Campbell’s uncle is Jimmy Smith; Campbell played with him as a teenager and subsequently. He was a student at Berklee College of Music from 1975 to 1979, where he played with Tiger Okoshiand Marlena Shaw, and led a band which included Kevin Eubanks. After graduating he became a member of Dizzy Gillespie‘s big band, where he worked until 1982; he then joined John McLaughlin‘s group until 1984. He recorded with Eubanks throughout the 1980s and played with Sonny Rollins, Tania Maria, Gary Burton, Igor Butman, and Makoto Ozone in the decade. After relocating to New York City in 1988, he worked with his own group alongside Charnett Moffett, Aydin Esen, and Eubanks. He also worked in a trio setting with David Kikoski and Alex Blake. As a sideman, he worked in the 1990s with Stanley Jordan, the Manhattan Transfer, the Great Saxophone Quartet, David Murray, Ray Anderson, and Mingus Big Band. In early 1998 he moved to Japan and has split his time between the two countries since then.