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James Austin, Jr

Jazz Pianist James Austin Jr. Debuts Plunging Heart First into the Bedrock Book of Wonder - Stevie Wonder

Blissful Songs in the Key of Wonder Brilliantly Covers Motown Legend’s Prolific Mid-`60s to Mid-`80s Heyday in Straight Ahead and Latin Veins

Pianist James Austin Jr. traveled from his hometown of Chicago to New York City to tackle Jazz on its highest level after surprising himself as a semifinalist in the 2006 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. That day, James met many prestigious icons – Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and George Duke. But it is Stevie Wonder that left the most indelible impression on James – before, during and after that day. And it is Stevie Wonder’s incomparable songbook that Austin salutes on his debut as a leader: the scintillating, self- released 10-song set, Songs in the Key of Wonder.

Stevie Wonder has written every type of song you can imagine and it’s all beautiful music,” Austin states. “Beginning with my trio arrangement of “My Cherie Amour“ a decade ago, I’ve been playing and arranging Stevie’s songs in improvisational idioms. Whenever I threw one into a gig, audiences were keenly receptive…and my objective is to connect with the widest audience possible.”

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“James displays insightful artistry and brilliant execution…I love this project.” —-Ray Chew (Award Winning Music Director – Conductor – Composer)

“An auspicious debut by this fine pianist…” —-All About Jazz

“A most welcome breath of fresh, swinging air across today’s musical landscape…This CD is a triumph!” —-Wayne Winborne / Institute of Jazz Studies – Rutgers University - Newark

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