“Soul Msusic is in everything” – Lamar Williams Jr. talks about the Allman Brothers, jazz and live playing – The Aquarian

Jaimoe, Lamar Williams Jr., Drew Smithers and Sammy Miller & The Congregation are The Big Band of Brothers, and this group of “brothers” takes brotherhood to a new level with the help of the Allman Brothers catalog.


Life is short and fleeting, but art is not. Art lives in infamy. Certainly, some arts resonate louder than others in different contexts, times, and places around the world, but ultimately, art is one of the few enduring mediums this Earth offers. Art is what we learn, live and love with. Lamar Williams Jr., the son of second Allman Brothers Band bassist Lamar Williams Sr., knows this better than anyone. That’s why chatting with him about his personal and professional role in The Big Band of Brothers Tour, coming to Rahway, New Jersey in just a few days, is such an engaging and passionate conversation to dive into.

For people who are going to go to one of these early dates, including the one in New Jersey, what do you hope they take away from this show? Because it seems there are so many wonderful layers for each participant to discover.

It does. For me, first and foremost with my affiliation with the Allman Brothers band is Jaimoe. My dad, Lamar Williams, was best friends with him growing up in Mississippi playing jazz – it was their favorite style of music. So for Jaimoe to go through an amazing, incredible career, to say the least, and to be able to come back on repeat playing the music that he made a career out of, and in jazz form, it’s such a joy to see it happen. The show is going to be all about wit and joy. It’s just a way of seeing him love what’s happened for him musically too, and for me to be a part of that has been an amazing journey.

For the people who go there, there’s always a youthfulness to the music and I think that’s what’s really cool about Allman Brothers music. He continues to recycle. We now see the younger generations in the group. They are young people scattered in the public and bandaged. This show is about the music we all grew up with and continue to grow with…in an artsy, cool, jazzy way.

I think this iteration of Allman Brothers music allows people to feel a renewed sense of joy in the song, but also, like you said, to recycle their messages in modern times.

Yes definitely. You know, the lessons people can learn are in every song. You have to make your own interpretations of what exists and take what is good to go on. You open yourself to art and you put your heart into it. It comes out like this – smoothly. I really like seeing people take the messages and make them their own. With jazz takes on these folksongs, I feel like we’ve achieved it and are allowing it.

Absoutely. I wonder with your history with the Allman Brothers Band, but also as an artist yourself, how you look at these styles of music – both the original Allmans rock and the live versions that you and the jazz-based orchestra are brought to life. That both are rooted in the soul, what does that mean to you? What about soul music and the culture that surrounds it yesterday and today that makes it so powerful?

I think jazz and soul are at the forefront of life at all times. They never get old. It’s always new. Jazz is like modern day hip hop. Modern hip hop and jazz are very similar and their artists… they come out of nowhere. They were made out of nothing. They keep recreating it. I’m always intrigued to hear jazz and hip hop mixed together and sampled – not to mention the soulful music that is the essence of our spirit. I think soul music is in everything. You know, we put labels on things, but soul music is all music. That’s all. It’s folk, it’s jazz, it’s country, it’s rock, that’s all. For me, people put their hearts into it and we hear them, you know?

100%. I think if we can celebrate that, like at a show like this, everyone should attend – because it looks like you’ll get something out of it, whether you’re a former jazz fan the Allmans, both or none.

Absoutely. Young or old, no matter where you fall in the category of life, everyone will find something to gain from it. There’s also just a joy that comes out of it. We played the other day in Oregon. I think it was Eugene, Oregon, and there was this little girl down the street – Phoebe, beautiful name – only three years old. She was dancing with her little soulful vibe. We took her to the show and see her spirit come to life…oh my God, it’s there in everyone. It’s deeply ingrained in your grandmother and grandfathers down to your cousins ​​and the smallest babies. You can think of it like this: how they all share the same spirit. Once you hear this music, it comes out of everyone.

Wow, and you also never know how you’re going to inspire someone – of any age. That’s why a jazzy take on these Allman Brothers classics only adds to the charisma and wisdom they already hold..

Yes. The songs are timeless, again. They speak of the times of today and they speak of the times of the times to come. We can always take something from the Allman Brothers Band and it’s comforting to do it all together, to be one.

The Union County Performing Arts Center here in New Jersey is also set to include a traveling exhibit of Allman Brothers memorabilia to further highlight their impact and history. It’s this really cool display that not only emphasizes the music, but also the message and the culture. In your eyes and based on your experience, why is it important to bring memories and music to life? Whether it’s the unmistakable Allman sound or otherwise, why do you think people should cling to somewhat historical art?

I think there is nothing new under the sun. With the Allman Brothers, they are lyrically, sonically, incredibly aware of the world from their point of view. I think history repeats itself and we as artists write about the times. In our own way, we tell the story of the moment. They were there to do that too, with the civil rights movements and the hardships of American life. We’re going through a different time right now, but it’s the same basis for society. For a band to be so powerful to mix black and white, and come out and show the world that we’re all together, we make music together, and we have to listen to each other and be united with each other…. You know, there’s a brotherhood built in there. There is a truth in family spirit and love behind what they and we stand for […].

I would be lost without this brotherhood. And there is also a brotherhood! The Siblings album was a real thing – my godfather and godmother are on the album cover right next to my dad. It was real. That was how they operated. It was who they were. I would just like to see the world be happy with each other and make the world a better place, together, to more of this unifying brotherhood now.

THE BIG BAND OF BROTHERS: A JAZZ CELEBRATION BY THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND AT UPAC ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 27! FOR TICKETS AND INFO, CLICK HERE!


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