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Jazzman Jeff Justman
Acoustic Folk-Rock-Country Roots Music (mixed with fun!)

   Jazzman Jeff Justman is an acoustic folk-rock-country roots music performer, singer-songwriter, and music enthusiast.  He combines his musical artistry with fun, energy, intelligence, and always a rhythmic beat that connects with audiences.

    His performances combine the best elements of singer-songwriters, performing original compositions and re-interpreting, re-arranging, and energizing others’ songs from the folk, country, rock, and primitive blues genres…all blended into his own style of acoustic folk-rock music (mixed with fun!) 

   Jazzman Jeff Justman’s music performances are filled with literary lyrics, moving melodies, expressive and well-phrased vocals, partnered with his ever-present driving acoustic rhythms on the 6 string guitar, lap steel guitar, or 5 string banjo voiced with ringing thumb & finger picked note and two-octave instrumentation combinations.

    In a musical cultural age of regression where renaissance is the exception rather than the norm, Jazzman Jeff Justman is not an easy artist to categorize and that is part of the joy and fun of his musical performances.

        As Jeff explains, “Folk musicians seem to think my music is country.  Country musicians call it rock.  Rock musicians call it bluegrass.  Bluegrassers call it jazz.  Jazz enthusiasts swear it is primitive acoustic blues and blues fans say it is the real deal folk music.  Realistically, I draw quite heavily on all of those musical heritage genres and intentionally combine and stir up the musical mix to blend it into a dynamic musical canvas of music multi-textures that make it alive with a beat.”

    “Somewhere the nickname 'Jazzman' just stuck by the way.” Jeff says. “But, in an abstract sense it is a form of pure jazz.  Plus it’s a pretty cool alliteration of the ‘J’s’ in my name, and I use quite a lot of alliteration in my songwriting besides the obvious musical play on words on my last name of Justman.”

   The same music genre defying categories can be said of the essence of Jazzman Jeff Justman’s array of musical influencing heroes.  Including the late Waylon Jennings,  Buddy Holly, Chet Atkins, John Lennon, George Harrison, Elvis “the Pelvis” Presley, J.S. Bach, Charley Patton, Son House, Dave Guard, Chet Baker, Wes Montgomery, Amadeus Mozart, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Roy Orbison, Rick Nelson, Louis Armstrong, or Django Reinhart.  The same can be said of such living influencing musician heroes of Jeff’s also which includes Bob Dylan, Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Bob Livingston, John Stewart, Ravi Shankar, Scotty Moore, David Gray, Paul McCartney, and Lucinda Williams.

   Jazzman Jeff Justman was born and raised in Chicagoland and has played guitar and sang since he was nine years old, and played 5 string banjo since he was ten years old.  When he was eleven years old he developed his own style of thumb and finger-picking with his right hand and has continued to develop it into an unparalleled thumb and three finger picking style over the next decades.

     “I literally pulled my guitar teacher aside after class one day at the age of eleven and asked him why I had to learn all of the different strumming and picking styles he was trying to teach me when I already instinctively was playing a style of finger picking I felt comfortable with that I developed outside of the lessons he was giving me,”  Jeff explains.  “He seemed a bit shocked at my comment to him, but was open-minded enough to hear me out…literally.  He then, with curious interest, asked me to demonstrate the style I described to him and I recall him staring at my fingers quizzically contemplating the sounds I was producing as an eleven year old.  I’ll never forget the approving nod he gave me when he told me he thought I should just keep playing and developing the style of finger-picking I had demonstrated for him and that from then on he wanted me to only develop that style of picking in our lessons.  What a fine teacher he was to let me develop my own natural instrumentation voicing rather than impose another’s on me.  Needless to say, I’ve been developing that same finger-picking style for over forty years now and have never stopped pushing the musical envelope with it.”

    “Years later, I took this same naturally intuitive approach with my vocals and then with my songwriting and blending of styles of others’ music to develop my own style and voice,” Jeff says. “It captures the creative essence of Austin music, the Delta, New Orleans, early rock-billy, and a whole lot of other vibrant music but yet it’s still acoustically folk based.  Luckily, with music’s infinite boundaries I am able to keep taking the music a little higher and then bring it back down to earth to the listener’s ear and ability to feel all those musical energies.”

    Jazzman Jeff Justman has performed solo and in collaborations on stage as far away from his home in northern Illinois as Austin, Texas and as near to his home as The Lake County Folk Festival “Music by the Lake” in Lake Zurich, Long Grove’s Strawberry Festival, Waukegan’s Dandelion Wine Festival, Woodstock’s Harvest Festival, Round Lake’s American Legion Hall, Trans-Art Café in Mundelein, Amy & Friends/The Corner Room in Woodstock, Woodstock’s Stage Left Café, Park City’s Greenleaf Grill, and Uncommon Ground in Chicago.

    Jazzman Jeff Justman is also very active in Lake County’s music community where he stages and hosts a twice monthly Acoustic Music Jam and is a Board member of The Lake County Folk Club.

Music Samples

(Click on a link to listen)
"Ridiculous Love"

Performed by Jazzman Jeff Justman (vocal, acoustic guitar)
Written by Jeff Justman and Susan Harris-Riederman

Some venues Jazzman Jeff Justman has performed at:
   Jazzman Jeff Justman has performed his personable style of acoustic music (mixed with fun!) at venues in Austin, Texas and the Chicagoland area.  Some of these include:
  • BD Riley’s (Austin, TX)
  • The Green Muse (Austin, TX)
  • The Driskill Hotel’s Crystal Room (Austin,TX)
  • Poodies (Austin)
  • The Lake County Folk Festival “Music by the Lake” (Lake Zurich)
  • Strawberry Festival (Long Grove)
  • Harvest Festival (Woodstock)
  • Trans-Art Café (Mundelein)
  • Uncommon Ground (Chicago)
  • Stage Left Café (Woodstock)
  • Amy Beth’s Corner Room (Woodstock)
  • Borders (Deerfield)
  • The American Legion (Round Lake)
  • Dandelion Wine Festival (Waukegan)
  • The Greenleaf Grill (Park City)
  • Flatlanders (Lincolnshire)
  • Buck’s Rock n’ Roll Grill (Lake Zurich)
  • Island Tap (Libertyville)
  • In Your Dreams (Libertyville)
  • Shady Oaks Camp (Chicagoland south suburbs)
  • The Glass Palette (Milburn)
  • No Exit Café (Chicago)
  • Smile Chicago (Chicago)

  • and various private parties and other venues.

        He has served as Bob Livingston’s band-mate guitarist while in Chicago and has played with many fine musicians when he stages and hosts the Acoustic Music Jam in Grayslake.  Additionally, Jeff is a Board member of The Lake County Folk Club and has co-organized The Lake County Folk Festival “Music by the Lake.”

Jazzman Jeff Justman's Performing/Touring Schedule

For more information or for bookings, please contact:

Jazzman Jeff Justman
Cell Phone: 847-989-9634

Join Jazzman Jeff and other local musicians at the
The Acoustic Music Jam
held each month usually on the 2nd and 4th Friday evenings
in Grayslake, IL
(click on above link for more information)

Music web sites recommended by Jazzman Jeff Justman:

Bob Livingston's Texas Music International

Joan Hammel

Sons of the Never Wrong

Kat Eggleston

Amy Beth

Swing Blvd. (Dan Zahn/Kate Moretti)

Loose Change & Friends

Bill Tong

The Lake County Folk Club

The Northern Illinois Bluegrass Association

Last updated November 28, 2005

Web site designed and maintained by
Bill Tong
Midnight Owl Productions