Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Justin Varnes studied music at the University of North Florida. After a brief stint with the Noel Freidline Quintet, Mr. Varnes relocated to New York City to pursue a master’s degree in jazz studies at the New School. In New York, Justin toured for six years with vocalist Phoebe Snow, with whom he performed on the Roseanne Barr Show, as well as National Public Radio’s “World Cafe” (he would later perform on “World Cafe” with pop group “Five for Fighting”). He also performed with Phoebe at Madison Square Garden, where he played alongside singers Jewel and Paula Cole.
Mr. Varnes has performed with several jazz greats in New York, including: Ben Wolfe (Harry Connick, Jr.), Aaron Goldberg (Joshua Redman), Wessell Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Printup, Steve Kirby (Cyrus Chestnut), Peter Bernstein, and Eric Lewis (Wynton Marsalis).
Currently residing in Atlanta, Mr. Varnes performs regularly with the Christian Tamburr Quartet, as well as Bob Reynolds, Kevin Bales, Joe Gransden and Gary Motley. Justin is also a top call sideman for touring artists through Atlanta. He has performed with Vincent Herring, Kevin Hays, Victor Goines and recently has been tapped for some work with Earl Klugh.