The Botolph Jazz Trio
John Traphagan - Drums
John has been playing music since he was five years old. He grew up in a family of musicians and was trained in piano at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During his teens he participated in Drum Corps International as a member of the 27th Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps. He also has performed as a percussionist with the Nashua Symphony Orchestra and sang in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience with the Savoyard Light Opera Company.
Several drummers have influenced John's playing, including Joe Morello and Connie Kay. One of his favorite jazz drummers is Larry Bunker, who was a member of the Bill Evans Trio for a few years in the 1960s.
He has performed as a jazz drummer for several years in the Austin area and has also played at jazz clubs as far away as Tokyo.
John plays Canopus Drums and Zildjian Cymbals.
John Groves - Keys
I “knew I was a musician” from a very early age. I started piano lessons at the age of 7 (1970) and switched primarily to guitar at the age of 10. Starting in sixth grade I performed at school dances and assemblies most years. I played in the school jazz band starting in junior high, as well as in rock & roll bands from age 13 on. I attended Northern Illinois University, taking advantage of the opportunity to study jazz theory with Frank Mantooth during the single year he was on the faculty.
I graduated in 1985 with BS degree in physics and moved to Austin, Texas to work as a combination software developer, musician and bicycle racer. I spent most of the 1990s working too much and playing too little music. In 2000 I rearranged priorities to bring music back in — starting a righteous power pop band (the Middlemen) as a singer & guitarist, and subsequently started working with Motown and soul bands on as a piano/keyboard player and singer. I currently lead the band Soul Machine.
From a musical study standpoint, I have concentrated on jazz piano and vocals since 2000, studying piano with David Hazeltine, Eddy Hobizal and Floyd Domino, and voice with Mady Kaye. I’ve also attended the Jamey Aebersold summer jazz workshops at the University of Louisville several times.
Andrzej Kujawa - Bass
“Ah, the bass player from Poland!” “Yeah, the one that sounds like Jaco Pastorius!” Those are usually the first lines uttered by locals when asked if they’ve heard of Andrzej Kujawa.
Andrzej’s love for music began as a child in Torún, Poland. At the age of five his parents discovered he could play music by ear. His parents quickly enrolled him at the Arthur Rubinstein Music School in Bydgoszcz where he studied upright bass, piano and drums. This was the beginning of his life-long passion. Upon graduation he embarked on a five year career as a studio musician specializing in theater and television instrumental recordings. During that time is when he discovered a love of classic jazz. He is loyal to the pioneers of the be-bop era including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
Andrzej has toured with multiple groups and music pioneers throughout Europe and the Americas. He has played with great artists including the Supremes, Cleo Laine, Sir John Dankworth and Donna McKechnie, and a Broadway series tour with Adrian Zmed and his “In Concert” series. His body of work has him in high demand on both sides of the pond, as well as from five-star luxury cruise lines including Seabourne and Silversea Cruises. When in Europe Andrzej plays with some of the finest jazz groups and musicians on the continent such as the El Jazz Big Band lead by Josef Elias; his son, Jakub Kujawa (2009 Europe Jazz Times’ #3 jazz guitarist) and Marcin Kajper.
Andrzej has lived in Vienna, Oslo and Hamburg. But his move to Austin was indirectly related to music: he met his future wife, an Austinite, at one of his performances in 2004. He relocated to Austin in 2011.
Andrzej speaks five languages: Polish, English, German, Russian, and Czech. In addition to playing music by ear he is an excellent sight reader and improviser. Andrzej enjoys studying music, reading, and Polish Speedway.