Jazz Celebration of the Allman Brothers

December 29, 2021

Shortly after Big Band of Brothers: A Jazz Celebration of the Allman Brothers Band was released in 2019 by New West Records, DownBeat Magazine’s Bobby Reed called it “an accomplishment of the highest order. This,” he wrote, “is a collection of smart arrangements of classic jam-band material with a sturdy blues foundation crafted for a 15-piece big band.”

On Sunday, February 27, a touring ensemble of some of the musicians who made that album will be performing at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ. Among those appearing in the concert are: special guest, drummer/percussionist Jaimoe, an original member of the Allman Brothers; vocalist Lamar Williams, Jr., son of Allman Brothers bassist Lamar Williams; slide guitarist Drew Smithers, who studied under Allman guitarist Jack Pearson; and drummer/vocalist Sammy Miller and his band, The Congregation (pictured above). Miller is also a frequent musical partner of pianist Joey Alexander.

After Sammy Miller and The Congregation appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival in August 2019, Glide Magazine’s Jim Hynes described the band as “NYC’s ‘joyful jazz’ ensemble — a barefoot clad sextet with three horns that showed that jazz can be lots of fun. The soloists, including the city’s emerging saxophonist Ben Flock, trumpeter Alphonso Horne, along with trombonist Sam Crittendon, played explosive solos and danced around the stage as pianist David Linard and bassist/tuba player Corbin Jones added their own musical and humorous touches.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, Jaimoe’s “passion for jazz helped form the nascent Allman Brothers Band’s improvisational approach, which incorporated blues, country and Western swing into a unique musical approach that nodded toward the Grateful Dead’s West Coast explorations but never became as loosey-goosey.” And, Greg Allman reportedly once said Jamoe “gave us a proper education about jazz and got us into Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Kind of Blue was always on the turntable”

The Big Band of Brothers concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. on the UCPAC main stage. To order tickets, log onto ucpac.org or call (732) 499-8226.

All patrons five years of age and older must show proof of either full vaccination or a negative PCR Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of entry or a negative rapid antigen test taken within eight hours of the performance time. 

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