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Album Review

Champian Fulton & Cory Weeds: Dream a little...

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Champian Fulton & Cory Weeds: Dream a little...
As pianist and vocalist Champian Fulton says, " A duet is a unique setting." Released from the need for arrangements, she and alto saxophonist Cory Weeds were free to roam, relaxed into the music without even drums or bass to consider. A pianist and singer is more used to the isolation of solo performance, but an alto saxophonist stands out in solo sections too. For his part in this Vancouver, BC, recording, Weeds remarked, "This is a live recording made at an evening private party in a house with spectacular views. It was inspired by the friendship between two musicians."

The title track, "Dream a Little Dream of Me" dates from 1931; more than sixty versions have been made across genres, including a pop outing by Mama Cass Elliot. As heard on the YouTube clip, below, Weeds opened, joined by Fulton's singing and rolling heavy bass accompaniment. It ended as it began with a Weeds flourish. The 1964 Frank Sinatra version of "Fly Me to the Moon" captured world imagination during the Apollo moon mission, but that came ten years after Bart Howard wrote it.

Fulton doesn't always sing; in this intimate and free setting they played a straight-ahead version of "Lullaby for Art." "Darn that Dream"—a 1939 Jimmy van Heusen number from a short-run Broadway show Swingin' the Dream—fitted both the mood and the dreamy content of the album perfectly. "Pennies from Heaven" was the title track of a film introduced in 1936 by the crooning voice of Bing Crosby, to which both Weeds and Fulton applied jazz sections, to applause. "(Once I Had a) Secret Love" was introduced in the 1953 musical film Calamity Jane by the voice of Doris Day, but the duo chose to play a fast instrumental version back and forth. The mic picked up small noises of effort and encouragement between them.

Johnny Mercer's lyric was written on a train journey and began, (I took a trip on a train and) "I Thought About You," which they played as a smooth ballad. A swinging "Tangerine" followed, bouncing along in instrumental format. They moved through an instrumental "Save Your Love for Me" with strong left-hand piano work and complimentary saxophone taking them out.

So, two quality musicians came together to deliver romantic standards. Fulton has a lush, full chords piano style, and a luxurious voice, with crisp clarity of diction. Weeds wove an often complicated saxophone line through the melody. This album is exceptional easy listening to well-known standards—just the thing for a pensive winter evening beside the fire.

Track Listing

Dream a Little Dream of Me; Fly Me to the Moon; Lullaby for Art; Darn that Dream; Pennies from Heaven; Once I Had a Secret Love; I Thought About You; Tangerine; I'd Give a Dollar for a Dime; Save Your Love for Me.

Personnel

Champian Fulton; piano, vocals; Cory Weeds: alto saxophone.

Album information

Title: Dream a little... | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Cellar Live

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