Born: October 26, 1958 Primary Instrument: Piano
Bill Champitto is a fiery Boston-based singer/songwriter/pianist and Hammond B3 organist whose music was aptly defined by an ardent web fan as “Soul, Funkified Jazz.”
Originally from Troy, New York, Bill started playing keyboards by ear at age 15 when two of his closest friends received a drum set and a guitar for Christmas gifts.
“My friends started to woodshed in their pool house and when I went over to check it out, I was immediately hooked! I had to be part of this!”
“One of these guys suggested I play bass, so we found a ‘gently used’ bass for $5.00 and suddenly, we had a trio.” But after a couple of weeks the group found someone who ‘could actually PLAY bass’ so Bill had to give up his gig. That's when Bill found a tabletop organ (or perhaps it found him) and a quartet was formed.
Bill devoured everything by ear--taping tons of music and woodshedding until he got it right. He even convinced the pastor of the local St. Jude Catholic Church to allow him to practice on the church's big Hammond B3.
“The nuns would chase me away, but the pastor was cool with it. I’d learn Santana solos on this organ and rock out the otherwise tranquil church,” says Bill.
Bill had great ears, no doubt and he quickly earned an audition with a local club band.
“Music saved my life. At the time I was hanging out in an area surrounded by lots of drugs and gangs and such, but music took me in another direction.”
Being self-taught, Bill picked up everything he could from the wide variety of the players he worked with, including jazz standards, jazz fusion, reggae, Southern rock, blues, alternative rock and Latin styles.
“My first real gig was in a club on Troy's then undeveloped Hudson River waterfront, called Sutter’s Mining Company. I had just landed a gig with a seven piece band named Stage where the seven of us split the cover charges from the door! I was 15 years old performing in this packed club but what I remember most was being served drinks by waitresses that wore nothing under their unbuttoned black leather vests. It was very educational!”
Stage lasted in the greater Albany/Troy/Syracuse area for several years, and after a breakup in '78, transformed into a band called Click. Click was a high-energy band that toured extensively and at one time opened for Spyro Gyra as well as Santana. The well-rehearsed, tight cover band performed all the great late ‘70s material from Tower of Power, Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears and the like. Bill was rocking the band out with his powerhouse vocals and keyboard skills from the late ‘70s to the early ‘80s.
“We were a show band performing five-40-minute sets a night for six nights a week, then packing up and traveling to a new city to do it again. It was an insane schedule, but I had a blast and learned a lot.”
In 1981, wanting to learn as much as possible about the music he loved, Bill moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. There he studied with well-known, highly regarded musicians such as pianist Bob Winter, pianist/arranger Ray Santisi, trumpet player Greg Hopkins and trombonist/arranger/bandleader Phil Wilson.
“I jumped fully in, devoting 24/7 to the music thing and burned through the entire four-year program at Berklee in five semesters and a summer.”
By 1983, Bill had graduated from Berklee, Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music Degree. Life after Berklee brought a lot more club work, studio gigs and some cool corporate shows. When Bill became a dad and the reality of surviving financially in the music biz hit home, he took off in another direction to make “a living.” He learned IT in a 3-month program and landed a full time “day gig” working in the corporate/tech world.
Bill continued performing, launched his own band with original songs and played around Boston in well-known music haunts like Bunratty’s, The Channel, T.T. The Bear’s, The Middle East and Upstairs at Ryles. His group, Little Alex, with its original brand of pop/jazz/fusion with vocals had promises of landing a record deal. At the same time, Bill was also teaching music and still doing the IT gig until his job required him to travel, making it impossible for him to continue performing.
Despite a multi-year break from performing in the late 1990s - early 2000s, music still circulated strongly in Bill’s blood. The corporate world provided a living, but music remained his heartbeat.
When Bill returned to the scene in 2005, his new band was hot enough to open for the legendary James Cotton, James Montgomery’s Blues Band, Paula Cole and others. They also performed at the Old Iron Springs Festival in Saratoga, New York and the weeklong Yankee Homecoming street festival on the waterfront in Newburyport, Massachusetts, among other events and gigs in the Northeast.
