Justin Piper
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Justin Piper

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Jazz Acid Jazz


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Justin Piper's take on Avant Funk, fierce and proficient guitar"

Justin Piper serves as a musical director for one band, leads his own trio, and performs frequently on solo guitar. He plays guitars, bass, and Rhodes on his album Avant Funk (justonemusic) with Tom Garrington on drums. All 12 of the compositions on the album are written and arranged by Piper himself.

The album opens with I Fall Down. The solo guitar intro is joined by bass and drums in the laying down of the groove that is woven in and out throughout the piece. The guitar approach is often reminiscent of Progressive Rock guitarists like Roine Stolt—tightly harmonic with fascinating chord changes. His technique is beyond reproach with clean lines and distinct phrasing. Garrington’s drumming is also more rock than Jazz or Funk.

Buzz Book, however, brings a more Jazz-oriented approach with smooth syncopation and a cool groove. The bass and drums are in tight together with the Rhodes. The guitar begins to explore interesting avenues and finds cool expressions in the search.

When I’m Alone is a lyrical and emotional piece that is well-crafted and played beautifully. It has a bluesy edge to the otherwise Progressive/Jazz intonations. His electric guitar overlays the acoustic guitar to create a Steve Howe feel in its pure emotionalism. Beautiful.

Rolling Blue Hill carries a nice, tight groove under Jazz guitar. Garrington has some excellent moments on the drums. This was a standout piece and full of charming chords and cool twists. The 1,1-2-3,1-2 motif is a nice touch.

Big Rock is a rock-themed exercise in virtuosity and rock rhythms. Piper takes on a corps progression approach to the main theme and launches into cool riffs off of that theme. Often working on Martin Barre intonations, Piper then dives deep into fine lines of Funk and even a bit of Gospel.

Two Whee’s opens with a guitar arpeggio that remains a backdrop while Piper’s bass follows a separate line with Garrington’s drums. The lead guitar takes off on intriguing side streets but returns to the main theme early and often. The lead guitar creates fascinating riffs of its own and explores them well.

Somnambulist begins on a cool walking groove. Get it? Nice tongue in cheek approach to the title. The rhythm section keeps the walking while the guitar takes a dream-like tone, both broken by interludes of intentional stumbling. Garrington gets in some interesting strokes beneath the walking bass lines. This was a favorite.

What’s This? is a hard-driving groove with even chording from Piper’s lead guitar. The chord changes are full of interesting choices and I mean that in a good way. The proficient runs are tight and intense. Nice work.

Yo Yo Pop has a snappy intro that leads into a complex rhythm/strum pattern and nice work on the Rhodes, being in lock-step with the main theme. It offers some cool moments of lead guitar and sweet swing.

Could I Have a Redo? opens with an acoustic/electric guitars duet. The drums join in gentle background rhythm. I enjoyed the melody and movement of the piece. The tempo picks up and the rhythm section steps forward while the electric guitar takes the lead. The duet returns in complementary tones and phrasings. Sometimes in life, we need a redo. But not here. Piper got it right the first time.

Look at the Tars is a stinging piece with geared-up guitar and driving bass and drums. The electric guitar is again more Progressive than Jazz. That’s not a bad thing. I like Progressive.

At the mid-point of the song, Piper breaks away from the main theme and takes rewarding risks before returning to the main theme. In the final section, he again breaks away into expressive thoughts and cool conclusions.

The album closes with Tonic Immobility. This is a cool foray into Eastern melody and structure. Piper saved the best for last. Garrington lights up with some of his best work. I was digging some of Garrington’s rhythmic choices and break lines.

Meanwhile, Piper follows a break-neck pace that works extremely well with Garrington’s rhythms. The harmonic guitars are on fire. The Rhodes picks up the theme and fades out momentarily before fading back in with it. The bass and drums rejoin the slower development of the resurgent theme. The electric guitar resumes its lead but moves away from the theme as the song and album fade out.

Justin Piper has composed deliberate and fascinating pieces full of excellent rhythms, tempos and melodies. Tom Garrington supports him successfully and with dedication to Piper’s vision. Avant Funk emerges as an album of fine artistry and the beginning of a musical quest that we should follow with rapt attention.

