The National Jazz Museum in Harlem
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Past Events

Jazz at the Players
'S Wonderful: Jazz meets Broadway
January 13, 2010

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem AllStars, featuring vocalist Champian Fulton, play the music of George and Ira Gershwin, Fats Waller, Cole Porter, and Duke Ellington for the very first Jazz at the Players event.

Born in 1985, Champian Fulton grew up in Norman, Oklahoma with her two loving parents, Stephen and Susan. Influenced at an early age by her father Stephen, a jazz trumpeter, she fell in love with the music. Surrounded by her father's musician friends, including Clark Terry and Major Holley, Champian learned the language of jazz firsthand. She began to study piano with her grandmother at age 5, and, as singing became more and more important to her, Champian began to play jazz piano to accompany herself at home. Champian's family moved to LeMars, Iowa in 1994, when her father became the director of the Clark Terry Institute for Jazz Studies. She formed her first band at this time—"Little Jazz Quintet"—all of whose members were under the age of 10, except for the trumpeter - the elder of the group - who was 12 years old. The "Little Jazz Quintet" performed at many events in LeMars, including Clark Terry's 75th birthday party. After a short move to New York, Champian and her family returned to Norman Oklahoma in 1998. Her full attention turned to jazz at this time, and by 1999 Champian was performing with her new band all around the region. 1999 included appearances at the Kemah Boardwalk Jazz Festival, the Corpus Christi Jazz Festival, and the Jazz in June Festival held in Norman, Oklahoma. 2001 marked the beginning of Champian's stint at Maker's Cigar & Piano Bar in Oklahoma City. The owner of Maker's, Clinton Greehaw, was very supportive of Champian as she grew musically as a professional performer. The Champian Fulton Trio would continue to perform at Maker's nearly every weekend through 2003, when she graduated from Norman North High School as valedictorian and made her move to NYC to attend SUNY Purchase Music Conservatory. Since then, Champian has become a part of the jazz scene in the Big Apple. Besides leading her own gigs, Champian has been able to play with some world-class musicians, such as Louis Hayes, Jimmy Cobb, Frank Wess, and Lou Donaldson. You can catch her and her trio/quartet at a number of different venues in Manhattan, including Birdland, where Champian has held a steady gig for the past 3 years. A perpetual student of jazz piano and jazz singing, Champian mentions Erroll Garner, Bud Powell, Sonny Clark, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughan as some of her main influences. Champian graduated from SUNY Purchase with a Bachelor of Music Degree in May of 2006. Her new CD "Sometimes I'm Happy" was released in September 2008 on Venus Records. She currently resides in NYC and performs with her trio.

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