Justin Kauflin Masters "Dedication" At Bernie Grundman's
Award-winning jazz pianist Justin Kauflin has mastered his sophomore album, his first for Quincy Jones' Qwest Records and Jazz Village label, at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood. Bernie Grundman, whose mastering relationship goes back decades with Quincy Jones, has prepared "Dedication" for release on January 13, 2015.
The new album, produced by Quincy Jones, includes 12 tracks, all original compositions by Kauflin. The Justin Kauflin Quartet features Justin Kauflin, piano, keyboards; Billy Williams, drums; Christopher Smith, bass; and Matt Stevens, guitar. Etan Hziza, nylon guitar, is guest artist on the final track.
Kauflin, born in 1986, was a child prodigy classically trained in violin and piano. By the age of 6 he began performing in concerts, nursing homes and weddings, eventually becoming concertmaster for several orchestras. It was during this time that he also endured numerous trials, particularly losing total vision by age 11.
Kauflin adjusted by learning Braille and cane mobility, and switching to jazz piano at the Governor's School for Performing Arts in Virginia. He 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. In 2004, Kauflin 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 2009-13, Kauflin's relationship with mentor Clark Terry was chronicled by Absolute Clay Production's 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 Best Documentary and Best New Director Awards.
Kauflin was selected as semifinalist in the Thelonious Monk competition in 2011, voted as "Jazz Artist of the Year" in VEER Magazine, and added to Quincy Jones' Artist roster. Kauflin is fresh off Quincy Jones' world tour, which performed in Montreux, Switzerland; Vienne, France; Seoul, Korea; Tokyo and Hiroshima, Japan.
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