Monday, September 27, 2021

Another Positive-Thinking-for-Lockdown Album

Once again I have an opportunity to remind readers of my aversion to albums created during lockdown conditions that try to smooth over adverse conditions to a point that the resulting music is little more than insipid. About two weeks ago, I wrote an article citing Together, a “classic jazz trio” album produced by drummer Karl Latham, performing with pianist Alex Collins and Ryan Berg on bass. This struck me as the ideal escape from the slough of insipidity.

courtesy of Lydia Liebman Promotions

This album was released at roughly the same time as another “antidote” album produced by pianist and vocalist Champian Fulton. Like many, Fulton turned to live streaming to compensate for the loss of her many bookings of concerts and tours, self-producing webcasts on Sunday evening as an alternative. Her only partner for these offerings was her father, Stephen Fulton, alternating between flugelhorn and trumpet.

The Fulton’s were so satisfied with the reception of their webcasts that they decided to capture some of their most popular sessions on a recording. The result, Live from Lockdown, was released this past September 10. According to the Web page, a limited number of CDs are available; but the album is also available for unlimited streaming or MP3 download. The only downside is that specifics about the tracks and production, which were prepared for the back cover of the physical release, are not available as part of the download.

As a vocalist, Champian commands a solid sense of pitch and a clarity in her delivery. She can bop her way casually through Ray Noble’s “I Hadn’t Anyone Till You;” but she can be introspectively affectionate in her approach to John Kellette’s “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.” There is also an opportunity to listen to one of the less familiar compositions of Leonard Feather, “Blow Top Blues.” Throughout all the tracks on the album, Stephen’s brass playing is always there with just the right disposition for commentary; and his extended solos are consistently engaging.

This is one of those albums on which every track has something to appeal to the attentive listener, a reminder that we shall get through this pandemic by keeping attention fixed on more positive matters.

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