By Scott Yanow | Published February 2019
Growing up with multi-instrumentalist and educator Stephen Fulton as her father, Champian Fulton developed an individualistic style, even if her vocals sometimes can hint at Dinah Washington and her piano playing is reminiscent of Erroll Garner.
The Stylings of Champian, a twofer set, can be thought of as a CD and an EP, since the second disc features just about 29 minutes of music. Here, Fulton is joined by her regular trio, plus her father on flugelhorn for seven of the 14 selections. The bandleader showcases a bluesy singing style, with relaxed phrasing and a swinging delivery, while her piano work remains very much in the tradition of 1950s jazz. And she’s not shy to stretch out, whether playing “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” at a blazing tempo, giving “I Only Have Eyes For You” an odd rhythm before taking a conversational vocal or rendering “Body And Soul” as a vocal-bass duet. Fulton also performs a few instrumentals, including an uptempo “All The Things You Are,” Oscar Peterson’s “Blues Etude” and Cedar Walton’s “Martha’s Prize” during this well-rounded and enjoyable set.
The Stylings Of Champian: Disc One: Day By Day; Lollipops And Roses; I Only Have Eyes For You; Blues Etude; I Didn’t Know What Time It Was; Rodeo; Darn That Dream; Too Marvelous For Words; Body And Soul. Disc Two: Isn’t It A Lovely Day; You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To; Martha’s Prize; Lonesome And Sorry; All The Things You Are. (54:33/28:36)
Personnel: Champian Fulton, piano, vocals; Hide Tanaka, bass; Fukushi Tainaka, drums; Stephen Fulton, flugelhorn.