Pianist-Vocalist Champian Fulton's long awaited release, "Christmas with Champian" is being touted as the best new Jazz Christmas album of the year. With her personal song selection, listeners are invited to sit back and celebrate the season with Champian as she swings her way through this charming program of her favorites. Worth noting is Champian's beautiful rendition of the Los Panchos & Eydie Gormé hit, "Gracias a Dios", a selection inspired by her Mexican heritage; also listen for her original song "Merry Merry Christmas", written as a gift to her fans. "Christmas with Champian" spotlights veteran Jazz royalty David Williams on bass and Fukushi Tainaka on drums, who performed for over 30 years with Cedar Walton and Lou Donaldson respectively; and features Clark Terry protegé (and Champian's father) Stephen Fulton on trumpet and flugelhorn on a stunning rendition of "Christmas Time Is Here." A perfect balance of Christmas spirit and Jazz sensibility, "Christmas with Champian" is guaranteed to make your season bright.
"Champian Fulton, with a gleaming smile built in Santa’s workshop, is a charming vocalist and pianist with a fine entry into the Xmas canon. Christmas with Champian is a nice mix of standard and unusual material, filtered through a voice that surprises in its shifts between child-like and seasoned and a touch at the keys that is sweet without being saccharine." - Andrey Henkin, NYC Jazz Record
"Fulton's piano approach—especially in her solo turns—is a bit quirky, highly original, always inventive. Her vocals brim with appealing, fluid phrasing and gorgeous intonation—and soul. " - Dan McLenaghan, All About Jazz
“Holiday genialness comes naturally to Champian.... Christmas with Champian finds her dispelling the deadening familiarity of dry evergreens... allowing listeners to hear a shopworn lyric and melody as if for the first time. 4 STARS” - Frank John Hadley, Downbeat
"I can not think of anyone today who does more to preserve the American classics than Champian. As a musician and a vocalist, she takes the tunes of the masters and brings them to life today; and she does it with such a grace and 'swing' it seems like she has been doing it since birth..." - StreetCred Music
"Champian Fulton’s piano combines Erroll Garner’s serendipity and Ahmad Jamal’s dynamic calibrations. Combined with her impish vocals, Christmas With Champian (champion.net) makes a worthy soundtrack to any holiday gathering." - Kirk Silsbee, ArtsMeme
"Champian Fulton...has emerged in recent years as the most exciting vocal and pianistic talent on the straight-ahead jazz scene. This is a very nice collection of holiday standards (“White Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” etc.) and more unusual choices: Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper,” for example, and an old Los Panchos & Eydie Gormé number titled “Gracias à Dios,” as well as a lovely original. As always, Fulton and her band swing powerfully and she sings like an unusually creative and playful angel. And her dad, trumpeter Stephen Fulton, makes a guest appearance as well. There’s simply nothing about this album that isn’t delightful, and since there’s a good chance that your library serves some of her growing legion of fans, I’d strongly recommend this one to all collections." - Rick Anderson, CD Hot List
"To be successful, Christmas albums, need to exude a certain joy of the season and this one does, from the finger-snapping backbeat of “White Christmas” (nice work by drummer, Fukushi Tainaka, throughout) to the closer, “Merry, Merry Christmas”, a lovely original number by Ms. Fulton. The rest of the album is filled with familiar songs of the season but thanks to Ms. Fulton’s first-rate piano work and the rock-solid backing of her sidemen; Mr. Tainaka, bassist David Williams and Champian’s dad, trumpeter Stephen Fulton, these tunes have new life." - Curt's Jazz Cafe
"This is a great jazz record in a Santa hat. Fulton never ceases to find both poignancy and exuberant fun in the least expected places." - NY Music Daily
Every single show was sold out, including Ronnie Scott's in London, and Champian received this rave review in the Irish Examiner after her performance at the Everyman Theater in Cork Ireland as part of the Cork Guinness Jazz Festival:
"On Sunday, tenor sax player Scott Hamilton was joined by the find of the festival (for this writer at least) Champian Fulton. A piano player of bright, fluid energy and astounding technique, Fulton also has a rich, assured singing voice – by turns velvety and sibilant, with a feline Billie Holiday-esque sharpness adding another dimension. The daughter of a trumpeter, Stephen Fulton, and a one-time child prodigy, Fulton is jazz to her fingertips, inhabiting a string of standards — ‘He’s Funny That Way’, ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams’, ‘I Cried for You’ — with fidelity and playful originality."
