, but you will feel totally satisfied with the tight, fun record. It’s an easy listen. But after you see Big Sam live, either on the big stage or not, revisit this album for a trip right back to the crowd, and chances are you’ll be screaming “Feelin kinda funky” right along with Big Sam and his crew.