~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl - Jazz Times

"Justin Piper: Avant Funk"

Avant Funk, Justin Piper's debut album, completes the creative circle for this remarkable musician in a number of ways. First of all, it documents his ability to create unique sounds and textures, Piper is the heart of the project, performing on guitar, bass, Rhodes and programing, in addition to writing all the compositions, making Avant Funk truly a personal portrait of his musical mind set. Secondly, it documents his abilities in shifting easily between styles, roles and instruments, while always conveying each musical idea with clarity and conviction. Completing the circle is Piper's ability to be a teller and visionary, he bridges genres and generations in a conversational manner that gives the listener a feeling of experiencing a musical story.

The exuberance of the album is centered in the contagious rhythms of funk, rock and fusion that come to the forefront on tracks like: "Buzz Book," "Rolling Blue Hill," "Yo Yo Pop," "Look At The Tars," and "Tonic Immobility." With Piper's solid rhythm guitar parts and dexterous lead riffing, funky bass lines, and compositional hooks, all rooted in the groove foundation of Tom Garrington's drum kit. It's impossible not to move! Piper really displays his soloing capabilities on "Buzz Book." His warm distorted lines build over the steady ostinato of the rhythm section. "Tonic Immobility," displays Piper's excellent lead lines with the added expression of a wha-wha effect, done with taste and complete musicality.

Avant is defined as, original or innovative; (especially with reference to popular music). Through it all, Piper reminds us that music is about emotions through a rhythmic journey in time and the sterling guitarist provides twelve track that will take the listener places. His playing is a delight, whether pouring out his passion on a ballad like "When I'm Alone" or wailing from the core a-la-Scott Henderson on "Big Rock." Avant Funk is an expedition— Piper's brilliant command of multiple instruments and compositions framed by Garrington's time keeping, and for any listener, whether their palates run from jazz-rock, funk, fusion or indie rock, this is a winner! - GEANNINE REID, June 26, 2016

"Justin Piper"

Justin Piper is a composer, bassist and guitarist that resides north of Boston, Massachusetts. His musical interests have led him into a love of eastern melodic development and articulation, which inspired him to learn to play the Oud and apply eastern concepts into his improvising. Piper’s long-overdue step into the spotlight is over with his debut album,Avant Funk. The project combines the melody and harmony of modern jazz and the hypnotic syncopation of funk, with the energy and drive of rock and fusion. Avant Funk is a bold and original duet outing, that displays Piper’s multi-instrumental abilities, creative compositions and genre bending feels.

Piper teams up with drummer Tom Garrington as the pair work through twelve original compositions by Piper. The two display a sensitivity and profoundly intuitive interplay that belies that fact that all melodic and harmonic parts are played and layered in by Piper, with Garrington providing the rhythmic support. The result is a sound that is more cohesive and empathetic than many long-established trios or quartets.

Avant Funk begins with “I Fall Down,” which starts with a warmly distorted guitar figure set to a slow medium tempo rock beat. Piper movingly projects a sense of quiet strength in his melodic playing that is associated with rock guitar, but his sense of melodic note choices and harmonic colors reveals he is a devoted eastern scale man. He takes his time unfolding the main theme, very caringly giving each phrase a subtle touch of nuance that brings each phrase to life. His solos are full of strength and building melodies, all conveyed with a sense of time that is in the pocket (bringing the funk groove into play). This best sums up who he is as a player, a broadly influenced groove musician, in both melodic and harmonic situations. Hence the title Avant Funk, it is all about the sanctuary of the groove.

“Buzz Book” is set to a funky/rock feel centered around a catchy rhythm guitar figure. Again, Piper’s melodic playing is personal and hued in eastern influences. Garrington keeps the energy high with all of Piper’s parts being buoyed by a sleek groove and smartly placed cymbal colors. The piece is a raucous and rollicking take on the marriage of funk, jazz, eastern colors and rock. However, the track is always in focus while maintaining the ever driving groove of funk and energy of rock. Piper’s solo statements on this track are excellent and display one of his many strengths of striking an enjoyable balance between space and succinctly played fast passages of notes. His use of the wah-wah pedal is very original and adds much to the tracks character.

“Big Rock” celebrates the raw energy of rock as did the first track. Piper’s original penned melody is again full of eastern influences and builds organically. Piper’s approach to the guitar may show the more obvious influence of rock with a hushed jazz genius, but his guitar playing is always ebullient and full of virtuosic artistry. Piper’s solos on this track may be set to a rock feel, but is phrasing and melodic/harmonic choices clearly show his complete control of the modern jazz vocabulary.

