Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and pioneering jazz-rock drummer Danny Seraphine is a founding member of the legendary band Chicago, which with over 130 million albums sold, has become one of the world’s biggest and most beloved rock and roll bands.
Chicago initially gained fame opening for music legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and the Beach Boys, hitting its stride almost immediately after their debut effort, Chicago Transit Authority, a double album, came out in 1969.
The iconic group that captured the hearts of millions of fans has earned 23 gold, 18 platinum, and 8 multi-platinum albums to date. They have had five number-one albums and 21 top-ten singles. On April 8, 2016 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at Barclay’s Center in New York.
From the beginning, Seraphine, as the drummer, was always the backbone of the operation. It was his job to keep everyone in time and on balance. He set the pace and carried it through to the end, no matter what. In 1990, after 23 years performing, composing and recording albums with Chicago, Seraphine experienced a jarring parting of ways with the band mates that he considered brothers. The rift threw his life into chaos. Together they had toured the world and created one of the most enduring American songbooks of all time. He left music behind for 15 years, focusing his creative energy on producing, as well as working with a variety of Broadway musical and theatrical projects. After grueling decades spent on the road, Seraphine settled in Colorado, and seized the opportunity to devote more time to his family, deepening his bonds with all six of his children.
In the end, it was a request to play a benefit show for a fellow drummer that pulled Seraphine out of seclusion and sparked a musical rebirth. That night, basking in the glow of a standing ovation, Seraphine realized how much he missed performing.
In 2007, spiritually and creatively reinvigorated, Seraphine returned to the stage with his new jazz-rock powerhouse group, California Transit Authority (CTA) often described as “Chicago on steroids”—and he made peace with his past with the refreshingly candid memoir Street Player: My Chicago Story (Wiley).
Critically acclaimed as an instrumentalist and a composer, Rolling Stone magazine has ranked “the father of jazz rock” as one of the top 100 drummers of all time.
“He’s known the world over as the soulful singer/keyboardist of the iconic jazz-pop band Chicago. His featured spots on the hits “Look Away” and “Hard Habit to Break” are among his mainstream highlights. But Bill Champlin’s defining work with the Sons of Champlin and as a songwriter put him on the musical map long before he arrived in Chicago. Bill and the Sons were blowing the doors off venues back in the ’70s – and they returned to doing the same in the late ’90s and into the present.” Greg Rule, Keyboard Magazine
Bill Champlin was born in Oakland, California on May 21, 1947 to a musical family. His grandparents, mother and sisters have all been singers. Bill is married to Tamara Champlin (a singer/songwriter in her own right) and is the father of three children. His youngest, Will Champlin, is building a name for himself as a prolific songwriter with a distinct sound.
Champlin’s musical career began in 1961 when he formed a band called the Opposite Six. A year later he began writing music. After forming the Sons of Champlin in 1967, he focused his songwriting talents on producing material for the Sons. “They were breathing fire. They were the most talented of all the San Francisco bands”, said Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. The Sons’ first album, “Loosen Up Naturally”, was released in 1969, followed by six more albums before they broke up in 1977. Many of these have been re-released as CD’s and are currently available for purchase.
After the breakup of the Sons, Bill moved to Los Angeles and worked as a session lead and background vocalist on numerous recordings from 1977-1985. Some of the artists that he has worked with include Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, Elton John, Boz Scaggs, Donna Summer, Nancy Wilson, George Benson, Jimmy Smith, Amy Grant, Neil Diamond and Kenny Rogers. In 1978 he released “Single”, his first solo album. In 1979 he won his first Grammy award for co-writing “After the Love is Gone”, which was later recorded by Earth, Wind & Fire. During the recent Chicago/EWF tours in 2004 and 2005, Champlin was asked to perform this song with them, as lead singer.
The National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) awarded Bill the Most Valuable Player peer award for male background vocalists in 1980. In 1981 he won another Grammy for co-writing Turn Your Love Around for George Benson, and released his second solo album that year, “Runaway”. In 1982 he joined Chicago to record Chicago 16. “Bill’s exactly what we’ve been looking for,” said Chicago’s Robert Lamm. His very distinctive and expressive vocals can be heard on Chicago’s hit, “Hard Habit to Break”.
In 1988 Bill’s recording of the song, “In the Heat of the Night”, was picked up as a show opener by the television show of the same name. The following year Chicago released the song of the year, “Look Away”, featuring Champlin on lead vocals. In 1990 Bill released the critically acclaimed “No Wasted Moments”. That same year he was asked to perform two songs from “No Wasted Moments” at the Tokyo Music Festival, and was presented with their songwriter of the year award.
Next came four solo albums, “Burn Down The Night” (1992), “Through It All” (1994), “He Started To Sing” (1995) and “Mayday” (1996). In July, 1997, “Here in my Heart” topped the adult contemporary charts for Chicago, featuring Champlin on lead vocals. 1997 also saw an a capella release of “West Coast All Stars”, a project he did with Jason Scheff of Chicago, and Toto’s Bobby Kimball and Joseph Williams.
The Sons of Champlin reunited in 1997, with a loyal group of enthusiastic fans traveling great distances to see them perform. They recorded “Live At The Luther Burbank Center” in 1998, as well as “Secret” (CD and DVD) and “Hip Lil’ Dreams’ in 2002.
Bill’s newest release is the solo CD / DVD “No Place Left To Fall”. It was recorded at the Barber Shop Studios in Hopatcong, New Jersey for the DreamMakers Music label. It was first released by JVC Japan on September 24, 2008, as well as being released for digital downloading, and later released in Europe by Zink Music on December 10, 2008. The U.S. release by DreamMakers was on August 4, 2009.
With “No Place Left to Fall”, Bill Champlin made the album he was born to make, a career-defining record with an honesty and immediacy that reflect his old-school approach to music – and his complete disregard for the old-model music industry.
After 28 years with Chicago, Bili parted ways with the classic jazz/rock band to focus once again on his solo career. The announcement came on the heels of the August 4th release of “No Place Left to Fall”. “This music is callin’ me,” said Champlin.
The two-time GRAMMY® award winner then launched a successful West Coast tour beginning in November of 2009, with the Bill Champlin Band promoting “No Place Left To Fall”, followed by a Sons of Champlin tour in March, 2010. He was also invited to Norway earlier that year by the Norwegian Kringkastings Orchestra to perform with his wife, Tamara Champlin, in Oslo.
In the words of drummer, Billy Ward, “I became a Bill Champlin fan in the early seventies when he led, what was to me, a ground-breaking band, The Sons Of Champlin. He’s written and sang on probably over 400 hit songs, the later ones with the band Chicago. His organ playing has him ranked on most peoples “A” list and he plays the heck out of the guitar as well! He is one of the finest musicians I’ve ever gotten the privilege to play with.” Dennis Cook, in Jambase and Relix Magazine adds, “Age has done nothing to diminish his powers, and in fact, brings nuances to the material that a young cat just can’t muster.”
American guitarist, songwriter, producer and recording artist, Ray Parker Jr., is best known for writing and performing the theme song to the motion picture Ghostbusters, for his solo hits, and performing with his band Raydio as well as the late Barry White.
Now, Parker enjoys spending time with his family while continuing his love and passion for music. He performs in various concerts throughout the world so make sure you check out the Events page to see when he will be performing near you.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Will Champlin is holding his own among an industry of giants. From his education at Berklee College of Music in Boston to his time spent songwriting in Nashville, there can be no doubt that Will is a well refined musical Timebomb! An accomplished and versatile piano player, Will draws influence from artists like Stevie Wonder, Billy Preston, and Bruce Hornsby.
Will’s father Bill was a member of the infamous Rock band ‘Chicago’ for nearly 30 years and his mother Tamara is an accomplished songwriter and vocalist. Both parents strongly encouraged and fostered his natural musical abilities. In 2006, Will toured extensively as frontman for the Salvador Santana Band opening up for Carlos Santana and The Los Lonely Boys in Major Concert Venues across the U.S. In 2008, Will won for best R&B/Soul at the ‘Hollywood Music Awards’ for a song from his self-titled debut, ‘Now that we’re fallin’. He was also awarded Meer Music/Fame Games artist of the year in 2009. Will has had the opportunity to work with many top songwriters in the business such as Andreas Carlsson, Keith Thomas, Michael Caruso, Rivers Rutherford, Eric Bazilian, and many others.
Recently, Will Champlin landed his first major cut on Heather Headley’s Grammy Winning “Audience of One” Pop/R&B/Gospel album produced by Keith Thomas. Will is a soulful artist with an R&B/Rock/Pop Style that pulses with honesty, attitude, and inspiration. Wills tenacity and passion is evident in everything note and lyric he sings. Nuances of his charisma and soul are captured in every song. This music will make you move and move you at the same time.
Versatility is the key component of this talented musician, bassist, singer and producer, who hails from the Motor City.
Rob McDonald, counts among his early influences such greats as Larry Graham, Sly Stone, Johnny “Guitar’ Watson, Bootsy Collins, Stanley Clark, Louis Johnson, EW&F, Louis Satterfield, is a compilation of versatility, resulting from performing with the very best in the music industry.
A self-taught musician, bassist, producer and singer/songwriter, Rob McDonald, began his musical career at an early age. Growing up in a musical household, McDonald learned to play drums at the age of six. Because his three older brothers each played drums, it seemed the logical choice; however, as McDonald’s talent grew, he found it harder and harder to find a full set of drums readily available.
Since all his brothers always used the drums both at home and at the local gigs, Rob decided it was time to try a new instrument, the guitar.
Emulating the style of legendary guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, Rob learned to play the guitar left-handed and upside down. (not knowing Jimi’s right-handed guitar was actually strung left-handed). This proved to be a difficult method for playing open cords, and that was when, at the age of 13, he picked up the bass for the first time.
Proving to be a talented musician, Rob McDonald performed with his high school’s concert and jazz bands, and upon graduation from Cooley High, moved to Los Angeles with a Detroit based band called Paradise. Local gigs and an international tour in Japan soon followed.
Honing his skills while working local clubs he got his break touring with national productions of “Your Arms Are Too Short to Box with God” starring Jennifer Holiday, and “The Wiz” starring Grace Jones, Peabo Bryson, Tony Terry, Cece Peniston, and Howard Hewitt.
Today Rob attracts the attention of US top national artists.
Today Rob’s impressive resume as a session and touring musician includes appearances with The Funk Brothers, Chaka Khan, Chanté Moore, Toni Braxton, Patti Austin, Brenda Russell, The Bus Boys, Jazz Festivals with Norman Brown, Cindy Bradley, Jeff Lorber, Jeffery Osbourne, Gail Jhonson, Marion Meadows, Richard Elliot and so many others!
This summer (2013) you can catch Rob with The Sophisticated Gents Tour featuring six great Jazz artist who performed with legends: Surewill (George Duke, Al Jarreau), Joel Del Rosario (Smooth Jazz Guitarist of the year), Robert McDonald (Norman Brown), Dee Lucas (Smooth Jazz Chart Buster), Karey A. Davis (George Duke, Martin Lawrence) and Jabari Kersey (Marion Meadows).
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