June 18, 2024


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Justin Kauflin was signed by legendary producer and music icon: Video

10.03. – Happy Birthday !!! Born in Silver Spring, MD, Justin Kauflin began music at age 4 with Suzuki violin, adding piano a few years later. By age 6, he was performing professionally. ​

However, he also endured numerous trials, particularly losing total vision from exudative retinopathy by age 11. He adjusted by learning 5 grades of Braille, cane mobility and, after a decade of classical violin and piano, switched to jazz piano in high school at the Governor’s School for Performing Arts studying with Liz Barnes and Old Dominion University’s John Toomey. He attended the Vail Jazz Workshop, Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Residency, and received top honors in jazz festivals across the U.S. He began performing jazz professionally at age 15, most notably with the Jae Sinnett Trio. ​

In 2004, Justin graduated at the top of both classes alongside his sighted peers at Salem High and the Governor’s School, receiving a Presidential scholarship to attend William Paterson University in New Jersey. At WPU, he was taken under the wings of legendary trumpeter, Clark Terry and was a member in the Clark Terry Ensemble. He also had the tremendous privilege of learning from his hero, the late Mulgrew Miller, as well as Harold Mabern and the late James Williams. He graduated summa cum laude in 2008, moved to NYC and, at age 23 produced, led, composed and performed on his first CD, Introducing Justin Kauflin. ​

In NYC, he was hit with the realization that “visionless independent mobility” is painstakingly slow at best and life-threatening at worst, leading him to The Seeing Eye in NJ & training 24/7 for a month with a black lab named Candy. ​

In 2011, he relocated to Virginia Beach where the Justin Kauflin Trio headlined regularly at Havana Nights Jazz Club, and where he also served as House Pianist. He performed around the country; won the VSA International Young Soloist Award; was voted “Jazz Artist of the Year” in VEER Magazine; and selected as semifinalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. ​ ​

Simultaneously during this time, Justin’s relationship with mentor Clark Terry was being chronicled by friend and fellow musician, Al Hicks. Five years in the making, the resultant documentary, Keep On Keepin’ On, won numerous awards and made the Oscar’s Short List. Justin is also credited for its filmscore along with veteran Dave Grusin. ​

Subsequently, Justin was signed by legendary producer and music icon, Quincy Jones for management, and in 2013 and 2014, was part of Quincy Jones’ World Tours. ​

In addition to promoting Keep On Keepin’ On across the country, Justin worked with Quincy Jones on his second full-length CD and debut album for Jazz Village. His personnel included once again Billy Williams and Etan Haziza, Chris Smith and Matt Stevens. DEDICATION was released January 2015 and debuted at #6 on CMJ Jazz chart, #10 on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Chart, hit #1 on JazzWeek’s chart and remained in the top 10 spot for 9 straight weeks. The Justin Kauflin Trio followed up with two European Tours and several stateside tours. ​

​Since May 2016, Justin relocated to NYC, worked on several independent projects as well as tour Europe with either his trio or as solo artist. His Trio’s 2017 European Tour included Norway, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, and the Netherlands; followed by performances in Jakarta, Indonesia.

2017 also found Justin recorded multiple CD projects, including his own which expects release in 2018: Brian McCarthy’s “The Better Angels of our Nature” and “Codex”, Katie Thiroux’s “Offbeat,” Thomas Fonnesbaek’s duo CD “Synesthesia” and a solo Christmas project featuring Jacob Collier, “Silent Night.” He spent 3 months in Dubai as Artist-in-Residence at Q’s Bar and Lounge in the Palazzo Versace Hotel; with The Katie Thiroux Trio and SEP-OCT with The Justin Kauflin Quartet. He capped the year off with another European Tour and additional recording on Danish bassist Thomas Fonnesbaek’s trio project due out 2018.

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