Today’s young jazz musicians are often remarkably prolific. Champian Fulton is 31 and has now released eight albums. Speechless is an example of another current trend: the insistence of so many young players on recording their own material, sometimes exclusively.
Both trends are understandable. They want to get their music out there and strut their own stuff; they don’t want to rehash the same old standards; they don’t want to pay licensing fees. But often, the best tracks on several average albums could have made one strong one. And there are many more good players than composers. Everything Fulton writes sounds vaguely familiar, probably because her pieces contain so many generic, timeworn constructs. Sometimes the familiarity is explicit: “Pergola” opens like “Crazy He Calls Me.”