10:00 PM - 01:00 AM
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 4 types 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 his class 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. While attending William Paterson, he accepted any opportunity to sit in, and/or perform with his trio in New York City. 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. His personnel included high school buddy Billy Williams, Phil Kuehn, Etan Haziza and Tim Green.
In NYC, he was hit with the realization that "visionless independent mobility" is painstakingly slow at best and life-threatening at worst. This led him to The Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ where he trained 24/7 for a month with an amazing black lab named Candy.
In 2011, Justin 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 with his own trio or with the Jae Sinnett Trio; 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. 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 a USA tour sandwiched in between.
Currently, Justin resides in Brooklyn, NY and is working on several independent projects including music for his next CD. In between projects, he has been touring Europe with JK trio or solo performances, and plans to head into the studio for his own recording soon.