Don’t let her age fool you — jazz pianist and singer Champian Fulton is still in her early 20s, but she sings and swings with the authority of a seasoned pro. On her latest Venus release Sometimes I’m Happy, the Oklahoma-born, New York City-based double threat dishes up a tasty serving of gutsy, grooving trad jazz. From her tasty block chord solo and proud vocal prancing on the album’s opener “When Your Lover Has Gone,” to her spirited take on the venerable ballad “Darn That Dream,” Fulton (nimbly backed by bassist Neal Miner and drummer Fukushi Tainaka) finds her own way through even the most familiar of material. More than just another singerpianist on the retro scene, Champian Fulton is an artist to keep an eye and ear on. Jon Regen (Venus Records, champian.net )
Dana Reason Trio Revealed
Dana Reason can play. This jazz album’s opening track “Transition” seems to delight in teetering on the edge of rhythmic and melodic chaos; the classically-trained pianist and composer attacks the piano with playful bite and vigor, never fearing to employ tasty dissonance or explosive runs when they serve her improvisations. “Let’s Talk,” which indeed feels like a heated conversation between Dana and her talented cohorts (Dominic Duval on bass and John Howard on drums), continues the raw energy, while tracks like “Open Spaces” let her stretch out with a more delicate, angular style. With chops and creativity that bring to mind Jacky Terrasson, John Medeski, Vijay Iyer, and Satoko Fujii, Dana is a formidable talent.