Blind Ambition


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Virginia Beach Native, Justin Kauflin, will release his debut jazz CD, Introducing Justin Kauflin, on February 16.

Kauflin, on piano, is accompanied by a young and inventive band of “20-somethings": Billy Williams (VA) on drums, Phil Kuehn (NY) on bass, Tim Green (MD) on alto sax and Etan Haziza (NY) on guitar. Kauflin handpicked a wide range of musical selections ranging from traditional hymns to modern jazz, as well as a few of his own original compositions, including his arrangement of the classic Beatles tune, “A Day in the Life." With the help of the excellent musicianship brought into the studio by his band mates, he has been able to bring a fresh interpretation of some wonderful music.

Justin's story is a unique one - he overcame numerous obstacles, most notably losing total vision at age 11, but went on to graduate in the top 1% in the 2004 Class at Salem High and the Governor's School for the Performing Arts. He continued in like fashion graduating summa cum laude from William Paterson University, NJ with a Bachelor of Music degree.

He studied classical piano under Virginia Koun, jazz piano with Liz Barnes and John Toomey, and began performing professionally at age 15 with Jae Sinnett, host of NPR's “Sinnett in Session" right here in Hampton Roads. While at William Paterson University, Justin was taken under the wings of the great Clark Terry, who received this year's Grammy award for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz, and was introduced to jazz greats Wynton Marsalis, Ornett Coleman and Mulgrew Miller among numerous other up-and-coming jazz musicians.

“In the small world of jazz...This young man's craft and not his mouth...speaks for itself." --Jae Sinnett

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