Justin Kauflin Trio

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Last Show: Wednesday 6 th March 2019

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

Award-winning jazz pianist JUSTIN KAUFLIN, middle of five children, was born in Silver Spring, MD in 1986. His talent was nurtured with a decade of classical training in violin and piano. He began performing at age six, playing concerts, nursing homes, and weddings, eventually becoming concertmaster for several orchestras. Throughout this time he endured numerous trials, including total loss of  vision by age 11. He adjusted by learning Braille and cane mobility, then switched to jazz piano while attending at the Governor’s School for Performing Arts. He studied with Liz Barnes and, Old Dominion University jazz professor, John Toomey; attended Master Classes with Peter Nero, Steve Wilson, Bill Cunliffe, Lewis Nash, Ken Peplowski, John Clayton, and Terrell Stafford; received top honors in jazz festivals across the U.S. and began performing jazz professionally by age 15, most notably with the Jae Sinnett Trio.

“Soulful and heartfelt, punctuated by...virtuosic bursts from Kauflin – long ribbons of notes in which he proved himself a master of melodic development.”


In 2004 Justin graduated, alongside his sighted peers, in the top 1% at Salem High School with an Advanced Academic diploma and Valedictorian at the Governor's School for the Arts, receiving a Presidential scholarship to attend William Paterson University in New Jersey. At WPU, he was taken under the wings of the great Clark Terry, winner of 2010's Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz, and played in the Clark Terry Ensemble. He was also highly influenced by his hero, the late Mulgrew Miller, and jazz giants Harold Mabern, Wynton Marsalis, Ornette Coleman, Randy Brecker and the late James Williams and Billy Taylor. The school’s proximity to NYC afforded him the opportunity to sit in, or perform with his trio, in the jazz mecca of the world. In 2008, he graduated summa cum laude with an Honors degree in Music/Jazz Performance, moved to NYC, and at age 23 produced, led, composed and performed on his first CD, Introducing Justin Kauflin.
From 2009, Justin's relationship with mentor Clark Terry was chronicled by Absolute Clay Productions’ Al Hicks and Adam Hart. The resultant documentary, "Keep On Keepin' On," made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival April 2014, and won both Heineken Audience and Best New Documentary Director Awards. "Keep On Keepin' On" has been released in theaters through RADiUS-TWC. From 2011, Justin Kauflin and his trio headlined regularly at the singular, straight-ahead jazz club in Virginia, Havana Nights, where he also served as House Pianist. During this time, he performed with his trio or with the Jae Sinnett Trio across the country. He won the VSA International Young Soloist Award, was selected as semifinalist in the Thelonious Monk Competition in 2011, voted as “Jazz Artist of the Year” in VEER Magazine, and signed by legendary producer and music icon, Quincy Jones, for management, and in 2013 and 2014, was part of Quincy Jones' World Tours. which toured to Montreux, Switzerland; Vienne, France; Seoul, Korea; Tokyo and Hiroshima, Japan.
Justin worked with Quincy Jones on his second full-length CD and debut album for Jazz Village; 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.