Champian Fulton • Meet Me At Birdland

Champian Fulton • Meet Me At BirdlandBack in 2003, pianist-singer Champian Fulton, who had recently graduated from high school, moved to New York and made her first appearance performing at Birdland. She has since become a regular at the famous club. Meet Me At Birdland celebrates the 20th anniversary of her debut, featuring her on a live trio set with bassist Hide Tanaka and drummer Fukushi Tainaka.

For what is at least her 16th album as a leader since 2007, Champian Fulton is in top form. Her style has not changed since her early days. Her singing is still a throwback to the 1940s while her piano playing is more from the 1950s. While she displays a variety of influences (such as Dinah Washington and pianists Wynton Kelly and Red Garland), Ms. Fulton has always essentially sounded like herself except when she tosses in some humorous Erroll Garner choruses.

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Starting out with a joyful “Too Marvelous For Words,” Fulton performs a variety of standards (“Just Friends,” “I’ve Got A Crush On You” and a melancholy and abstract “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most”), obscurities (“Every Now And Then” which was recorded by Teddy Wilson in 1935, “I Didn’t Mean A Word I Said,” and Ray Bryant’s minor blues “I Don’t Care”), and her hard-driving original “Happy Camper.” Her stretching-out on “Evenin’” is among the album’s highpoints.

Fans of Champian Fulton will certainly enjoy this spirited outing.

Meet Me At Birdland
Champion Records CR 005

UpBeat Records

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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