Justin Kauflin Trio Among Jazz Artists Featured in Upcoming William Paterson University Jazz Room Series

Justin Kauflin

Justin Kauflin, a graduate of William Paterson University who was the focus of the award-winning documentary Keep on Keepin’ On, and his trio are among the jazz artists featured during the fall 2016 season of The Jazz Room at William Paterson University in Wayne.

Jazz guitarist Rez Abbasi kicks off the series on October 1, with a performance in conjunction with the Shastra Festival. The series continues with a performance by the Royal Bopsters on October 16. Dick Hyman presents Generations of Jazz Piano: Part I on October 2, followed by saxophonist Benny Golson, who performs with the WP Jazz Orchestra on November 6. Vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant performs on November 12, in conjunction with the University’s WP Presents! Series. Kauflin and his trio conclude the series with Generations of Jazz Piano: Part II on December 4. All concerts are held in the University’s Shea Center for Performing Arts.

The series opens on October 1 at 8 p.m. with a performance by jazz guitarist Rez Abbasi. Abbasi utilizes a vivid synthesis of American jazz and classical, with the influence of Indian master percussionist Ustad Alla Rakha. Abbasi was voted the number one rising star guitarist in the 2013 DownBeat Critics Poll, and was placed in their 2015 “top-ten guitarists” feature.

The Royal Bopsters will perform on October 16 at 4 p.m., featuring special guest and legendary jazz vocalist Bob Dorough. This new vocal jazz quartet consists of scat singers Amy London, Dylan Pramuk, Holli Ross and newest member, William Paterson Professor Pete McGuinness. Drawing from the freewheeling bebop vocal tradition of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, the Royal Bopsters’ tight arrangements are both intricate and highly swinging.

Pianist Dick Hyman takes the stage on October 23 at 4 p.m., in collaboration with the New Jersey Jazz Society. Hyman’s 60-year career and countless accomplishments have resulted in his selection as a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. A student of the legendary Teddy Wilson, Hyman became Benny Goodman’s pianist. He has made solo recordings of the music of Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter and George Gershwin, and has collaborated with a who’s-who list of jazz performers. His extensive studio and TV career includes work as pianist and organist for the legendary Sing Along with Mitch, Beat the Clock, and as composer and pianist for several Woody Allen films.

Benny Golson performs with the WP Jazz Orchestra, directed by David Dempsey, coordinator of jazz studies, on November 6 at 4 p.m.. Golson has composed jazz standards “Killer Joe,” and “I Remember Clifford,” and wrote music for the well-known television series’ M.A.S.H., The Partridge Family and Mission: Impossible. Golson has maintained his status as one of the premiere hard-bop tenor saxophonists as a member of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Dizzy Gillespie’s band, and the Jazztet, which he co-led.

Vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant performs on November 12 at 8 p.m., in conjunction with WP Presents! Salvant won the prestigious 2010 Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocal Competition, and has since taken the world by storm. She has been featured at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and nominated for Grammy awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2014 and 2016.

The Justin Kauflin Trio performs on December 4 at 4 p.m. A 2008 graduate of William Paterson, Kauflin was mentored at the University by the late legendary jazz artist Clark Terry; their relationship was the focus of the award-winning documentary Keep On Keepin’ On. Kauflin now has a multi-record contract with the producer Quincy Jones and maintains a busy touring and recording schedule. Blind since his early teens, Kauflin has been a longtime spokesperson and guest artist for The Seeing Eye. Kauflin has appeared on the Jazz Room stage several times as a student, but this performance marks his debut as a featured artist for the series.

Tickets for the Cécile McLorin Salvant performance are $25. Admission for all other concerts is $15 for the general public, $12 for the William Paterson community and senior citizens, and $8 for non-William Paterson students; admission is free for William Paterson students. There will be an additional $3 charge per ticket on the day of the performance. For information, call the Shea Center for Performing Arts Box Office at 973-720-2371 or visit

Funding for The Jazz Room at William Paterson University has been made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State.

Launched in 1978, The Jazz Room is one of the largest and most prestigious college-sponsored jazz events in the country. Performers include renowned professionals, who encompass the complete spectrum of jazz, from practitioners of traditional jazz to avant-garde to bebop to swing to Afro-Latin jazz, as well as William Paterson’s own student ensembles. The series has mon numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for its innovative programming.


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