Champian will return to the UK in February 2019.
Purchase a physical copy from champian.net, download from iTunes, or stream on Spotify!
Pianist-Vocalist Champian Fulton joins Scott Hamilton, the iconic American Jazz tenor, to present "The Things We Did Last Summer", recorded live in concert while on tour in Spain for Blau Records. This is the way Jazz was meant to be heard: live, unedited, and spontaneous: a whirlwind of improvisation. A refreshing selection of tunes provides the canvas on which Champian and Scott advance their musical ideas; Scott's big sound and swinging manner on the saxophone suit Champian's infectious piano prowess and galvanizing vocals perfectly. On "The Very Thought of You", Champian's enthralling vocal performance transports the listener away from the troubles of everyday life, while on "Runnin' Wild" Scott swings hard into the melody while Champian drives the rhythm section on this wild ride through a tune you haven't heard in a long time. Joined by Esteve Pi on drums and Ignasi Gonzales on bass, Champian and Scott shine brightly on this quartet release, hopefully the first of many to come.
"The Things We Did Last Summer is a balm for the soul." - Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
"As a pianist, Fulton, a dexterous, imaginative player, blends beautifully with the astute Hamilton. Their shared inventiveness is evident across everything..." - Jazz Times
"Not to disrespect Diana Krall’s piano chops, and Karrin Allyson is a much better pianist than she typically lets on, but there’s no other singer in jazz with chops as fast and fluid as Fulton’s Nor is there a pianist with her speed and prowess who’s equally gifted on the mic...." - New York Music Daily
"one of the most sparkling, spirited, and intensely swinging jazz releases I’ve heard so far this year." - CD Hot List
"Fulton sings with a devilish gleam in her eye—she sounds, always, like she's having the time of her life—and she lays down a sparkling piano..." - Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
"[Champian is] a hell of a pianist, and one with a very strong voice that seems to instantly wrap up generations of piano jazz expression, but find a way to make it come across fresh and new" -Dusty Groove
"Fulton’s latest album is The Things We Did Last Summer, a collaboration with suave tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton recorded live onstage in Spain last year and streaming at Spotify. It’s a mix of instrumental and vocal numbers, and despite the fact that it’s mostly standards, it’s arguably the high point of Fulton’s career so far. She makes solid studio albums – her all-instrumental collection, Speechless, is a party in a box – but both co-leaders do their best work onstage. More artists – particularly players who can improvise at the level the band reaches here – should be making live records." - Lucid Culture
Read Champian's Feature interview in the Oklahoma Gazette: http://okgazette.com/2017/08/31/oklahoma-born-jazz-pianist-and-vocalist-champian-fulton-shines-on-a-new-album/
THE LINER NOTES
Featuring Champian Fulton (piano & voice), Scott Hamilton (tenor sax), Ignasi Gonzalez (bass) and Esteve Pi (drums). Recorded LIVE at Espai de la Musica Mestre Vila (Benicassim Spain), April 1, 2017.
Blau Records Writes:
Scott Hamilton, the American saxophonist, (Providence, Rhode Island,1954), is now almost iconic at Blau Records, with this recording being his fourth, following on from "Live in Barcelona", "La Rosita" and "The Shadow of your Smile"; all live recordings to boot, which gives them that extra something special.
Though Scott Hamilton doesn't need any introduction, it's good to recall that his music always stands for sound, language, diction and style, and since he is up there in the echelon of mythical saxophonists, let me just say to sit back, listen and enjoy.
Champian Fulton, born in Oklahoma (1985), took full advantage of growing up in a rich musical household and environment; her father Stephen Fulton, jazz flugelhornist and trumpeter and teacher, along with Clark Terry and Benny Green inspired and boosted her musical career as a pianist-vocalist and later as a jazz teacher. She shows a beautiful sympathy for the genre and her presence lights up the stage. She is fully centered in her performance as an art, and is aware of the verbal and nonverbal communication with her audience, essential to any concert. Her gig therefore is energetic, warm and emphatic. This live recording is all the more valuable as it is a reflection of what really happens in her favourite habitat: the stage! Champian is a true jazz diva, and as in Scott’s case, comparisons are irrelevant, she is who she is.
