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Champian, For Everyone! ...by pete cataldo
After listening to a sample of Champian's repertoire I feel like I was at a Master Class on the History of Jazz. Very impressive!
Here is a very brief BIO because I want to get to her music.
Piano at 5, vocals too, her dad Stephen was a jazz trumpeter and Champian was influenced by him and his friends, the great Clark Terry and Major Holley. So she was a jazz brat, and that's good news to all of us who love the sound! She came to New York from Oklahoma in 2003, again good news for us!
A Master Class it was, here's why; Her life long exposure to jazz is her strong point because she is not trapped in one sound. She took me from the gutsy blues of the 30's to the pop cross over sounds of the 50's
and a bit of the progressive jazz of the 60's and all with her own interpretation and style.
Champian says she is a perpetual student of jazz piano and vocals, which tells you of her dedication to her work.
Here is some of what I heard; "I Can't Face The Music".
A gutsy, bluesy tune that shows off her skills as a vocalist
as well as on the keys. It took me back to a day when the lyric and the music blended to set a mood of well, you judge from the words....I can't face the music...without singing the blues..
What a great number this is.
"They Didn't Believe Me"...Here the multi-talented Champian "swings". While listening I could just picture her in front of Stan Kenton's big band just whalin' out this classic tune put to the swing beat.
A fine rendition of the tune itself and the "swing era".
If you like the pop/jazz cross over sound there was Champian doing "Exactly Like You, & Tea For Two.
With a sassy affection for the classic lyrics she takes these two perennials to their height.
Some unbelievable "real jazz" improvs on the keys and her great vocals blend into a lesson in the genre.
Then the topper, "Fried Bananas". An instrumental that is, I don't know, let's say it reminded me of the
progressive sounds of the 60's. A group of talented jazz musicians taking turns jumping all over the melody
however, most importantly NOT losing the listener. This was a piece that stopped me cold.
This talent ensemble consisted of; Frank Wess tenor sax, Jimmy Cobb, drums, Paul Gill, bass
Illya Lustak, guitar and Stephen Fulton on flugelhorn and of course Champian on piano.
This is a really enjoyable piece for me, clean, crisp, smooth all the things that make great JAZZ!
I asked Champian if you were leaving the planet and could only take one album with you which would you take...she answered Charlie Parker's Bird With Strings.
I also asked if you could have any drummer and bass player to accompany you living or dead who would you choose, her answer was a good one...Sam Jones & Louis Hayes.
Champian's latest CD is; "The Breeze And I" available on Itunes & Amazon.com
treat yourself to a visit to her site http://www.champian.net/
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