On Avant Funk, Piper’s tip of hat to the unique union of rock, funk, jazz and eastern music comes across in a brilliant musical marriage. Piper’s playing is expressive and conveyed with a distinctive voice that is forging new ground in the ever evolving jazz landscape.

-Sylvannia Garutch - Sylvannia Garutch, Elmore Magazine, August 19th, 2016

"Justin Piper, Avant Funk"

If you seek some nicely conceived electric guitar in a program of advanced rock-funk instrumentals, you can confidently turn to Justin Piper and his DIY album Avant Funk.

The idea was for Justin to map out arrangements of 12 pieces and then realize them well with Tom Garrington on drums and Justin multiple tracking on guitars, bass, electric piano and programming.

The compositional ideas, riffs, melodic figures, power-chord changes and such serve to set off Justin's very fertile guitar rocking and at the same time give you a set of originals that stand on their two feet in their own right.

It's subtle and worthy artistry that won't leave you incredulous, gasping for breath at the superhuman chops on display. Because it is about musicality more than technical prowess, though Justin can certainly play some fine rock guitar.

It's an album that when I put it on--say from the second time forward, it reminds me of itself rewardingly and subtly-straightforwardly. It's music without cliché, yet it is very contemporarily rock saturated.

Do you get me? A very worthwhile spin this one most definitely is. Justin has talent and his refusal to wear it on his sleeve is refreshing and all the more likeable. Listen! - Grego Applegate Edwards, Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"Justin Piper Avant Funk"

Volume 39/Number 195
May 14, 2016
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

JUSTIN PIPER/Avant Funk: If this isn’t exactly your idea on funk, there’s good reason. This is a cat with a lot of far ranging interests. The guitar man comes to us from the classical world where his muse takes him to the middle east. From there, he kicks it out in his local Boston area as an improv jazzer on 8 string guitar. A fun house ride of a date that’ll make the cilia in your ear canals stand up at attention, he’s a jazzbo that plays like a shredder. Ain’t nothing wrong with adapting to our mixmaster world when the tour guide has it together like Piper. Check it out. - Midwest Record

"Justin Piper, Avant Funk and Plenty of GROOVE"

Justin Piper is a multi-faceted artist; an educator, composer, and performer who resides in Boston Massachusetts. Piper is the musical director for the band Ripcord, and leads his own trio that performs improvisation based music that feature his own compositions. Piper’s philosophy as a teacher and educator is, “to instill his students with the joy of playing music while also nurturing an interest in the theoretical and foundational aspects of music.”

Avant Funk is Piper’s latest recorded endeavor, it combines the melody and harmony of modern jazz and the slick syncopation of funk, with Justin Piper’s musical energy driving each composition throughout the album. Piper’s innovative musical vocabulary is always pushing the harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic boundaries, while keeping a groove.

Sometimes it is nice when a multi-instrumentalist, such as Piper, takes the next step and forms a project to create an avenue that documents and explores their unique approach to each instrument and opens the world of personal possibilities of expression. The music takes on a richer appeal in doing so. With Piper, Avant Funk finds him performing on guitar, bass, Rhodes and programming. Drummer Tom Garrington joins Piper on the project and the two combine their formidable talents in a bristling set of original music penned by Piper. We hear their subtlety and breadth as players as well, their distinct conversations between each other are breathtaking. Whether naturally creating, or drawing on and reinterpreting melodic fragments taken from the inspiration from each other, they arrive at a depth and beauty as a duet that defies easy categorization. The two build melodic and harmonic statements based in modern jazz with the infectious syncopation of funk, to create a musical energy that is sure to please a wide base of music lovers.

“I Fall Down” starts the musical journey with Piper’s warmly distorted guitar. Piper and Garrington set up a feel the ‘feels’ good right away. The chemistry of this duet is undeniable. The music takes its time to develop, but Piper naturally balances melodic figures with more chordal and groove moments. Piper’s solo is excellent. Seamlessly combining techniques of rock guitar to the jazz idiom and language.

