JUSTIN KAUFLIN is a “jazz pianist who favors a clarity of touch and ideas, rarely spinning into an orbit he can’t control” (The 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. He received top honors at jazz festivals across the U.S. and began performing professionally by age 15, most notably with the Jae Sinnett Trio. In 2004, he received the Presidential Scholarship to attend William Paterson University in New York. While studying there, he was taken under the tutelage of the legendary Clark Terry (winner of the 2010 Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz) and was then invited to play in the Clark Terry Ensemble. At age 23, Kauflin produced, composed, and performed on his first album, Introducing Justin Kauflin, and then began regularly headlining with his trio at the straight-ahead jazz club in Virginia, Havana Nights, where he also served as
house pianist. He continued to garner numerous awards such as the VSA International Young Soloist Award, he was selected as a semifinalist in the Thelonious Monk Competition in 2011 and was voted “Jazz Artist of the Year” in VEER Magazine.
Simultaneously, Absolute Clay Productions chronicled Justin’s inspiring relationship with mentor, Clark Terry. Five years in the making, the resultant documentary, Keep On Keepin’ On, produced by Quincy Jones, made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2014. Winning both Heineken Audience Award and Best New Documentary Director Award, Keep On Keepin’ On was released in theaters in 2014 through RADiUS-TWC, was Oscar shortlisted for best documentary (2015 Academy Awards), and is now available on Netflix. Justin was subsequently signed by legendary producer and music icon Quincy Jones as his management. After joining Quincy’s roster of artists, Kauflin was part of Jones’ 2013-2014 world tour, which traveled throughout Switzerland, France, Korea, and Japan. Throughout 2014, in addition to Keep On Keepin’ On screenings and performances across the U.S., Justin worked with Jones on his second full-length CD and debut album for Jazz Village, entitled Dedication. The CD consists of 12 original compositions, nine of which are dedications to mentors, friends, and family, and features a three-part suite reflecting his faith. It was released in January 2015 and debuted at No. 6 on CMJ Jazz chart, No. 10 on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Chart, hit No. 1 on JazzWeek’s chart, and remained in the top 10 for nine straight weeks.
With years of dedication, Kauflin has proven himself to be a pianist extraordinaire and an undeniably rare talent. Kauflin is currently playing at international jazz clubs, festivals, and most recently performed at the 2015 International Jazz Day with UNESCO in Paris. Kauflin has been touring the world with his trio, and is releasing his new album, Coming Home, produced by Derrick Hodge and Quincy Jones, on September 14, 2018.