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Justin Kauflin.  Photo by Eddie Williams

Justin Kauflin

Pianist | Composer | Producer | Educator

Justin Kauflin is an award-winning American jazz pianist who is dedicated to creating and sharing music that energizes, nourishes and heals the soul.  He has produced 10 albums as leader, appeared on 30+ albums as sideman or guest artist, composed 100+ original compositions for albums and film and, while currently on faculty at the Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk, VA, continues to perform world-wide. He was picked up for management by impresario and music icon, Quincy Jones and is a Yamaha Artist.

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Bio

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.

Press

Quotes

“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

 

“There are so many beautiful things about Justin's playing -- the best being his spirit and spirituality.  It's commendable he has that kind of relationship with the instrument and the music.  He is accomplishing great things!” -MULGREW MILLER

"What separates American jazz pianist Justin Kauflin from his rivals is the soulfulness of his repertoire.  This is a musician who wants to do more than make you admire his virtuosity" - THE TIMES

"Kauflin's strengths are a concern for touch and dynamics, a willingness to explore harmonic depth, swing, and a romantic's experiential hunger toward repertory.  He can take a simple motif like the Beatle's 'Day in the Life' and make a swinging concerto out of it" -LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Kauflin is without a doubt a virtuoso; he plays with a compelling and soulful passion, and definitely worth catching live" -JAZZ IN EUROPE 

"...the exquisite nature of Justin Kauflin’s playing, so wise beyond his years and so wonderfully articulate that it is bordering on genius. Dedication is a testament to sheer brilliance of technique and unbridled imagination." -WORLD MUSIC REPORT (Dedication)

"Meanwhile Mr Kauflin wishes to – and succeeds in – opening our minds to his world that is “extremely colourful and textured.” And we ought to consider it a privilege to be admitted into this place where the music glitters as if by the magic, glimpsed by moonlight that is somehow transformed from something ink-dark, into a vividly colourful landscape. For in sheer colour, texture and variety, in the depth of characterisation and in the exceptional range and refinement of his pianism, Mr Kauflin here imparts an enormous power and stature to this music. With buoyant, aristocratic grace and almost insolently effortless virtuosity he makes this music come alive for us." -JAZZDAGAMA (Coming Home)

Archives

Kauflin & Fonnesbaek at Governor's School - ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"There's always somebody better" -LATVIA PUBLIC BROADCASTING
Justin Kauflin: Dedication -NEW YORK TIMES
​Blind American composers & musicians -LIBRARY OF CONGRESS BLOG
Humble beginnings -ALL ABOUT JAZZ
How going blind led to love of jazz -THE NATIONAL NEWS
Protege -THE NEW YORKER
Bringing joy through jazz -WILLIAM PATERSON MAGAZINE
Something in common with his mentor -THE NEW YORK TIMES
​Keys to success -VIRGINIAN PILOT
Justin Kauflin: Finding his voice -DISTINCTION MAGAZINE
Blind Ambition -VIRGINIAN PILOT

Videos

Promo Photos

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"

Appearances

2021 - Podcast -The Hump with Katie Thiroux

2018 - Quincy (documentary)

2016 - NPR Song Travels with Michael Feinstein

2015 - Keep On Keepin’ On (documentary)

2015 - The Today Show

2015 - The Queen Latifah Show

2015 - NPR Story Corps

Producer - Performer - Educator

Justin Kauflin presents

GSA JAZZ NIGHT CONCERT SERIES -
Jimmy Masters, Frank Russo
Liz & Brydge with Alan Parker
Duo Pianos w/John Toomey
Thomas Fonnesbaek
Eddie Williams, Emre Katari, Chris Brydge
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

Jazz clinics & camps

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

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
WDC | Kennedy Center "3 for Ellington"
VA | Zeiders Theater, Virginia Beach
FL | Montreux in Miami Jazz Fest
OH | Ability Center Benefit
MO | Jazz St. Louis
MO | Starkloff Benefit
CA | Bach D&D
CA | Libretto
MO| Clark Terry Centennial
CA| Live recording - Sam First Records
CA| Thelonious Monk Gala
VA | Music in McLean Concert Series
CA | Lewis Family Playhouse
NYC | Mezzrow Jazz Club
CA | Museum of Making Music
CO | Dazzle Jazz Club
OH | Blu+ Jazz
NY | The Jazz Forum
CT | The Side Door
MA | Scullers Jazz
CA | Sam First
VA | Winter Blues Jazz Festival
CA | Alvas Showroom
CA | Contrapuntal Hall

WA | Upstream Music Festival

USA (CONTINUED) -

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 JazzNYC | Bobo’sNYC | Settepani's

NJ | Morris Museum

NYC | Top of the Standard

NYC | Whitney Museum

NJ | Drew University

CA | EG Conference

MO | We Always Swing

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

CA | SOhO Music Club

CA | Monterey Jazz Festival

WA | D'mitrious Jazz Alley

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 | Contemporary Arts Center

VA | Jazz on Taz

VA | Temple Beth El

TX | N. Texas Jazz Fest

WDC | Kennedy Center Millenium Stage

WDC | Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

VA | Main Street Jazz

VA | Chantilly Jazz Fest

WA | Icicle Creek Arts Center
PA | WCR Concert Hall
VA | The Tin Pan

TN | Story 2018

CA | Bacchus' Kitchen

OH | Rubber City Jazz Fest

CA | Filoli JazzCA | Oscar with Love

UT | John Clayton's Jazz Show

MI | Gilmore Keyboard Fest

 

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

Netherlands | Catharinakapel

France | Duc des Lombards

Austria | Treibhaus

Germany | Jazzahead! Showcase

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

Sweden | Nefertiti Jazz

Germany | Unterfahrt

Switzerland | Montreux Jazz Club

Denmark | Copenhagen Jazz Fest

Germany | Bix Jazz

Austria | Porgy and Bess

Netherlands | Bimhuis