Comes to the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre
Big Band of Brothers: A Jazz Celebration of the Allman Brothers Band kicks off its tour this January with jazz interpretations of some popular Allman Brothers Band classics. Featuring original Allman Brothers Band legend Jaimoe, Grammy-nominated Sammy Miller & The Congregation, vocalist Lamar Williams Jr. (son of Allman Brothers Band bass player Lamar Williams), and slide guitarist Drew Smithers, the ensemble offers up some surprising twists inspired by the early band members’ love of the genre.
The concert will feature the songs from the album, Big Band of Brothers: A Jazz Celebration of the Allman Brothers Band, from start to finish, says Lamar Williams Jr. “It’s Not My Cross to Bear” is one of his favorites. “I have to say it has become a really fun song for us all. It creates such good tension during the night by being able to slow the music down,” he says. “The Allmans are known for their jams, which are great. They’re just killer songs. It frees up so much space to enjoy each other.”
Lamar’s father grew up playing blues and jazz in Mississippi before becoming the bass player for the Allman Brothers Band in the 1970s. His son brings his own early blues experiences to the stage with this jazz celebration.
I’ve always played the blues, whether it was rhythm and blues as a younger artist, singing R&B, or just being within the gospel realm. It gave me a soulful position to just base myself in, so I think that’s really how I evolved, listening to the music all the time. Listening to Greg [Allman] and the others, you realize how much those guys were pouring out their souls, really turning it into soulful music. That’s what I try to bring to it as well.”
Lamar remembers hearing Jaimoe, a founding member and drummer of the original Allman Brothers Band, say Lamar’s dad taught him to play bass drum. But after his dad died, Lamar lost touch with Jaimoe for a while. Now, years later, Lamar says it’s an honor to perform on stage with him. “It’s a full circle connection. Jaimoe is such a light to me in my life. He’s such a connector of things. He’s so knowledgeable. He and my dad grew up together. It’s a different thing, knowing someone that long and from that era of your life. And to see his spirit still shine through music, I see why he and my dad were connected to each other at the hip. I love to hear him tell that story of Dad teaching him how to play the bass drum.”
The inspiration behind this jazz celebration of the Allman Brothers Band, says Lamar, comes in part from the founding members themselves, who were influenced by jazz greats like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. “It’s nostalgia taken to a hip level. It’s such a hip way of presenting the Allman Brothers music. Let alone that jazz is the original love of Jaimoe. To see his face, to see the jubilant kid in him, still playing . . . he’s smiling ear-to-ear. He’s playing his own music. He always tells this story: When he was young, he got to choose his path—which style of music to play. He’s played all different styles. He said he would look at his ‘jazz pocket,’ and he would look at his ‘rock and roll pocket.’ To make a living and to feed his family, he chose the rock and roll pocket. And so now that life has been good to him, and he’s still blessed enough to be able to go out and play, and now to play in the jazz style—he’s almost laughing. It’s so good. You’ll see him smiling. You’ll see the band smiling, interacting. The band is so smoking. The interaction with the audience is great. It’s witty, it’s smart, it’s fun. It’s cool. It’s hip. I really love it. And to be in it with the greats, with the people I’ve really respected, is a true honor.
I think the music speaks for itself,” Lamar says. “It’s so multigenerational. It’s like a rite of passage, for everybody to experience. Playing this music right now, I see a resurgence in the popularity of the catalog. We’ll play shows, and we’ll see babies to 90-year-olds. Traveling the world, you’ll hear the Brothers everywhere—in the middle of anywhere in this world, that music plays, and it warms spirits, and I just love to see that.”
The Big Band of Brothers: A Jazz Celebration of the Allman Brothers Band hits the stage on Thursday, January 26, at 8:00 PM at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland Street, Downtown Clearwater. Tickets are $54.50, $64.50, and $79.50. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: https://www.rutheckerdhall.com/event/big-band-brothers.
To learn more about the artists and their music, visit https://www.bigbandofbrothers.com/