On the morning after performing at the Tin Pan for the Richmond installment of his international concert tour, jazz pianist and Virginia native Justin Kauflin visited Trinity for an informal performance and discussion with Trinity music students.
Having lost his vision at the age of 11, he has devoted his life to music, and has been fortunate to learn under the mentorship of some of the top names in jazz – such as Jae Sinnett, Clark Terry and Quincy Jones, the legendary producer who has worked with Kauflin on his most recent recordings.
JAMinc board member Samson Trinh, who is a music educator at the Steward School, is excited to announce that The Steward School will host The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura for a city-wide performance at The Carpenter Theater on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 10:30 am.
While not a show sponsored by JAMinc, it dovetails perfectly with our mission to open minds, hearts and ears to music deserving a wider audience through education, performance and support.
This event is FREE and open to Richmond area schools and communities as well as the public. Featured in the critically acclaimed documentary, Landfill Harmonic, the Paraguayan musical group of children and teenagers play instruments made entirely out of garbage.
The orchestra was established by environmental engineer and music enthusiast, Favio Chávez, as a simple means to keep kids from playing in the landfill.
The 45-minute program will begin at 10:30am which includes an introductory viewing of the first 10 minutes of the documentary followed by the Recycled Orchestra in concert.
Check out this NPR clip of the Recycled Orchestra: Live Rooftop Concert
Please note, educators who plan to bring classes to attend The Carpenter Theatre can register here.
Smaller groups or individuals interested in attending additional events (Mon, Nov. 5th Landfill Harmonic film screening and Nov. 14th Musical Makers Fair) can register here.
Jazz virtuoso Justin Kauflin returned to RVA three years after our In Your Ear show in a special engagement in cooperation with the Tin Pan on Wednesday, Oct 31, 2018!
Check out this on demand stream of Justin’s In Your Ear performance at Idea Station’s website.
“Soulful and heartfelt, punctuated by…virtuosic bursts from Kauflin – long ribbons of notes in which he proved himself a master of melodic development.” – Jazzwise Magazine
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 and 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 and Best New Documentary Director Awards, Keep On Keepin’ On was released in theaters in 2014 through RADiUS-TWC, is now available on Netflix and was Oscar Shortlisted for best documentary (2015 Academy Awards). Justin was subsequently signed by legendary producer and music icon, Quincy Jones for management, and after joining Quincy’s roster of artists, Kauflin was part of Jones’ 2013-2014 world tour, which traveled throughout Switzerland, France, Korea, Tokyo and Japan. Throughout 2014, in addition to Keep On Keepin’ On screening performances across the U.S., Justin worked with Jones on his second full-length CD and debut album for Jazz Village, DEDICATION. The CD consists of 12 original compositions, 9 of which are dedications to mentors, friends & family, and with a 3-part suite reflecting his faith. It was released January 12, 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 for 9 straight weeks.
With years of dedication, Kauflin has proven himself to be a piano 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 released his new album Coming Home, produced by Derrick Hodge and Quincy Jones, on September 14, 2018.
Justin Kauflin – Piano
Billy Williams – Drums
Chris Smith – Bass
JAMinc hosted The Scott Street Five String Finals at the 2018 Richmond Folk Festival. The six finalists appeared on stage on Sunday in Richmond before a panel of judges consisting of Jim Hurst, James Bailey, Richard Ward, and Victor Furtado.
To read the complete recap, visit the Richmond Folk Festival website.
“Bua evokes the good times that Irish traditional music so often celebrates ,” playing in a manner “largely forgotten in today’s overly polished Irish music world .” With “a precision and intensity that is rarely heard on this side of the Atlantic,” their sound stands out among modern bands in the genre by “keeping the music down the path of tradition” while still being able to “raise the rafters with their playing, charm with their singing, and delight with their contemporary energy.” Based in Chicago, Illinois—a long-celebrated center of Irish traditional music—Bua “has established itself individually and as a group in the eyes and ears of the traditional community,” and their 2011 release, Down the Green Fields, finds Bua exploring the forgotten sounds from the heyday of Irish music in the City of Big Shoulders with a blend of enchantingly stark song arrangements and bold, pulsing dance tunes. Lauded by The Bluegrass Situation as being the top Irish album of the past five years, Down the Green Fields stands as “a testament, from beginning to end, of the lasting essentials of the Irish tradition”.
Singer, songwriter, storyteller, humanitarian Robbie Schaefer joined us for a very well-timed performance at In Your Ear on November 11th, the Friday after our long and exhausting election season. He provided a breath of hopeful and encouraging fresh air. Our public radio show necessitated leaving so much out as it’s only an hour long, and Robbie’s thoughtful stories and song intros are such an important part of his music, we offer the following links to stream the entire two hour concert unedited. We encourage you to spend some undistracted quality time with Robbie, who some of you might know through his work with Eddie From Ohio or the last two editions of SPARC’s Live Art. It will fill your heart.
