Tag Archives: Great American Songbook

Champian Fulton & Cory Weeds: Dream A Little…


Pianist and vocalist Champian Fulton is back with a new album called “Dream a Little…”. The album is a duet with alto sax player Cory Weeds from Vancouver, BC, Canada. It was recorded live at Norah’s, which is a house in North Vancouver where Norah hosts intimate music events with an audience of about 40 people.

Champian has more details about Cory: “Cory and I made a record together in 2014, and we have wanted to make another one because we really enjoy playing together. Usually when we do a Canadian tour, we play one or two duo shows and it’s always one of our favorite gigs, because the duo setting is so loose and freeing”. Cory Weeds may be best known as the founder and owner of Cory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver, which he successfully ran for more than 14 years. Weeds built the Cellar to become one of North America’s best Jazz clubs. He is also an excellent saxophonist with an endless number of great musicians he was able to play with.

Champian is very proud of this album, because it highlights her piano playing and singing more than any other album she has made.

The selection of tunes comes from fan requests and features some of the most popular tunes from the Great American Songbook.

The album starts with the title song “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” which sets the stage for the whole album, easy and relaxed playing, perfectly swinging with a well-adjusted balance between saxophone voice and piano.

“Fly Me To The Moon” comes next and even if this song is played and heard so many times the open interpretation of Champian and the excellent sax solo by Cory gave me great pleasure.

“Lullaby Of Art” from Champian’s “Speechless” album is the next song. This instrumental song gives Cory and Champian the opportunity for a longer and more expressive solo and both musicians make use of it. One of my highlights on the album.

The beautiful ballad “Darn That Dream” comes next. An open beginning with Champian singing and playing the piano , the second verse with saxophone fillings and then a very expressive sax solo  followed by an inventive piano solo which results in more than seven minutes of multi-colored entertainment.

“Pennies From Heaven” is then more steady with a walking piano bass line setting the foundation for Cory’s and Champian’s honky-tonk piano solo.

“Once I Had A Secret Love” increases the pace one more time and Cory Weeds gets another great moment to show his versatility and mastery with an excellent solo. Champian Fulton also plays a nice solo but she stays much cooler then Cory does.

The next song is “I Thought About You” and this is somehow the most important song on the album. More than nine minutes of rolling and growling of Champian on the piano and Cory Weeds in a bluesy mood give this song it’s character.

The album continues with a swinging “Tangerine” in nice contrast after the earthy and heavy song before.

“I’d Give A Dollar For A Dime” comes next and the duo returns to their open and soft ballad music with Cory using the space this setup gives him.

The album closes with “Save Your Love For Me” and this song shows one more time the fun both musicians have and how much they enjoy the freedom in a duo.

This is just a nice album, recorded in an intimate live session with no extra effects, so it is music pure where two great artists show how much fun musicians and audience can have playing and listening to these popular songs. If you want to bring this spirit in your living or dining room then order this album and you have Champian Fulton and Cory Weeds playing exclusively for you. Enjoy, you will not regret it.

Champian Fulton is permanently on tour, she will be in Germany and Scandinavia in November and she is quite often performing in New York City.  I saw here some years ago in Estavayer in Switzerland which was great fun and she promised to be back in Bern hopefully next year.

More details and tour dates of Champian Fulton are found on her website:

And finally a playlist of this album on Spotify:

John Pearce: Just Friends


Bristol-based violinist John Pearce has released his debut album “Just Friends” on September 18. The album contains a tasty collection of ten standards including some of my personal favorites like “You Don’t Know What Love Is” or “Just Friends”.

John Pearce started to play violin at the age of seven and was trained as classical violinist before he found his way into jazz music. He is not only a sought-after classical violinist but also an active member of the Bristol jazz scene.  He is accompanied on this album by

  • David Newton – piano
  • Will Harris – double bass
  • Ian Matthews – drums

all of them well-known in Bristol and South-West-England.

The album starts with the title song “Just Friends”. This song begins with a funny intro and picks up during the violin solo. The band is really hard grooving and John Pearce has a phenomenal violin sound. We also hear a great piano solo and an interlude with a nice drums solo. Excellent start into this album.

“Alice in Wonderland” indulges in elegancy before the song accelerates. Again, a great swinging band and beautiful solos by violin and piano strengthen the impression that this band knows how to play this tunes relaxed and sophisticated.

“Joy Spring” adds new colors to the album. David Newton plays on a Fender Rhodes. The groove is heavy, almost funky with David Newton having the first solo. John takes over and sings his solo together with the violin which adds another unique sound to this song. This is definitely one of the highlights on the album.

The next two songs are two of my favorite ballads, “Moonlight in Vermont” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is”.

“Moonlight in Vermont” begins in a pop-music-style with the piano playing arpeggios and long notes on the violin  (with just a little bit of vibrato) switching to a bluesy piano solo and an expressive violin solo before it returns to the soft style from the beginning.

David Newton’s piano playing in “You Don’t Know What Love Is” reminds me a little bit of Gil Goldstein with Pat Martino. The solos come from piano and violin and show the different approach each musicians chooses. David Newton has the bluesy-touch and John Pearce looks for a beautiful melody and at the end he plays a classically inspired cadence.

The next song is “Caravan” by Duke Ellington. This version has again some special effects. Ian Matthews plays the drums in jungle-style and also gets the chance to shine with an extended solo and the piano solo on the Fender Rhodes is overdubbed over the “normal” piano.

“Stompin’ At The Savoy” has received a nice makeover with a steady stomping bass in the A part of the tune and a walking bass in the bridge. The violin solo starts in best coffee house style, soft and gentle but with fine dynamics. Will Harris on bass takes the last solo in this tune.

The album continues with “So Danco Samba” played very clear and transparent with a nice steady groove by drums and bass.  The violin solo starts light as feather and piano solo caters for the earthy sound.

The ballad “My Foolish Heart”  is played beautifully by John Pearce. Long notes in high position and large intervals with perfect intonation.

The album closes with “Lester Leaps In”, a tune based on Rhythm-changes where violin, piano and drums have a chance to present again their stupendous technical skills in an up-tempo-swing tune.

Overall “Just Friends” is a great album with many well known standards that received an superb makeover and come with a personal touch. The songs sound new and refreshing and John Pearce and his fellow musicians present them in a very positive vibe and a lot of energy.

John is currently on a promotion tour in the UK for this album. details are on his website:

I have a video of this band playing “Skylark”:

And finally a playlist of this album on Spotify: