The Sons of Champlin are very much a part of the rich tapestry that was
the San Francisco music scene of the Fillmore and Avalon Ballrooms. Their
funky Hammond B-3 and horns sound was utterly distinctive and quite unlike the
rest of the Bay Area’s psychedelic guitar bands. Celebrating the human
spirit, philosophical themes driven by funk infused R&B and jazz based tempos
continued to set the Sons apart. Often hard to define because of their
eclectic mix of material, the Sons were playing acid jazz before it had a name.
Always known for their outstanding musicianship, they have become the
benchmark against which other players have measured their chops. The Sons
released seven albums between 1968 and 1977. After a twenty year hiatus, the
Sons reunited for a series of successful reunion gigs in 1997. In cooperation
with Grateful Dead Records, the Sons recorded and released their first ever
"live" CD in 1998. The earlier studio releases never quite captured the
magic of their live shows. Quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Grateful
Dead's Mickey Hart said of those earlier shows, "they were breathing
fire... they were the most talented of all the bands."
Early in 2002 Bill Champlin agreed it was "too good not to continue." In an
extraordinary partnership with the Expression Center for New Media,
located in Emeryville, CA., the Sons are back on stage and back in the recording
studio. They released the CD & DVD, "Secret", which captures the magic of
the Sons at their best, not just live ... but Alive. This would be followed
by a new Studio Album "Hip L'il Dreams" in 2005(they have also over the
years re-mastered much of their back catalogue). In 2007, Acadia Records
released a compilation of three Sons' Ariola albums, "The Sons of Champlin", "
Circle Filled With Love" and "Loving Is Why". The title of this two-CD
set is "The Ariola Years".
Between October of 2007 and February of 2010 the Sons were on hiatus, due
to scheduling conflicts. However, March through September of 2010 they
toured the West Coast again, to rave reviews. Current Lineup for the Sons is
As of this writing, Champlin appears with original members Palmer and
Preston. Additional band members include Will Champlin--Keys, Guitar, Vocals;
Tamara Champlin--Vocals; Carmen Grillo--Guitar Vocals; Curtis
Ohlson--Bass; Jeff Lewis--Trumpet; Doug Rowan--Sax