A funky repetitive figure starts, “Buzz Book,” and Piper’s melodic writing really shines on the melody of this one. The intricate melody gives way to Piper’s quick lines in his solo. Accented with a wah-wah pedal effect, Piper builds his solo to an interesting harmonized guitar figure that serves as an excellent climax for the piece and a convincing ending statement to this groove based selection.
“Rolling Blue Hill,” features a strong melodic statement that is built upon a repetitive melodic core; here the piece takes on another character with the addition of an acoustic guitar being strummed. Piper starts the compositions with the melodic idea and remains with it, carrying it through multiple developments, his anchoring of the basslines keep the track in focus, while Garrington’s drums give energy and add in, filling out the space in an inimitable way that gives movement without getting in the way.

“Big Rock,” given away by the title, is immediately rock-driven, a clear and singable piece that finds the guitarist outing all the hip warm and harmonically savvy lines in a perceptive rock/jazz approach, which highlights how he can enfold rock and jazz sensibilities into one.
“Two Whee’s” is a tune that is direct and instantly appealing, with Piper handling the legato melody as the rhythm section relaxes into a steady rock-like feel. The selection develops into a capricious vamp that reflects Piper’s agile guitar playing and love of melodies that develop over time and with subtle variations in orchestration and melodic twists. That process of expansion continues during Piper’s colorful solo; Piper’s flurries of notes form a swirling counterpoint with a repeating background figure.

Piper’s lyricism and legato expression is again on full display on the tracks “Somnambulist” and “Tonic Immobility.” As with “Two Whee’s,” Piper’s melodicism on “Somnambulist” and “Tonic Immobility” grows out of the simplest of ideas, but he organically develops his lines into complex flowing statements that take the listener on a satisfying adventure that is full of surprises, deeply rooted in logic and always wrought with groove. Piper’s playing is able to go in and out of chords, while still conveying the grooves and textures, but his phrases always feels whole and connected. Even though Piper is a multi-instrumentalist on the project, his playing has the energy and urgency of an in the moment performance, with no hint of staleness or preconceived ideas.

In conclusion, I really enjoy the variety of what this duet can do, the music invites one to go on an adventure of styles and textures and that is what makes this duet special, it is their ability to play so many different kinds of styles and still sound like a cohesive “band.”

An excellent fusionistic rock journey Avant Funk packs a punch, and shows the ability and diversity two players can create when groove, energy and urgency are the main ingredient – sprinkled with stainless steel agility and technique this groovin’ offering stands up to any performance test with road worthy fuel injection. Highly Recommended.
by Jeff Becker jazzsensibilities.blogspot.com - Jeff Becker

"Geoff Wilbur Live review from Behind the songs at the Hard Rock"

Songs without lyrics. Justin is a guitar instrumentalist. But, you know, by halfway through his opening number, I forgot there weren’t any lyrics. “Rolling Blue Hill” sported an engaging verse, bridge, and a catchy chorus. On “Nova Scotia,” you could hear the song rise and fall, build and relax as it told its story. His third song, whose title I missed, painted very specific pictures for me; whether or not it was the picture Justin was painting, the images I “saw” were of a walk in the woods, maybe a stream, birds, a waterfall, rapids… Next up, Justin delivered a very flowing musical cover of the Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home.” And he closed his evening with “When I’m Alone”; as an example of speaking with his guitar, one section of this closing number made me laugh, though I wonder if that was an appropriate response given the song’s title. With a broad range of musical influences driving his guitar stylings, Justin was a terrific inclusion in this inaugural Behind the Songs songwriters’ night. - Geoff Wilbur


Avant Funk - released February 22, 2016

trancend - to be released 2017



Justin Piper resides north of Boston where he teaches, composes and performs.  His 2016 album 'Avant Funk' is currently being prepared for re-release through Arabesque Records www.arabesquerecords.com and has finished a subsequent album 'transcend' which is planned for a summer 2017 release. He is the musical director for the band Ripcord, while also leading his own group that performs his compositions along with improvisation-based pieces.

Justin is also an accomplished classical guitarist, specializing in 20th century South American repertoire. His studies are from the third generation of Andres Segovia's pedagogy.

Justin is proud to use and endorse Zemaitis Guitars, www.zemaitisguitars.com,  K-Line Guitars www.k-line.com, John Pearse strings www.jpstrings.com, Xotic Effects USA www.xoticusa.com, and Remic Microphones www.remic.dk

Band Members