1,469

Champian Fulton: The Breeze and I

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Unlike the catholic approach to music evinced by many of today's young artists, the twenty-five year old singer and pianist Champian Fulton positively thrives in the confines of the American Popular Songbook. To cite one example from The Breeze and I, Fulton's fourth disc as a leader, an instrumental version of "My Heart Stood Still" includes an introduction which quotes "The Trolley Song" and, in the middle of her solo, references "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top." During the record's eight vocal tracks, her voice and piano are mutually supportive. In addition to making incisive comments amidst the lyrics, the instrument serves as a bridge between her voice and the steady, knowing accompaniment of bassist Neal Miner and drummer Fukushi Tainaka. Add to Fulton's list of accomplishments the wisdom of choosing partners who offer exactly the right proportion of stimulation and support.

Fulton has a knack for personalizing lyrics that were written the better part of a century ago. At her best, she doesn't just sing the songs, she inhabits them. She makes potentially banal lines like "There is nothing I couldn't' do/If I had you" (from "If I Had You") sound utterly convincing. On "Exactly Like You," the disc's striking opening track, Fulton stretches words beyond their normal length, leans hard on certain syllables, and waxes light and airy on others, all in the service of telling a emotionally cogent tale. A playful disposition and sly sense of humor surfaces during the last word of "Humble or poor, rich or renowned" (from "If I Had You") as she emits the slightest of laughs.

Fulton's improvisational style on the piano is as arresting as her vocals. During medium tempo tracks such as "Exactly Like You" and "Land's End" she cleaves to Miner and Tainaka's buoyant pulse, leaves a considerable amount of open space, takes her time to express ideas in a concise, orderly manner, and for variety's sake, inserts the occasional startling, accentuated phrase. An extended chordal interlude during the second chorus of "Exactly Like You" roars like a big band brass section. Although "The Sheik of Araby" and "Easy to Love" are interesting up tempo set pieces, the slightly slower "My Heart Stood Still" and "The Breeze and I" bring out the best of Fulton's no nonsense, relentlessly swinging bebop-oriented conception and chops.

A few years ago Fulton had a gig in a cavernous Northern New Jersey restaurant full of noisy, inattentive patrons. Although it was difficult to discern all of the details, the depth of her talent cut through the din. In the years between the gig and The Breeze and I Fulton has developed an impressive skill set without tarnishing the magical quality that makes her special. To quote the words of another American Popular Song, the best is yet to come.


Track Listing: Exactly Like You; Day In, Day Out; Land's End; The Sheik of Araby; The One I Love Belongs to Someone Else; Say it Isn't So; The Breeze and I; I'm Gonna Lock My Heart and Throw Away the Key; I'm Confessin'; Easy to Love; I Can't Face the Music; My Heart Stood Still; If I Had You.

Personnel: Champian Fulton: piano, vocals; Neal Miner: bass; Fukushi Tainaka: drums.

Title: The Breeze and I | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Gut String Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Heaven On Their Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "New Chapter" CD/LP/Track Review New Chapter
by Jim Olin
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "Anybody's Spring" CD/LP/Track Review Anybody's Spring
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "The Spirit Of Trane" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "Sektion 3-7" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 3-7
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 30, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.