We know what you’re thinking: Oh, great, here come the pandemic albums. Those who didn’t merely dump their offerings on Bandcamp during the initial wave, the artists who actually paid for a publicist and a pressing plant, are just now putting out their quarantine music. But if any COVID releases endure, it’ll most likely be because they tapped into the good things about the lockdown: family, quietude, and new connections. Luckily, Champian Fulton—a leading light in vocal jazz—understands that most quarantine albums suck. With that in mind, she decided to make a (gasp!) good one.
Live from Lockdown is a well-curated and lushly recorded collection of originals, like “Pass the Hat,” and standards, like “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.” Throughout, she’s accompanied by her talented father, flugelhornist and trumpeter Stephen Fulton, who provides the kind of emotional counterpoint only possible from a parent. Really, it’s all one long highlight reel—a cozy, private show you get to enjoy with pristine, non-phone-speaker sound.
In a recorded message from the Fultons at the end, Champian calls Live from Lockdown “a special remembrance and a souvenir” from their livestreamed home-concert series of the same name. An apt description—and, in this case, a souvenir isn’t a bad thing. Because look where we are: What we thought might last two months is closing in on two years. It’s safe to say we’ll remember this forever.
Let this be the music we remember from the COVID-19 era, then, instead of something tatty, haphazard, or unnecessarily negative: a father and daughter facing an uncertain future and opting to have a musical conversation. Thank goodness we get to be a fly on the wall.