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Justin Kauflin.  Photo by Eddie Williams

Justin Kauflin

Musician

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Date of Birth:

March 10, 1986

About

Justin Kauflin is an award-winning “jazz pianist who favors a clarity of touch and ideas...his writing is balanced tempering post-bop intricacies with the assurances of the gospel church-New York Times.   After losing his sight at the age of 11, Kauflin gravitated towards playing jazz piano, despite having a background in classical violin & piano.  He received top honors at jazz festivals across the U.S. and began performing jazz professionally by age 14, most notably with the Jae Sinnett Trio.  In 2008, he graduated summa cum laude from William Paterson University, NJ where he studied with his heroes, Mulgrew Miller and Harold Mabern; and was mentored by and performed with the legendary trumpet/flugelhorn player, Clark Terry (2010 Grammy winner for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz).  He continued to garner numerous awards such as the VSA International Young Soloist Award, selected as a semifinalist in the 2012 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition, and voted “Jazz Artist of the Year” in VEER Magazine. 

 

Kauflin is featured in, as well as composed the film score for, the Oscar short-listed documentary, "Keep On Keepin' On.” Justin shares Clark Terry's passion for jazz education through the Keep On Keepin' On Jazz Outreach and as a U.S. Department of State Jazz Ambassador.  He has been an adjunct faculty member/adjudicator for the Monterey Jazz Festival, Centrum Port Townsend Jazz, Vail Jazz Workshop, Lionel Hampton Jazz and Notre Dame Jazz with John Clayton and Jazz Maui with Katie Thiroux.  Currently, Justin is on faculty and initiating "Jazz Nights" at the Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk, VA.

 

As leader, player, composer and producer, Justin Kauflin has released 10 recordings to date and collaborated on 30+ albums. In 2015, Justin had the incredible honor of performing on Oscar Peterson's personal Bosendorfer for "Oscar, with Love," along with 16 world-class pianists and in March 2023 Justin released his first vinyl live recording, "Justin Kauflin Trio Live at Sam First."

 

During the pandemic shutdown, Justin focused on film scoring and sound design, completing projects for full-length documentaries, commercials and trailers.  

Justin Kauflin is dedicated to creating and sharing music that excites, energizes and nourishes the soul.  He is signed for management by impresario and music icon, Quincy Jones and is a Yamaha Artist.

Promo Photos

Videos

Publications

2006 - The Development of Jazz Education in the United States: Its Expansion and Key Contributors - An overview of social, cultural, economic, and/or political concepts that carries through and relates to all of jazz history

Discography

2024 - Justin Kauflin Trio: Live at Sam First (Sam First Records. Vinyl, digital)

2023 - Danish Rain (Thomas Fonnesbaek & Justin Kauflin. CD, digital)

2021 - Flow Freely (Jacob Collier & Justin Kauflin)

2020 - Standards (Thomas Fonnesbaek & Justin Kauflin.  CD, digital)

2019 - Christmas Candy (Justin Kauflin.  EP)

2018 - Coming Home (Justin Kauflin.  CD, digital)

2017 - Synesthesia (Thomas Fonnesbaek & Justin Kauflin.  CD, digital)

2017 - Oscar with Love (Multiple artists. Mack Avenue.  5-vinyl set, 3-CD set)

2017 - Silent Night (CD) 2015 - Dedication (CD, digital)

2014 - Justin Kauflin: Live at EDYE (EP)

2010 - Introducing Justin Kauflin (CD, digital) 

Film Scores

2023 - Unforgettable Taste - Commercial score for Nespresso Ad Campaign

2023 - My Sister Liv - Full Length documentary score, Al Hicks Films

2022 - 12 Notes on Life and Creativity.  Trailer, Quincy Jones

2021 - Reflection - A Walk with Water. Full-length documentary, Emmett Brennan

2016-2023 - There with Care. Promotional videos, Paula Dupre Pesman)