Ignasi González on the double bass and Esteve Pi on drums, play regularly in both the Spanish and international jazz scene and have between them a background teaming with major global jazz leaders and bring all this experience to this album.
The compositions chosen for the concert, while belonging to the usual repertoire of jazz vocalists, may not be that well known to the general public, yet, they are recognizably 'back to the roots', an alchemy and distillation of the quintessence of the genre, played at the highest level; feeling, communicating, connecting, live, capturing the freshness, interaction and natural conversation between the musicians and the audience.
Praise is also due to Estudio Rocketes sound engineer Alberto Sales who manages to skilfully capture what happens on stage, and translates it perfectly for the recording.
And just as one musical note can say more than a thousand words, the music from this quartet eloquently soars where mere words can't reach. This is another one to savour and enjoy.
Pianist Champian Fulton unleashes her creativity to spellbind the audience until they are "Speechless.” With her ﬁrst date for Posi-Tone, listeners are invited to sit back and dig the mesmerizing sounds as Fulton bravely embarks on her ﬁrst ever record of entirely instrumental performances. With an amazing program featuring her own original compositions, Fulton delivers a tour de force demonstration of her pianistic prowess. This trio date is also highlighted by the solid harmonic foundation of bassist Adi Meyerson and the bombastically explosive metrics of drummer Ben Zweig. With a straight forward, swinging and soulful presentation that covers a wide variety of styles, sounds, and moods, Champian Fulton succeeds in delivering a stunning revue that will certainly leave every listener "Speechless" and bring bright moments to jazz fans everywhere.
"In an age when lots of albums try to sell you a bill of goods or present false deities, Champian makes her mark by just being herself. It's a novel concept that shouldn't have to be....Champian continues to dazzle and delight on this album, demonstrating that her truest voice may very well be found in her piano playing." Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz
"loves to deliver unpretentious, swinging fun." - Downbeat Magazine
"...some full on whorehouse piano played with just the right amount of speak easy vibe that says ‘after hours spoken here'. A wildly charming date that brings a female perspective to the barrelhouse that Tatum couldn't, this trio hits it out of the park..." -Midwest Record
"a monstrously powerful sense of swing" - CD Hot List
"Champian deserves credit, admiration and respect for demonstrating that women in Jazz, more often than not, quietly and confidently let their excellent music do the talking." - 1320Radio.com
"an intensely personal statement - brimming with delicate flourishes, brilliant runs, and moments of quiet intensity." - Downbeat
"a genuine Jazz double threat" - Hot House Magazine
"a party in a box!" - Lucid Culture
"This is jazz as party music and entertainment: it’s anything but rote or slick. There’s a jubiliant, fearlessly improvisational quality to these songs." - New York Music Daily
"Speechless is 10 original tunes, 50 minutes of pure joy and takes Champian to a place where not many women have gone, not only making a mark as a brilliant vocalist, but musician and composer as well." - StreetCredMusic
"an ambitious, spontaneously fun new album" - Lucid Culture
"Speechless" may not have vocals but is a treat from beginning to end with nary a weak cut and a slew of strong solos. Just let the sounds seep into your brain; I guarantee you will feel better." - Step Tempest
"A record that's definitely got us speechless – as we had no idea that Champian Fulton was such a wonderful pianist! The record takes off from the very first note with a burstingly rhythmic sound, and a deft command of the keyboard that maybe takes us back to the generation of Erroll Garner and Art Tatum – but without any slavish references at all, just the kind of dexterity we'd liken to those two masters! Champian wrote almost all the songs herself – fantastic little numbers that really feel timeless, and perfectly suit the kind of energy she expresses with a trio that features Ben Zweig on drums and Adi Meyerson on bass – both players who follow her lead perfectly, like some of Garner's best trios. Yet at times, there's also even more of a left hand bite than that reference might imply – later currents of Ray Bryant, maybe – but again, Fulton's very much her own person. Titles include "Day's End", "Tea & Tangerines", "Later Gator", "Pergola", "Happy Camper", and "Carondeleto's". - Dusty Groove