Wednesday, January 28, 2015

If You Like Jazz Or Positive Stories, Check Out Keep On Keepin' On

If you're more interested in a positive story out of your documentaries, this film'll likely get your goat.
Keep On Keepin' On is the true life story of legendary Jazz musician Clark Terry. But rather than tell us all about his storied career, the film intentionally veers off to focus in on the amazing work that Clark Terry has been doing as a teacher. Sure he's made more albums than you can count and he probably hasn't done too bad financially, but his real mark will likely come in those myriad students he personally took the time to coach and help up into the professional Jazz fold... Miles Davis... Quincy Jones... that's the caliber of student this guy's raised. So this is the story of Clark Terry's mentorship of a young, blind piano player named Justin Kauflin. And it's a very cool example of what this Jazz master has been up to, particularly in his later years.
Frankly, I'm a little surprised the Academy didn't nominate this thing for best documentary. The film's approach to its subject is just different from most docs that are out there. And it has a very clear, concise story to tell from an angle that no one's seen before. Clark Terry is the ultimate badass, and he deserves to have more films made about his storied career. But this is a rare glimpse at the man after all of his success, and the proof that not everyone who makes it big necessarily has to lose themselves to the darker side of celebrity.
I really enjoyed Keep On Keepin' On. If you like music, or just a positive take on humanity, this is a pretty good flick for you. Alan Hicks knocked it out of the park on his first try.

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