Keep on Keepin’ On

The movie hits a beautiful, celebratory note.


Keep on Keepin’ On

Shot over the course of five years by first time filmmaker Al Hicks, KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON depicts the remarkable story of 93-year-old jazz legend Clark Terry. A living monument to the Golden Era of Jazz, Terry—a mentor to Miles Davis—is among the few performers ever to have played in both Count Basie’s and Duke Ellington’s bands. In the 1960′s, he broke the color barrier as the first African-American staff musician at NBC on “The Tonight Show”.

Today, after a life spent working with and teaching the most totemic figures in jazz history, Terry continues to attract and cultivate budding talents. KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON highlights his friendship with the preternaturally gifted Justin Kauflin, a blind, 23-year-old piano prodigy who suffers from debilitating stage fright. Not long after Kauflin is invited to compete in an elite Jazz competition, Terry’s health takes a turn for the worse. As the clock ticks, we see two friends confront the toughest challenges of their lives.
Documentary, Music
Alan Hicks
A.O. Scott, New York Times

By happy coincidence — though it might be a cultural trend of profound significance — we are in a season full of movies about musical mentors. Next week brings “Whiplash,” Damien Chazelle’s tale of a jazz instructor whose main pedagogical methods are sadism and terror. Ethan Hawke’s “Seymour: An ...

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