Coming full circle and listening to that musical pulse, Bill released his first full CD in 2007 on his own label. Titled, Water’s Edge, the recording is available on iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, Amazon MP3 and other major web-based music outlets. Water’s Edge refers to the scenic area where he lives--Winthrop, Massachusetts, overlooking the ocean and Boston's amazing skyline.
In the fall of 2008, Bill entered and won the Steppin’ Out with the Stars Talent Search, which put him on the main stage alongside the great Lalah Hathaway at Boston’s most anticipated annual fundraising gala for the Dimock Center. This gave a powerful push to his career.
2009 will bring the release of another hot, new CD. Entitled Bounce, this new disc will celebrate Bill’s full “bounce back to his first love, music.”
“Masterful.…. well crafted and excellent... Bill has a soulful voice filled with a great ebb and flow. His vocals are tight and thoughtful. Its a great R&B … may be the best I have heard.“ The J from GarageBand.com, Sept 2008
Chosen as Best Male Vocals in Jazz,, Best Keyboards overall, Best Beat in Jazz by GarageBand.com reviewers. Sept 2008
“passion and commitment � this music is about picking one thing and doing it better than anyone else… Bill knows what he is doing, is soulful and jazzy….”
Ben Maitland-Lewis Sidehatch Entertainment Oct 2007
“Some of the best unsigned music in the world” Marty Marmor, Schmusicmusic 2007
I love the music, Bill is a classic. In the long run his efforts will take him a long way. Jason (Airomee Wind), The Que 98.2 FM Online Smooth Jazz Radio
The Musician’s Atlas, Artist Spotlight 2008 Artist
Canadian Music Week, Best Unsigned Artist 2006
Included on “Expose Your Muse, Blues and Rock Collection” 2008, distributed globally by Public Muse.
Your music is excellent, crossing a lot of stylistic boundaries, a little like Les McCann without copying him or anyone else. I think you'll do well.
Scott Yanow, Jazz Critique/Contributor for Jazziz, Jazz Times (the Archivist column), Coda, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Senior Editor for the 3rd edition of the All Music Guide For Jazz, writer for the Jazz Heritage Club and biographies in the 2008 Playboy Jazz Festival program guide, and reviewer of more jazz recordings then anyone in the nation. December 2008
Radio/Internet Radio Play:
WFNX Sunday Jazz Brunch with Jeff Turton WGBH FM, Jazz Gallery with Al Davis WATD FM Round Midnight with Sherry Smith WICN FM with Tyra Penn WEIB FM playlist and sponsored concert in Worcester, MA. Featured artist on Artist Freedom Collective (AFC Radio): After winning thirds place in their 2009 song writer contest, Bill became a featured artist on their broadcast, which reaches an international audience.
The Que 98.2 Online Smooth Jazz Radio: Airomee Wind’s Cimplex Music Studios is a full service record label based in Salt Lake City, Utah that serves to promote the Smooth Jazz/New Age artists. Their internet radio station, The Que 98.2, plays the hottest, the very best in Smooth Jazz/New Age music on the planet and all the genres that fit into these two classes of music.
Radio Fly 1: An independent radio station of music that is from the soul and for the soul. The station, which broadcasts 24/7, is carried on Live365.com, which attracts 3 MILLION visitors per month. Radio Fly 1 is currently an online station, but we’ll be negotiating syndication with radio stations nation wide, and we hope to be available soon via satellite as well.
WPXC-PIXY 103, “Cape Cod’s Rock”, ‘Homegrown’: ‘Homegrown’ is hosted by Rock Babe Suzanne Tonaire and has been recognized for Excellence in Broadcasting by the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association. The radio show is the longest running local music show of it's kind and selects bands for live in-studio interviews and live performances. PIXY 103 reaches approx. 40,000 listeners a week and is now broadcasting worldwide at pixy103.com
MoozikooRadio.com: Based out of Nashville, TN is a streaming online station, which airs 24/7, recognized Bill as The Best of Today's Independent Music.
Magazines and Online Publications: Skopemag.com “Artist To Watch”: Janie Franz from Skope Magazine gets over 3 million hits and 500K unique visitors per month from all over the globe.
