Big Sam (musician)

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Sammie "Big Sam" Williams
Big Sam Williams, Jeff Albert, Steve Turre, and Kirk Joseph.jpg
Big Sam Williams, Jeff Albert, Steve Turre, and Kirk Joseph
Background information
BornNew Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
GenresJazz, funk, rock
Years active2000-present
Associated actsDirty Dozen Brass Band

Sammie 'Big Sam' Williams is a trombonist and band leader from New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been a member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and leads Big Sam's Funky Nation.


Big Sam in 2012

In his youth he studied with saxophonist Kidd Jordan and at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. In his teens, Williams was a founding member of the Stooges Brass Band and joined the Dirty Dozen, allowing him to play with Karl Denson, Dave Matthews, Widespread Panic, and James Brown. After one year with the Dirty Dozen, he began a side project broadening his musical ambitions. In 2006, he played with Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint on their album The River in Reverse and tour.

Big Sam's Funky Nation became his main band, which performed at Bonnaroo, Gathering of the Vibes, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Voodoo Music Experience, South By Southwest, and Austin City Limits. Big Sam's Funky Nation is primarily a funk and rock band that has elements of traditional jazz, contemporary jazz, acid jazz, dance, hard rock, and punk.

Williams had a recurring role in the HBO series Treme.[1] The series followed residents of New Orleans as they tried to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Katrina.

Williams proposed to his wife on stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 4, 2014.[2] He learned in adulthood that he is the great-grandson of cornetist Buddy Bolden.[citation needed]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2003 OffBeat Awards, Best Emerging Band
  • 2005 Big Easy Award, Best Funk Band
  • 2006 Offbeat Awards, Best Funk/R&B Band
  • 2009 Big Easy Music Award, Best Funk Band of 2008
  • 2009 Jam Cruise Golden Mic Award
  • 2009 Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship
  • 2009 Where Y' at magazine, Best of the Big Easy's Reader's Pick: Best R&B Band
  • 2011 Jam Cruise 9 Golden Mic Award
  • 2012 Jam Cruise 10 Golden Mic Award
  • 2014 Big Easy Awards, Best Rock Album
  • 2016 Where Y' at magazine, Best New Orleans Band


  • Birth of a Nation (2003)
  • Take Me Back (2006)
  • Peace Love & Understanding (2008)
  • King of the Party (HyperSoul, 2010)
  • Funky Donkey (2012)
  • Evolution (2014)
  • Feet on the Floor (2015)
  • Songs in the Key of Funk, Vol. One (2018)



  1. ^ "HBO: Treme: Ep: 08: All On A Mardi Gras Day: Inside Treme". HBO. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  2. ^ Brasted, Chelsea (4 May 2014). "Big Sam Williams proposes to his girlfriend onstage during New Orleans Jazz Fest performance". Retrieved 12 June 2019.

External links[edit]