Music sometimes ends up radiating the essence of the room in which it was made — and that certainly appears to be the case with Champion Sound Band, a sensitive soul-jazz sextet that rehearses every Monday night in a warm, tastefully lit cubby hole of a basement in Petworth. “But really, it’s our relationships with each other that makes it so intimate,” says vocalist Anastasia Antoinette. “We don’t just like each other. We love each other.”
Her bandmates — drummer Gudo, keyboardist Kareem “Reemz” Johnson, saxophonist John Eamon, bassist Jimmy Keith and guitarist Alex James — say they cultivated that love by keeping their ears open. “At first, we would have to remind ourselves to listen to one another and give everyone space to do their job,” Gudo says. But after a couple of years songwriting in this current lineup, a tender touch comes reflexively, with everybody working delicately around Antoinette’s blue-flame voice until their supporting gestures coagulate into a song.
Sounds nice, right? But if everything felt warm and fuzzy 100 percent of the time, this band wouldn’t be any good. What’s hard?
“Completing the thought,” says Antoinette. She thinks it can get tricky for a group forged in empathy and elasticity to commit to a form. Then James asks a rhetorical question that he and his bandmates could paint on the basement ceiling and probably stare at until the end of the world: “At what point do you release yourself from your own ideas?”
Show: Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. at Sotto, 1610 14th St. NW. sottodc.com. $15 in advance, $20 at the door.