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Born in Oklahoma, Champian is considered one of the most gifted pure Jazz musicians of her generation. 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, Scott Hamilton, 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 fourteen recordings to her credit. 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 releases “Sometimes I’m Happy” (2008 Venus Records) and “the breeze and I” (2010 Gut String Records) featured her working trio. Champian’s following two releases, “Champian Sings and Swings” (2013 Sharp Nine) and “Change Partners” (2014 Cellar Live) were both recognized as being “in the top 10 releases of the year” for their respective years by the NY Observer. Champian’s album, “After Dark” (2016) with Jazz luminaries David Williams on bass, Lewis Nash on drums, and Stephen Fulton on flugelhorn, features the music of Dinah Washington. In 2017, she published no less than three albums: a strictly instrumental album (“Speechless” – Posi-Tone), a wonderful recording with Scott Hamilton (“The Things We Did Last Summer” – Blau Records) and “Christmas with Champian” (Champian Records). Her 10th album, “The Stylings of Champian,” released in 2018 is a two disc set which was named one of the Top 5 Jazz Releases of the Year by NYC Jazz Record. 2019 saw the release of an intimate live duo recording, “Dream a Little…” with Jazz altoist Cory Weeds. Champian’s 2020 release “Birdsong” celebrating the music of Charlie Parker features Scott Hamilton. Called “buoyant” by the New York Times, “Birdsong” was featured as Album of the Week by WRTI Philadelphia, JazzFM UK, and TSF Jazz Paris. In 2021 Champian will release two albums: “Live from Lockdown” a special duo album with Stephen Fulton and “I’ll See You in My Dreams” on the Japanese label Venus, featuring her Scandinavian trio.
Recognized as a Rising Jazz Star by the Downbeat Magazine Critic’s Poll, Champian was also named Pianist and Vocalist of 2019 by Hot House Magazines Readers Poll. Her “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)