Photos courtesy of Dave Williams.
The first things Dave Williams ever noticed about the trumpet was its unapologetic sonic power and its resemblance to a weapon.
It was the one instrument that grabbed the then-third grader’s attention during an assembly at Signal Hill Elementary School, where various musical instruments were demonstrated. A year later, he received basic instruction from a music teacher, a violinist. Mostly self-taught, he played “incessantly” — on his own and in his high school marching band and jazz band — and took tips from older players.
Long Beach trumpeter and bandleader Dave Williams loves this sport. Today, he is among the most sought-after jazz musicians in the area and is involved in a spectrum of projects, including freeform funk jazz group BAAST and avant-garde jazz band The Decisive Instant.
Most notably, since 2002, he has led his Long Beach-based jazz-funk-hip hop collective MajicBulletTheory (MBT), which boasts a lineup of musicians including Patrick Butler (formerly with classic funk group The Fatback Band) on guitar, Joshua Harris (formerly with Whitney Houston and Jennifer Holiday) on saxophones and flute, jazz veteran Gabriel ‘Slam’ Nobles on vibes, Damien Smith on drums, San Pedro punk staple Joe Dean on bass and two DJs, Julio Muniz on the congas, Odwaun Dandridge a.k.a S.O.U.L.-O. and Jeff Dent, aka Jarvis Walters.
Over the last few months, MBT has been hitting the town with its powerful ensemble sound. Most recently, the group performed at the Downtown Long Beach Associate's (DLBA) “Live After Five” event, Cafe NELA in Cypress Park, San Pedro Brewing Company and Harold’s in San Pedro.
“MajicBulletTheory is my metaphor for the impossible,” Williams said. “I wanted a superb band after playing with bands for years where the focus was on the singer, and not the musicianship of the player.”
Williams, who served in the Navy as a cook from 1991 to 1995, took his horn on Wespac and played his tunes in Guam and Japan. He credits his time in the Navy for teaching him how to work with “disparate personalities” and contributing to his post as band leader. He leads another project called Not Quite Free, a free improvisational jazz unit.
“I became a band leader out of necessity,” said Williams. “I wanted a certain sound and a direction, and nobody else can do that for me.”
Born in Chicago Heights, Illinois, and raised in Long Beach, the trumpeter is known for his expansive musical influences. Growing up, he was drawn to '80s funk and hip hop and individuals such as Prince, Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder, “cats who could do their whole record by themselves,” Williams noted.
“Later, I discovered a cat named Miles Davis, and he seemed to be everything that I wanted to be,” he said.
MBT is currently in the studio, working on its third full-length album called The New Sincerity. In addition, the group has a deep catalogue of live shows, an idea Williams borrowed from old school hip hop, the Grateful Dead and Sublime) as well as two studio albums, Paradigm Shift and Supernatural Selection.
“I feel a breakout year ahead,” Williams said. “Whatever that means."
MBT is performing at Bo-Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap from 6:30PM to 9:30PM on the following Monday nights: January 25, February 1, February 15 and February 29. For more information, visit http://majicbullettheory.com.
Bo-Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap is located at 144 Pine Avenue.