2015 - Keep On Keepin’ On. Full-length documentary, Radius, Absolute Clay

Collaborations

2024 - Full Circle (Documentary - Mark Crawford) 2023 -  Dreaming Freedom (xProplr) 2023 - Acceptance (Eddie Williams) 2023 - BeeDubya (Billy Williams) 2022 - Blue's Big City Adventure (Movie - Nickelodeon) 2023 - After|Life (Brian McCarthy) 2022 - Sunsong (Chris Brydge) 2022 - Bypass (Chris Brydge) 2021 - Healing Grace  2020 - Crossing the Water (Chris Brydge) 2018 - Sharing (Thomas Fonnesbaek) 2018 - Americana Groove Project (Jae Sinnett) 2017 - Better Nature of Our Angels (Brian McCarthy) 2017 - Codex (Brian McCarthy) 2017 - Offbeat (Katie Thiroux)  2017 - Music to Inspire 2016 - Safe in Sound (Songevity Rob Duguay) 2015 - Keep On Keepin' On Soundtrack (Al Hicks Varese Sarabande) 2014 - Subject to Change (Jae Sinnett) 2013 - When Trees Speak (Jimmy Masters) 2013 - This Just In (Brian McCarthy) 2013 - See Dream Blues (Songevity Rob Duguay) 2012 - Still Standing (Jae Sinnett) 2012 - CT and WP: A Perfect Match (WPU) 2011 - House and Sinnett (Jae Sinnett) 2010 - Roxy Coss  2010 - Theatre (Jae Sinnett) 2007 - Equilibrium (Etan Haziza) 2006 - The Sinnett Hearings (Jae Sinnett)

Original Compositions

1. Candy (Justin Kauflin Trio Live at Sam First) 2. Lost (Coming Home, Synesthesia) 3. Skybound (Synesthesia) 4. Hope (Silent Night) 5. Chorale (Silent Night) 6. Anticipation (Silent Night) 7. Somethin’ Somethin’ (Coming Home) 8. Somethin’ Somethin’ Revisited (Coming Home) 9. Present Day (Coming Home) 10. Country Fried (Coming Home, JK Trio Live at Sam First) 11. Transition (Coming Home) 12. Pendulum (Coming Home) 13. Coming Home (Coming Home, JK Trio Live at Sam First) 14. Thank You Lord (Dedication, JK Trio Live at Sam First) 15. Mother’s Song (Dedication) 16. Lasting Impression (Dedication) 17. Up and Up (Dedication, Justin Kauflin Live at EDYE) 18. Where are You (Dedication) 19. No Matter (Dedication) 20. Tempest (Dedication) 21. Epiphany (Dedication) 22. The Professor (Dedication) 23. For Clark (Dedication) 24. B Dub (Dedication) 25. Elusive (Dedication) 26. Exodus (Introducing Justin Kauflin, Justin Kauflin Trio Live at Sam First) 27. Three for Glasper (Introducing Justin Kauflin) 28. Lucid Thoughts (Introducing Justin Kauflin) 29. Dreams Change (Keep On Keepin’ On) 30. Becoming the Mentor (KOKO) 31. Darkest Hour (KOKO) 32. Childhood (KOKO) 33. JK Original Blues (KOKO) 34. Rainy Day (KOKO) 35. Reflection (KOKO) 36. Significantly Worse (KOKO) 37. Suspended (KOKO) 38. Turning Point (KOKO) 39. Traveling (KOKO) 40. Kandice (There with Care) 41. Community of Care (TWC) 42. Meaningful Connections (TWC) 43. Caring for Families (TWC) 44. Delivering Care during Covid (TWC) 45. Continuing the Care (TWC) 46. Care Makes a Difference (TWC) 47. Continuing the Care 2 (TWC) 48. Mom’s Song (Justin Kauflin Live at EDYE) 49-77 Score for "Reflection - A Walk with Water" 78.  Trailer Score for "12 Notes on Life and Creativity" 79-100.  Score for "My Sister Liv" 101.  Commercial Score for Nespresso "Unforgettable Taste"

Producer - Performer - Educator

Justin Kauflin Presents

GSA JAZZ NIGHT CONCERT SERIES - MAR 28 | Jimmy Masters, Frank Russo FEB 29 | Liz & Brydge with Alan Parker JAN '24 | Duo Pianos w/John Toomey DEC '23 | Thomas Fonnesbaek NOV '23 | Eddie Williams, Emre Katari, Chris Brydge OCT '23 | Jeff Smith, Billy Williams, Joe Bussey JK'S LIVESTREAM HANGS Featuring the Music of: Clark Terry Mulgrew Miller Oscar Peterson Derrick Hodge Hank Jones The Beatles Songwriters John Williams James Horner Nobuo Uematsu The Disney Songbook JK's Jukebox (Requests) Christmas Marathons Sunday Hymns & Things

