My final individual entry for my recap of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival is the documentary Keep On Keepin’ the awesome documentary about the life and times of jazz pioneer and nonogenarian, Clark Terry.
A gifted trumpeter in his own right, he took his greatest pride in mentoring young artists in the way of jazz. His first and probably most famous protege is his first – one Quincy Jones, who actually features at moments in the documentary.
Spanning over four years, filmmaker Alan Hicks’ directorial debut takes a look back at Terry’s life and times while also paralleling his story with that of his most recent student, Justin Kauflin, a 20-something piano prodigy. On the surface, you would think these two people could probably not form a lasting bond beyond their musical tastes. However, they do in large part, as a result of enduring personal physical setbacks. In the case of Kauflin, it is a congenital eye disease that has left him completely blind by the time he reached adolescence. For Terry, his blindness was brought upon by a long battle with diabetes.
In spite of these crippling ailments, each artist, together and in their own right, finds a way to do as the title suggests – keep on keepin’ on.
This is an excellent story for anyone who loves jazz (of course), witnessing a living testimony to music and its history of over half of the twentieth century and a tale of rather unexpected friendship.
Photo Credit: Tribeca Film Festival