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Born in Oklahoma, Champian Fulton has become a world class Jazz pianist and vocalist with international acclaim. She grew up with music in the home; her mother and father (Jazz trumpeter and educator Stephen Fulton) recognized her fascination with music at an early age. The presence of her father’s musician friends, including Clark Terry and Major Holley, inspired her focus on Jazz. Her first paid musical engagement was with her own band at Clark Terry’s 75th Birthday Party; she was 10 years old. Since then, her piano and voice skills have been recognized by peers and critics as distinctive and sophisticated. This young woman from Oklahoma captivates audiences in New York’s finest Jazz rooms and in concert halls around the world.
A mainstay on the vibrant New York Jazz scene, she has performed with musical royalty such as Lou Donaldson, Frank Wess, Eric Alexander, Buster Williams, and Louis Hayes. From New York to Barcelona, Champian’s swinging style and charismatic performances have made her a guardian of the legacy of Jazz. Champian’s heroes include Bud Powell, Red Garland, Erroll Garner, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, and Dinah Washington.
Jazz education is a concern near and dear to Champian’s heart, having been inspired by Clark Terry’s tireless advocacy for the perpetuation of the craft. Clark coached her on rehearsal techniques, performance etiquette, private teaching, and the business of the Jazz. Champian strives to impart this unique knowledge to students around the world, while being involved in educational programs such as Litchfield Jazz Camp and Rutgers Jazz Institute. Her skills as an educator in Jazz come from the highest authorities as she works to perpetuate the Jazz language.
Champian is ambitious about recording her music. As a leader she has five recordings to her credit while still in her twenties. Her debut album, Champian with David Berger & the Sultans of Swing (2007 Such Sweet Thunder Records) was recorded following a two-year residency at the famed New York Jazz Club Birdland. Her following releases Sometimes I’m Happy (2008 Venus Records) and the breeze and I (2010 Gut String Records) featured her working trio. Champian Sings and Swings (2013 Sharp Nine) was acknowledged as “one of the top ten Jazz releases of the year” (NY Observer). Champian’s fifth recording, Change Partners: Live at the Yardbird Suite(2014 Cellar Live), was recorded in front of a live audience while on tour in Canada.
Recognized as a Rising Jazz Star by the Downbeat Magazine Critic’s Poll (2013 & 2014), Champian’s “galvanizing presence” (the New Yorker) and her alluring musical presentation have made her “a charming young steward of the mainstream Jazz tradition.” (The New York Times)