Champian Fulton

Champian Fulton, a pianist/vocalist, grew up in a home that included music. Stephen Fulton, her father and teacher, was a jazz trumpeter and educator who quickly noticed their daughter’s love for music. Her father’s musical friends, Clark Terry and Major Holley, helped her to focus on music. At five years old, she began to play piano with her grandmother. She then took up drumming, trumpet, singing and drumming, before finally settling down on vocals and piano. After Stephen Fulton was appointed director of the Clark Terry Institute for Jazz Studies, the family moved to Lemars (IA) in 1994. Champian was a participant in the summer camp jazz program. She met other young jazz musicians from her region and formed the Little Jazz Quintet. For the next few years they would perform together, performing shows that were purely Terry’s, including Terry’s 75th Birthday party. Dinah Washington was a vocal inspiration for Fulton. She loved her album For Those in Love and she continued to listen to it often. Sarah Vaughan quickly became a favourite. Nat King Cole was a jazz artist she admired, as well as Wynton Kelly, Bud Powell and Hampton Hawes. She also loved Sonny Clark and Thelonious Monk. The family relocated to New York in 1998. Champian continued playing with her band and appeared at many jazz festivals. She began a two-year stint at Maker’s Cigar Piano Bar, Oklahoma City, in 2001. Fulton graduated as valedictorian from her high school in 2003. She moved to New York to study jazz piano and performance at SUNY Purchase Music Conservatory. This school was appealing to her because it had 100 practice rooms equipped with Steinway grand pianos, which were open 24 hours a days. Jon Faddis was a trumpeter who she loved and who shared the knowledge of someone who has been involved in recording and touring for many decades. He also tailored his instruction to students’ needs. Fulton graduated from college in 2006. She then moved to New York City. Fulton has been performing in New York City venues such as Birdland, Smalls, Cleopatra’s Needle and Shanghai Jazz. She has also played with jazz legends like Lou Donaldson and Jimmy Cobb. Her debut CD was recorded in 2007 and released in 2008.

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