Pianist/vocalist Champian Fulton may be the only kindergartner in history to take a Charlie Parker CD into school for show and tell. The effect of her presentation on her classmates is uncertain, but she fought the good fight.
Now, almost three decades after the "Bird Goes to Kindergarten" incident, Champian Fulton can be found on the bandstand and in the recording studio, coming into full bloom as a top tier jazz artist, with nine previous studio albums in her discography, including 2017's excellent Things We Did Last Summer.
For her third release of 2017 (she's a busy woman), Fulton has crafted a Christmas album, Christmas With Champian.
Opening with the venerable "White Christmas"a rendition that could send Bing Crosby's eyebrows poppingFulton and her bandmates let you know it's a swinging affair. The tune starts with Fulton's soulful vocals wrapped in David Williams' (Cedar Walton) heartthrob of a bass, backed by Fukiyashi Tainaka's (Lou Donaldson) crisp, precision drum work. No piano, until solo time. Fulton's piano approachespecially in her solo turnsis a bit quirky, highly original, always inventive. Her vocals brim with appealing, fluid phrasing and gorgeous intonationand soul.
The set includes the traditional Christmas sounds: "Winter Wonderland," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "The Christmas Song," "Let It Snow." And there's a surprise: "Gracias A Dios," sung in Spanish, a beautiful nod from Fulton to her Mexican heritage. Sitting in and blowing gorgeously on muted trumpet is Fulton's father, Stephen Fulton. Add an out of this world piano solo from his daughter.
Fulton closes out with an original, the bluesy, alluring, stride time "Merry Merry Christmas," that sounds like one of the classic tunes of Christmas Present, Christmas Future.
White Christmas; Pretty Paper; I'll Be Home For Chirstmas; Winter Wonderland; Gracias A Dios; The Christmas Song; Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas; Christmas Is Here; The Christmas Waltz; Sleigh Ride; A Child Is Born; Let It Snow; Merry Merry Christmas.
Champian Fulton: piano, vocals; David Williams: bass; Fukushi Tainaka: drums; Stephen Fulton : trumpet (4, 5, 8, 10, 12).
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