The 2nd Annual Scott Street Five String Finals honors the memory of original JAMinc board member, distinguished attorney and dedicated banjo player Scott Street, who we lost in February of 2015 to cancer. This year the competition expanded to include both bluegrass/Scruggs-style and clawhammer/old time style. Finalists competed live on the CarMax Family Stage at the Richmond Folk Festival on Saturday, October 8th, 2016.
We are pleased to report the results here:
Logan Redding, age 16-Pickens, SC–1st place
Taylor Parks, age 12-Parksley, VA –2nd place
Johnny White, age 14-Richmond, VA–3rd place
Madison Shepherd, age 16-West Jeffereson, NC–1st place
Uma Peters, age 9-Nashville, TN–2nd place
Rachel Dunaway, age 17-Richmond, VA–3rd place
Winners in each division received a crystal trophy, a demo recording session at In Your Ear Studios, and a $1000 cash prize. Runners-up receive $600 with $400 for third place.
Congratulations to all of the wonderful participants! JAMinc would like to thank all participants and judges for helping us honor Scott Street and carry on his memory through the talents of these young, amazing musicians.
First place winners Logan Redding and Madison Shepherd with Gini Street
If you would like to make a donation to help support JAMinc’s mission, you can send a check to PO Box 1182, Richmond VA 23218 (made to: JAMinc) or click below to donate through PayPal:
Everyone of us at JAMinc sincerely appreciates your support. THANK YOU!
Our studio concerts and student outreach are funded by generous contributions from companies and individual donations. If you would like to be a JAMinc corporate sponsor, please contact Tim Timberlake at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As nonprofits go, JAMinc has to be one of the most efficient with respect to stewardship of donated funds.
Why do we say that? To start with we have no employees – JAMinc work is done by volunteers. That includes the board , officers, and concert volunteers. Secondly we try to buy in bulk to save on necessary purchases. We also use the Staples Rewards program. Every purchase is carefully considered. We pinch pennies. We use our state sales tax exemption certificate.
Our focus is on “good music for school kids.”
Financial statement: available upon written request from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Office of Consumer Affairs, PO Box 1163, Richmond, VA 23218.
Your individual donation is tax-deductible as permitted by law.
Robbin Thompson lost his 15-year fight with cancer late Friday night. He was at home with family and friends. Virginia – and the world really – lost too. He endured many lengthy treatments, with devious side effects, but rarely if ever complained. By all accounts, he faced his illness with courage and his well-known sense of humor. In a newsletter this year he talked about the battle and his decision to take another shot at beating cancer.
“I was able to deal with most of this without anyone really knowing … Easy to hide but hard to ignore… so, here I am, facing another surgery. The way I figure, it’s like that moment in para-sailing right before running down the mountain. Once you decide to go for it there ain’t no turnin’ back and the rewards of goin’ for it far exceed sitting at home wondering how it would’ve been if you had just taken the chance.”
A singer, songwriter and multi-instrument musician, Robbin gave many fans a soundtrack to their lives (judging by numerous comments on social media). During a January 2014 all-acoustic show at In Your Ear Studio he talked about some of the inspirations for his songs: watching TV while lying sick on a couch, the people he’s met and places he’s traveled to. His beloved sail boat, Song Bird, and life on the Chesapeake showed up as well. Robbin’s music was upbeat and often introspective.
But Robbin was much more than an accomplished and successful musician. He was a supporter of the arts and causes by those he cared about. He was one of the main instigators creating the JAMinc house show series which features regional touring artist highlighting the roots of American music. This series also includes a school out-reach program which has put the bands in front of over 80,000 area school kids to date.
He was involved, from the beginning, with SPARC’s “Live Art,” both performing and writing songs for the shows and working directly with hundreds of budding talent. Robbin played a huge part, both up front and in the background, getting the Billy Ray Hatley charity show at the National in 2013 put together. A message posted by ACT Today (Autism Care and Treatment) thanked him for a song he wrote and donated to their military families living with autism initiative. Just a few of many ways Robbin made our world better.
But he was a musician first and last. From his 1969 VCU days forming Mercy Flight and opening for Bruce Springsteen’s Steel Mill to recently seeing his “Sweet Virginia Breeze” (co-written and performed by Steve Bassett) named Virginia’s “popular” state song, he accomplished a lot in a too short life time. To the end he was having musician friends over, booking shows and preparing to perform in several productions.
He left his mark on our music even when the music wasn’t his, never hesitant to jump in and work to make a song better. Long time guitarist and collaborator Velpo Robertson said in the Richmond Times Dispatch, “To me, I think that was the best thing about him. He was always happy to collaborate. No matter who he was working with, he wanted to make the songs better.”
There will always be a sweeter breeze because of the life of Robbin Thompson.
By Bill Rice (original post on SIFTER here)