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Justin Kauflin Trio: Live at Sam First


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Justin Kauflin Trio: Live at Sam First
New world modernization meets old world ideals at Sam First jazz club in Los Angeles. In just a few short years Sam First has built a solid reputation with both jazz artists and aficionados. Among its many qualities are the acoustics. In 2019, Peter Erskine, George Garzone, Alan Pasqua, and Darek Oles recorded their brilliant 3 Nights in L.A. at Sam First. At that point it was clear they had something special going on at Sam First. Starting up Sam First Records seemed like a logical and sound business decision, and that is exactly what has happened.

One of a few upcoming releases is from the Justin Kauflin Trio. Joined by bassist David Robaire and drummer Mark Ferber, pianist Kauflin glided through ninety minutes of well -sequenced jazz. An array of melodic and rhythmic changes flowed organically from a trio very much in sync with each other. The majority of the nine tunes set were compositions by Kauflin.

The evening opened with a brief "Intro" which had the soft pitter patter of snowflakes emanating from the rhythm section, with a light cascade from Kauflin which rolled right into the broader expansion of "Coming Home." The trio rose together as a conduit to Robaire's thoughtful solo. In kind, Robaire then supported a glorious romp by Kauflin and Ferber which moved the piece further. A hint of a classical touch emerged from Kauflin and rose to more prominence in "Exodus." The beautiful piece moved intelligently from elegant to a feverish gait. It had a lot of space for Ferber and Robaire to move about and make subtle yet noteworthy additions. The changes were sublime throughout and to the very end when they dropped down to seamlessly welcome Cole Porter's "You Do Something To Me"; often heard with a romantic lilt, the trio kicked it up a notch or two. The familiar melody blossomed and bounced joyously at this tempo. This was a turning point in the performance as the trio was now completely in the moment, swinging and improvising freely.

With everyone needing to catch their breath, the trio went into Kauflin's soft ballad entitled "Candy." The change of pace included many mood changes to be savored within the song itself, a delightful and cleverly penned tune that smartly set up the epic performance of the evening. Ferber and Robaire began "The Tempest" with mesmerizing solos The mood was then set for Kauflin's sprightly to serene movements, invigorating and all the more stunning when it starts anew. So captivated was the audience that there is a pause before the applause at the end, as if to indicate they needed a moment to come back to reality from a heavenly journey.

The trio proceeded in elevating to the highest spirit and then just as quickly dropping down ever so softly with a captivating take on "No Matter." Then, on what had the feel of a big finish, Kauflin was flying on the keys, being driven at a high pace by Robaire and Ferber, on "Country Fried." However, Kauflin chose to close out softly, reaching his audience spiritually. That directive was started on "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing," only the second tune in the set not composed by Kauflin. The Robert Robinson penned tune connected with ease to Kauflin's own "Thank You Lord." The thank you for our bounty notion of the six-plus-minute finale washed over the crowd and created an opportunity to savor and appreciate all that had come before.

Track Listing

Intro; Coming Home; Exodus; You Do Something To Me; Candy; Tempest; No Matter; Country Fried; Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing; Thank You Lord.


Justin Kauflin: piano; David Robaire: bass, acoustic; Mark Ferber: drums.

Album information

Title: Live at Sam First | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Sam First Records

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