Yeah, we’re all a little sick of it. The punk-pop/alternative/indie music scene too many OC bands have been wallowing in since the days of the Cuckoo’s Nest. (Thank god emo finally dried up and blew away, or else we’d really have something to bitch about.) Spouting endless clumps of power chords, these hackneyed, poorly played sounds bludgeon an otherwise-quite-delicious OC jazz scene. Dismiss jazz at your peril; it may not be shoegaze-sway-worthy or rife with adolescent angst, but it does have some wicked instrumental solos.
Playing the little-celebrated local jazz circuit for years, singer Chris Williams isn’t going for anything new and innovative. And that’s just the way he should keep it. He understands that a classic sound is classic for a reason. An unarguably talented vocalist, Williams lets his fellow instrumentalists take center stage nearly as often as he does—everything from piano to trumpet to saxophone, each player providing their own complex, high-energy riffs. There are no simple tracks in this man’s set. Even on slow-tempo love songs such as “How Deep Is the Ocean”—wait, I think all Williams’ songs are chansons d’amour—he brings the hypnotic beauty of jazz at its finest, employing a bassist whose solo is like the frenetic bouncing of a Morse-code emergency.
Williams’ retro style and swinging, finger-snappin’ swagger flow in the same channel as Sinatra-esque crooner Michael Bublé (both do a smashing version of “Come Fly With Me”), but without the strangely successful playboy air. Williams is really just a local guy who’s found his niche—and is flourishing.
The Chris Williams Sextet plays at Steamers Jazz Club, 138 W. Commonwealth, Fullerton, (714) 871-8800; www.steamersjazz.com. Tues., 8 p.m.
Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and decent high-resolution photos (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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