Justin Kauflin solo/trio

SOUTH AMERICA — Brazil | Teatro Coliseu, Sao Paulo CENTRAL AMERICA - MX | Teatro Juarez, Guanajuato MX | Cultura Campeche, Campeche CARIBBEAN ISLANDS — Dominican Republic | DR Jazz Fest CANADA — Ottawa | Oscar Peterson Tribute Ontario | Bravo Niagara! Toronto | Royal Conservatory Belleville | Belleville Film Festival ASIA — UAE | Abu Dhabi Festival UAE | Q’s Bar and Lounge, Dubai Indonesia | Java Jazz Festival S. Korea | SK Gym Japan | Blue Note Tokyo Japan | International Forum, Tokyo Japan | Green Arena, Hiroshima Japan | GS Arts, Miyazaki USA — VA | Zeiders Theater, Virginia Beach FL | Montreux in Miami Jazz Festival OH | Ability Center Benefit, Inverness GC, Toledo MO | Jazz St. Louis MO | Starkloff Benefit, Four Seasons Hotel, St. Louis CA | Bach D&D, Half Moon Bay CA | Libretto, Paso Robles MO| Clark Terry Centennial Jazz St. Louis CA| Live recording - Sam First Records CA| Thelonious Monk SF Jazz VA | Music in McLean Concert Series CA | Lewis Family Playhouse NYC | Mezzrow Jazz Club CA | Museum of Making Music CO | Dazzle Jazz Club, Denver OH | Blu+ Jazz NY | The Jazz Forum CT | The Side Door MA | Scullers Jazz, Boston CA | Sam First, Los Angeles VA | Winter Blues Jazz Festival, Williamsburg CA | Alvas Showroom CA | Contrapuntal Hall, Los Angeles WA | Icicle Creek Arts Center, Leavenworth PA | WCR Concert Hall, Reading VA | The Tin Pan, Richmond TN | Story 2018, Nashville CA | Bacchus' Kitchen, Pasadena OH | Rubber City Jazz Festival, Akron CA | Filoli Jazz CA | Oscar with Love, San Francisco UT | John Clayton's Jazz Show MI | Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Battle Creek WA | Upstream Music Festival, Seattle AR | Walton Arts Center NYC | Club Bonafide NJ | WPU Jazz Room CA | Montalbon Theater NYC | Django Jazz NY | Bard College NJ | Ridgewood Library NYC | Bar Lunatico MA | Berkshire Gateway Jazz, Boston NYC | Bobo’s NYC | Settepani's NJ | Morris Museum NYC | Top of the Standard NYC | Whitney Museum NJ | Drew University CA | EG Conference, Carmel MO | We Always Swing, Columbia VT | St. Michaels College WDC | NEA Jazz Masters KC ID | Lionel Hampton Jazz Fest CA | Blue Whale CA | Queen Latifah Show WA | The Triple Door, Seattle CA | SOhO Music Club CA | Monterey Jazz Festival WA | D'mitrious Jazz Alley, Seattle CO | Vail Jazz Festival NJ | Bickford Theater CA | Encore 2016 VA | Old Dominion University NY | Rochester Inst. Tech CA | Wallis-Annenburg NYC | Subrosa CA | EDYE Broad Stage CA | Jazz at A-Frame RI | Roger Williams University NYC | The Jazz Standard NYC | Miles Cafe WDC | Kennedy Center Jazz Club WDC | Bohemian Caverns WDC | Twins Jazz Club CO | Baurs CO | Wheeler Opera House WDC | Library of Congress WDC | Westminster Jazz VA | JAM INC VA | Westminster-Canterbury NYC | Baruch College NY | Jacob Burns Center NYC | Rockwood Music Hall VA | Havana Nights, VA Beach VA | Contemporary Arts Center VA | Jazz on Taz, Norfolk VA | Temple Beth El TX | N. Texas Jazz Festival WDC | Kennedy Center Millenium Stage WDC | Kennedy Center Terrace Theater VA | Main Street Jazz, Suffolk VA | Chantilly Jazz Festival EUROPE — Denmark | Jazzhus Montmartre Denmark | Cafe Divini Denmark | Hasseris Kirke Denmark | Mejeriet Torup Denmark | Hvide Lam Denmark | Drop Inn Sweden | Fulltofta Denmark | Pakhuset Kulturhus Italy | Teatro Garibaldi Italy | Teatro Ristori Italy | Teatro Sangiorio Italy | Jazz Club Ferrara Italy | Sina Brufani Czech Rep | Anezsky Klaster Latvia | Dzintari Concert Hall UK | Pizza Express Live, London Netherlands | Catharinakapel France | Duc des Lombards, Paris Austria | Treibhaus Germany | Jazzahead! Showcase, Bremen Germany | Cinema Arthouse Blue Note Netherlands | Junushoff Theater Denmark | Dansk Jazz Historie Denmark | Kerteminde Denmark | Karrebaeksminde Denmark | Askov Hoskole Denmark | Bangsbostrand Kirke Denmark | Audonicon UK | Wigmore Hall Netherlands | Theater de Meervaart Italy | Blue Note Milan Sweden | Fasching Jazz Sweden | Malmo Jazz France | International Jazz Day, Paris Sweden | Nefertiti Jazz Germany | Unterfahrt Switzerland | Montreux Jazz Club Denmark | Copenhagen Jazz Fest Germany | Bix Jazz Austria | Porgy and Bess Netherlands | Bimhuis Germany | Moments Musikclub Germany | Jazz Ahead! France | Jazz a Vienne Rep. of Georgia | Griboyedov Theater Rep. of Georgia | Balanchivadze Netherlands | Lanteren Venster Poland | Klub Zak Czech Rep | Brno Filharmonie Belgium | DeSinger Great Britain | Ronnie Scott's Jazz, London Norway | Baerum Kulturhus Ireland | Guinness Jazz Festival, Cork Ireland | National Concert Hall Ireland | The Black Box Switzerland | Salzhaus Brugg Denmark | Jazzy Days Croatia | Academy of Music Ireland | Kilkenny Arts Festiva lItaly | Time in Jazz Fest Pattada Italy | Time in Jazz Fest Berchidda Germany | Schloss Elmau Switzerland | Dracula Club Italy | Umbria Jazz Festival Latvia | Rigas Ritmi Festival Denmark | STARS DK France | Rhyme du Jazz Spain | Jamboree Jazz, Barcelona