(inside the) Sidehatch Vault: A bi-weekly publication with a 2,000+ targeted circulation covering all aspects and opinions surrounding the underground Boston music scene. The Vault is a progressive publication that is fast gaining a reputation in Boston as the comprehensive guide to all things underground! http://www.sidehatchentertainment.com/.
1st place in OurStage.com’s March 08 JVC Newport Jazz Festival competition.
The Musician’s Atlas, Artist Spotlight 2008
Television: “Home Grown Video”: LMM Entertainment’s new music TV show. Home Grown Video features Un-signed, Un-known, Indie Bands and Artists’ to for over 500,000 viewers in the New York Tri-State Area.
New Music Showcase: A one-hour video music program taped at the Comcast studio in Springfield, MA is produced to promote musicians. Each episode is one-hour in length which includes a 45 to 50-minute set from one musical act, and a ten minute interview. Walter Gonet, Creator and Executive Producer of the New Music Showcase and Owner of WG Records, has been in the music industry since the 1970’s and is very passionate about promoting and developing young and up-and-coming talent. The show distributed through various Public Access Channels in over 66 cities throughout 7 states.
Festivals and Events:
Newburyport Yankee Homecoming Festive 2009, 2008, 2007: The festival hosts over 250,000 attendees from all over the world during its 9 days. Bill Champitto and his band will be performing on the Market Square Stage just before the James Montgomery Band kick off their show down at the waterfront. Bill and his band will perform music from his new CD “Bounce”, released in May on billchampitto.com, iTunes, AmazonMP3, Rhapsody and Napster.
2008 Steppin’ Out with the Stars Feature Artist. Steppin’ Out with the Stars Gala is sponsored by Dimock Center, the leader in providing health and human services to Boston’s urban neighborhoods. Bill is representing Boston talent for Dimock’s annual gala which features some of the world’s most prominent jazz artists including Lalah Hathaway, Monty Alexander, Esperanza Spaulding, Teri Lynn Carrington, Andre Ward and others.
Provincetown Rocks 2009: The Festival is an innovative event which will be held from July 22-26, 2009. The festival will be held in multiple venues throughout Cape Cod’s intimate Provincetown center. With nearly 200 performers and 15 music venues, Provincetown Rocks: The Festival!l will prove to be one of New England's best emerging artist music festivals.
The House of Flames 2008 Second Life Virtual Music Festival: Performing as part of a festival taking place entirely in Second Life to an international audience, with the ability for listeners to click through to a web site to purchase or download the artist's music.
The Old Iron Spring Festival of Music and Art 2007: A family oriented festival that centers on live music and artists at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds.
Atlantis 2006 Music Conference & Festival: Atlantis remains the greatest platform for discovery of new talent in America. Atlantis brings together professionals representing all sectors of the music industry. Past showcasing artists include Maroon 5, Los Lonely Boys, John Mayer, Bone Crusher, Cartel, Tony Rich, Goodie Mob, Cee-Lo, Lost Prophets, The Lost Trailers, Sugarland, The Wright’s, Trapt, Bowling for Soup and Kottonmouth Kings.
Compilations: ExposeYourMuse 2008: Public Muse Group produces compilation CDs of original music from the best emerging artists. The CDs are showcased and distributed at an important exhibition held in Cannes of France, to hundreds of distributors, record companies, publishers, media agents, radio stations and others from all over the world.
The Music Independence Summit Connection (MISC) compilation CD Let Me Be Heard Volume 2: The MISC compilation is available at all MISC events, participating retailers and all major online stores such as iTunes, CDBaby and Rhapsody. The goal is to continue to showcase original music from the best emerging artists worldwide.
Schmusicmusic: The Worlds Best Unsigned Music: Shmusicmusic and Veracruz Music International represent Grammy Awarded Songwriters and Record Producers who have both written for and produced some of the world’s top recording artists. The compilation is put in the hands of global industry professionals that attend MIDEM. Midem is quite simply, the worlds leading music market. Representatives from all areas of the industry gather from around the world at this one major event.
Canadian Music Week, Best Unsigned Artist 2006
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.