Champian Fulton

Jazz Pianist and Vocalist

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People are LOVING "The Stylings of Champian"

“[Champian’s] voice is a little bit of heaven here on earth. Subservient to each song (as it should be), she takes lyrics and makes them all into one-act vignettes, believable, honest, imbued with a veracity that transcends the art of vocalese into a kind of personal communication that will resonate deep in your soul. “ Mike Greenblatt for “The Aquarian”

“I think I’ve finally put my finger on what it is that I find so entrancing about Champian Fulton’s artistry: it’s how she manages, against all odds, to be so many things at once. Her vocal style is a unique amalgamation of the straight-ahead and the experimental, alternately declamatory and lyrical, off-beat and swinging, devoted to the song itself and determined to express her uniqueness–imagine listening simultaneously to Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone singing the same song, and you’ll get a general idea of what I’m talking about. There are very few singers who can make hoary standards like “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” and “Body and Soul” entirely their own, and she is one of them. But then there’s her piano playing, which is every bit as playfully inventive and rhythmically surprising as her singing, while at the same time swinging so powerfully that it’s hard to sit still while listening. On her latest album she leads a brilliant trio that includes bassist Hide Tanaka and drummer Fukushi Tainaka, with her father Stephen on flugelhorn for several tracks as well. The program is all standards, with a focus on tunes by Oscar Peterson and Cedar Walton, and there’s not a weak track to be heard. Yet again, she delivers an essential purchase for all jazz collections.” - CD Hot List

Dan McLenaghan for All About Jazz

“Pianist/vocalist Champian Fulton may be the most charming person in the world. Even a short sip of her extensive internet presence (especially YouTube, with performances and interviews) reveals an artist who radiates the joy of creation with a luminescent personality. Her music reflects that personality, and—like the sounds of of Bud Powell and Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong—it lifts the spirit high. 

And swing? Like the best of them. 

The Stylings of Champian is Fulton's tenth album—a two disc, eighty-five minute exploration of the time-tested Great American Songbook tunes and jazz standards. 

Listening to the disc's opener, the much-covered "Day By Day," it's hard to believe that, early on in her career, Fulton considered dropping the vocal side of her artistry to concentrate on her piano playing. But that didn't happen, and "Day By Day" says that's a very good thing. Supremely assured, she has developed a clean and precise articulation combined with exquisite phrasing. 

"Lollipops and Roses" is not a song you'll encounter everyday in the jazz experience. The lyrics are advice for dealing with a temperamental woman. Fulton imparts this guidance with such good humor and grace (The Champian Charm) that it could be the set's highlight. And throw in a superb and concise piano solo. 

With eighty-five minutes, there is plenty of room for instrumentals: A terrific take on Oscar Peterson's "Blues Etude," along with "Rodeo," from the pen of her father, Stephen Fulton, who sits in of flugelhorn on seven of the disc's fourteen tunes; and an ebullient rendition of Cedar Walton's "Martha's Place," and a high-energy take on "All The Things You Are," featuring Fulton cooking over a high flame with his flugelhorn. 

Another highlight: "Body and Soul," with a phantasmal and fluid bass/vocal duet from Hide Tanka and Fulton.” - Dan McClenaghan for All About Jazz

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“the high point of Champian’s career so far…..Fulton’s knowing vocals and improvisational flair are as cutting-edge as anything happening in the avant garde. To paraphrase JD Allen,, sometimes the most radical thing you can do these days is swing.” - New York Music Daily

“Her vocals are largely smooth and sophisticated. her phrasing superb and most of all, her instinct for jazz deeply part of her DNA. “ Marilyn Lester, NYC Jazz Record

“There's a lot of experience in her voice, which is flecked with Blossom Dearie's casual sophistication and hip intimacy. A bit of Billie Holiday and Betty Carter note-bending as well. “ - Mark Myers,

“Fulton’s delightful piano is highlighted on “Martha’s Prise” and “Blues Etude”. Her place in any contemporary list of great vocalists is secured by her interpretations of the clever “Lollipops and Roses”, and “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.” -Joe Bebco for the Syncopated Times

“A voice with a youthful freshness and a perfectly mastered phrasing allow her to develop with a natural line of singing with a beautiful scale. This is particularly apparent in her way of detailing with a consummate sense of interpretation and an obvious artistic maturity the melody of Darn That Dream on slow tempo. More than a welcome addition to her singing, her energetic piano playing swings with naturalness and brilliance. Obviously, Champian Fulton  caught the best while listening to the great keyboard masters Bud Powell, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly and Erroll Garner. Her line up, Hide Tanaka (double bass), Fukushi Tainaka (drums) and Stephen Fulton (bugle), the latter on some titles, do a remarkable job.” - CouleursJazz

"The Stylings of Champian" is a treat from start-to-finish, filled with strong songs and excellent musicianship.  Champian Fulton is both a delightful pianist and an evocative, assured, singer, never just "going through the motions" to show off her "chops" but making each song her own.  This, her 10th album, is well worth exploring and enjoying!” Step Tempest

“The Stylings of Champian, a two-disc set of standards perfectly suited to her lilting voice and classic jazz sound…Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart never sounded happier.” Suzanne Lorge, New York City Jazz Record

“a bluesy singing style with relaxed phrasing and a swinging delivery. 3.5 Stars” Scott Yanow, Downbeat

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“The Stylings of Champian” was named in the Top 5 Vocal Releases of 2019 in the NYC Jazz Record alongside Cecile McLorin Salvant, Cyrille Aimee and Kat Edmonson.

Ken Dryden for the NYC Jazz Record (February 2019)

It’s hard not to admire an artist like Champian Fulton. Immersed in jazz through her father, jazz educator Stephen Fulton, she was already singing in public at a tender age. While her jazz education at SUNY Purchase was dominated by piano with the demanding Hal Galper as her instructor, she vowed to pursue both singing and playing piano. She’s a self-starter as well, as she has been a leader from day one of her career. This two-CD set is unusual: Disc One has around 55 minutes of music yet Disc Two has only 28; since it is priced like a single CD, think of it as a bonus disc. Her trio with bassist Hide Tanaka and drummer Fukushi Tainaka has been together since 2004 and her father guests on several tracks playing flugelhorn. Most of the album is devoted to familiar standards, but Fulton finds fresh ways to approach many of them.

Her striking vocals float over a swinging take of Harry Warren-Al Dubin’s “I Only Have Eyes For You”, spiced by her father’s Clark Terry-flavored solo. The leader’s bop chops are prominent in the brisk setting of Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein’s “All The Things You Are” while Buster Williams’ hip arrangement of Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart’s “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” and a dramatic interpretation of the often recorded Johnny Green-Edward Heyman-Robert Sour- Frank Eyton standard “Body And Soul” (accompanied only by inventive bass) are ample proof of her willingness to take chances.

There are some surprises as well, such as her romp through Oscar Peterson’s “Blues Etude” and soulful setting of Cedar Walton’s lesser-known “Martha’s Prize”. It’s easy to understand how she has grown a loyal fan base with outstanding efforts like this release.

“Fulton has a small voice and there are times I’m reminded of Carmen McRae, Patty Waters and even Slim Gaillard. Having written that—no one would mistake her for any one of them. She takes liberties with lyrics, stretches out lines and at a moments notice changes tempos. She is fine pianist and the rest of the rhythm section is fluid and totally in the spirit and on top of things. On about half of the 14 titles, Stephen Fulton joins the trio on flugelhorn to great advantage. He is obviously influenced by Clark Terry and that bubbly sound is welcome to these already wondrous sounds.” - Cadence Magazine

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