Jazz Clinics & Camps

VA | Governor’s School for Arts faculty IN | Notre Dame Jazz Workshop HI | Jazz Maui Summer Camps CO | Vail Jazz Workshops CA | Monterey Jazz Next Gen (Adjudicator) ID | Lionel Hampton Jazz Workshop WA | Centrum Jazz Clinics WA | Icicle Creek Elementary Jazz Workshop VA | VCU Jazz Clinic VA | Governor’s School Masterclass CA | USC Jazz Clinic NJ | WPU Jazz Room Workshop VA | RJS Educator Series, Richmond AR | University of Arkansas Jazz Clinics CA | NAMM Accessibility Demo, Anaheim Dominican Republic | DR Jazz Fest Latvia | Riga Jazz Fest Workshop Rep. of Georgia | Telavi Music School Denmark | Termansens Masterclass Denmark | Ribe Jazz Camp

Press, Quotes & Archives

“Make sure you have enough time to absorb all the beautiful things in Justin’s talent…his timing, rhythm, technique and exactness…See if you’ll agree with me. He’s a monster on the piano! And, one of the greatest people I know” -Clark Terry

 

“What I liked about Justin was he’d done his homework. God gives you the right brain, everyone’s got emotion, but you gotta practice, you gotta put the left-brain work in. You need musicality AND discipline.” -Quincy Jones in The New Yorker

 

“Simply beautiful cat…you can feel it in every note he plays” -Quincy Jones

 

“His spirit and spirituality shine through his playing….beautiful!” -Mulgrew Miller

"What separates American jazz pianist from the others is his soulfulness"

THE TIMES

Jazz pianist draws from faith to his swinging interpretations

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Facing up to life's challenges:  Justin Kauflin on tour in Europe

JAZZ IN EUROPE

Kauflin & Fonnesbaek at Governor's School

ALL ABOUT JAZZ

 

"There's always somebody better"

LATVIA PUBLIC BROADCASTING

Justin Kauflin: Dedication

NEW YORK TIMES