Jazz pianist Justin Kauflin will drop his third album on September 14, 2018. Called Coming Home, it was produced by Quincy Jones and Derrick Hodge. Joining Kauflin on the album: Chris Smith, on acoustic and electric bass; Corey Fonville, on drums and percussion; and Alan Parker, on acoustic and electric guitar.
Kauflin, who lost his sight when he was 11 years old, is an alumnus of the jazz program at William Paterson University, and protégé and bandmate of Clark Terry. Their unique relationship was recounted in the film Keep on Keepin’ On. Kafulin has made appearances on the TODAY show and The Queen Latifah Show, as well as performing at the Library of Congress, and touring with Mr. Jones.
Coming Home comprises 13 tracks, a baker’s dozen. Outstanding songs on the album include the title track, released as the lead single on August 17. A measured blues-flavored jazz piece, the music’s shifting colors and textures combine to form liquescent shapes. It’s a gorgeous number, gentle and warm.
I love the feel and flow of “Pendulum,” sometimes smooth and streaming, other times disjointed and uneasy. “Lost” features light textures and tender sparkling colors, as well as a filament of tension. The mood and feel of the song resembles a pilgrim wandering through a rainy city.
Kauflin’s cover of “John My Beloved” (Sufjan Stevens) is elegantly exquisite, full of delicate colors and gossamer textures. His touch on the piano burnishes each note to a fine sheen. “Somethin’ Somethin’ (Revisited)” reflects velvety textures atop crisply snapping percussion. The blending of the two sounds is sweetly charming.
“Carousel” is another outstanding number, mixing improvisational jazz flavors with psychedelic-lit jazz. Listen carefully to the rolling snare and sizzling cymbals in this tune, as they imbue the tune with a haphazard feel.
Coming Home is wonderfully wrought, infused with scrumptious colors and rippling jazz textures. If you’re into cool jazz with nuanced hues and tantalizing melodies, then Coming Home is not to be missed. Even listeners who aren’t jazz aficionados will enjoy this album because of its harmonic flow.