Born March 10, 1986 in Silver Spring, MD, Justin Kauflin began music at age 4 with Suzuki violin. After losing total vision by age 11 and a decade of classical violin and piano, he 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 attended William Paterson University in New Jersey where he was taken under the wings of legendary trumpeter, Clark Terry and became a member of the Clark Terry Ensemble. He also studied with his hero, the late Mulgrew Miller as well as Harold Mabern. He graduated summa cum laude, moved to NYC, and at age 23 produced, led, composed and performed on his debut CD, Introducing Justin Kauflin.
In 2012, he was the House Pianist at Havana Nights Jazz Club in Virginia Beach where his trio headlined regularly. He won the VSA International Young Soloist Award, was voted VEER's "Jazz Artist of the Year" and was selected as semifinalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Int'l Jazz Piano Competition.
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 composed the film score and was subsequently signed for management by legendary producer and music icon, Quincy Jones.Hicks continued on to produce a second documentary, "Quincy." And, Justin went on to record on 10 albums, 3 of which he produced as leader, and brought the film, workshops & performances around the world.
Quincy oversaw Justin's second and fourth full-length albums, Dedication (2015) and Coming Home (2018). Dedication 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.
"He's a monster on the piano! And, one of the greatest people I know" -Clark Terry
"Justin's playing is beautiful... his spirit and spirituality shine through" -Mulgrew Miller
"Simply beautiful cat...you can hear it in every note he plays" -Quincy Jones