Keep on Keepin' On (2014) Poster

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9/10
Story about heart, compassion, dedication, and life
kenyc0072 October 2014
Excellent movie, uplifting, inspirational, and brave. Will leave you thinking and feeling better about humanity. Do not want to add more to what others have posted but in general for both Jazz and music lovers and also people interested in movies about the human spirit. Clark Terry was a mentor to many of the current Jazz greats and he continues to mentor up and coming musicians despite being in his 90's and in poor health. Justin is a young pianist who lost his sight when he was 11 and aims to be a top jazz pianist. Movies details their lives and relationship and their trial and tribulations.

Highly recommended.
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10/10
Love this film!
kirsy57321 July 2014
This film will tug at your heart strings. Clark Terry is a beautiful human being who has made a difference one person, one note, at a time. You will walk away from this film and find yourself thinking about it for a long time after. It is the story of how our lives intersect with people and the difference that even one relationship can make for a lifetime. Watching the relationship between CT and the young prodigy, Justin (and Candy) leaves you wishing you could be in the room with them breathing in whatever they are putting out. There are multiple relationships taking place during the film and each is just as important as another. It is a film showing real life with all of its joy, sorry, fear, anxiety, pain, love, and compassion. I have seen this film twice and can't wait to see it again and share it with everyone I know. I am also keeping an eye out for whatever is around the corner for the talented Justin Kauflin.
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10/10
Wonderful film on priorities in life
dnagao4 November 2014
A truly remarkable and inspiring documentary. I knew nothing of Clark Terry's history and impact in Jazz and felt the film captured a truly remarkable individual, both as an artist and human being. Outstanding work by the producer, editor and film maker. It's a great reflection on human struggles, hard work, family, friends and individuals who make an impact on one another. It's also great as it subtly compares how people deal with adversity and the encouragement they receive from others. We lose sight of what is really important in life and KOKO makes you reflect on your own struggles, defeats and victories. I found it hard to believe that Al Hicks was new to this field. He does a fantastic job. The film should be seen by Jazz lovers as well as any person who appreciates an honest, touching and inspiring film about "good" people. My hats off to the crew, CT and Justin!
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10/10
Outstanding tribute, inspiring, heartfelt - must see!
surfinguard-fandango29 September 2014
Keep on keepin' on is a project that took over 4 years of filming, and another 2 years of editing. A labor of love, this is a monumental work of film making history. The film crew often slept on the sofa of Clark Terry's house, and matched their hours to those of the nocturnal Mr. Terry - who often teaches his students in after midnight sessions.

Jazz great Clark Terry is a national treasure, and has taught thousands of students for over 7 decades - a legacy of music. Many of his students, such as Quincy Jones and Miles Davis, have had stellar careers.

Highly recommend this very uplifting and inspiring documentary! I have seen it twice, and look forward to seeing it many more times.
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8/10
Absolute must see!!
david-zylberman28 September 2014
The film tells the story of blind piano prodigy, Justin Kauflin, who suffers terrible stage fright, finds his way to jazz legend and teacher Clark Terry who's battling illness. Not only will this movie take you through time and space with great archives and quotes from legends such as Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones who produced the film, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis but you'll, in my case, discover the life of Clark Terry, who is known to be the greatest trumpet player of all time and one of the greatest human beings in the world of jazz. At 94 years old, he's still teaching and transmitting to a generation of young jazz musicians his passion and dedication to excellence. It's not everyday your soul is fed by such incredible humanity, humility and musical talent.
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10/10
heart-warming
betsyrc1 February 2015
This is a heart-warming, even encouraging film. I saw it this afternoon at the SB Int. Film Festival on the recommendation of a friend. Not a musician, I learned a lot about jazz, about musicians and, especially, about friendship and mentoring. Others have told the story of Clark Terry and Justin Kauflin, so I won't repeat it. What it's really about is friendship and generosity and caring and love. With archival photos as well as scenes from the Montreux Jazz Festival, and made thanks to the generosity of many, including Kickstarter supporters, and especially Quincy Jones, over the course of four years, this first film by the director is a jewel of a film, deserving of wide viewing.
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10/10
Impactful, Inspiring, a big shot of lifeblood
aashley-133-20403315 October 2014
This journey of friendship, regardless of your interest in or love of music, was a story which grabs your soul and swells your being with strength and sheer appreciation of life. These two incredibly gifted musicians were so aptly portrayed as selfless humanitarians who bring to the audience an intimate insight into their lives, intertwined with the exceptional musical talents they both so modestly reveal. Hard to conceive modesty emanating from someone who played with Count Basie and Duke Ellington, and taught the likes of Quincy Jones and Miles Davis, but Clark Terry is just such a man. His latest student, Justin Kauflin, is an inspiration himself, despite his blindness, showcasing the excellence of his gifts as a pianist, guided by the exceptional musical teachings and life lessons from "CT". Their synchronicity shines; You cannot leave the theatre without tears, smiles and the education gleaned from the strength of positive thinking and faith in humanity.
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10/10
Wonderful Uplifting Movie
trandall5178 October 2014
This is an extraordinary movie. It is a documentary about Clark Terry (CT) a well respected jazz musician. Who until this documentary, I hadn't heard of. I would describe this documentary as a love story of his music students about their teacher, Clark Terry (CT).

I learned in this documentary that Clark Terry is about 93 years old. He's well respected in his field. He has played in many jazz bands from Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones, the Tonight Show Bands, etc. He's received many accolades over the years. Both Quincy Jones and Miles Davis call Clark Terry their first mentor. He's a musician's musician. But Mr. CT is also a teacher and has taught for decades thousands of students. The document shows you how he teaches one of his students Justin Kauflin a 23 year old who happens to be blind. The entire story is uplifting and inspirational.

Not only is it a great story, the archive film footage is exceptional and rare. Whether you like jazz or not this is a great story for anyone to enjoy. I highly recommend watching this film.
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10/10
Incredible movie
jazbase24 December 2014
I strongly encourage everyone to see this film. It is moving, human, honest, humbling, and illustrates the power of love, music and friendship that knows no bounds. There could be no more a giving person in jazz over the last 50 years than Clark Terry, and no harder working, loyal, gifted friend to him than Justin Kauflin. And to hear Justin play piano is another beautiful, emotionally powerful aspect of the film. To see Clark Terry going through such difficult health issues and see the power of Justin's friendship and how it brought meaning and a reason for Clark to want to live was overwhelming in its beauty. I felt humbled and blessed for having seen it, and will certainly see it again...and again.
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10/10
Keep On Keepin' On is a Gift!
pendergast323 December 2014
Christmas 2014 came early for me. It arrived Dec. 20 this year when I attended the Norfolk screening of what must be one of the top documentary films of the year. People who know more about films than I, agree, since it made the "short list" of 15 contenders for Oscar. In fact, it was the best documentary I've ever seen. Filmed on a near bare bones budget by a team of three amateur Australian videographers, the film captures the essence of friendship, mutual respect, admiration, the undaunted pursuit of excellence and pure talent. Simply, it's awesome.

"Keep on Keeping On" is the personal story of two men: one is an aging, world- renowned and arguably the premier trumpet player of all time--the incredible Clark Terry. The other is a budding jazz pianist, a blind but brilliant and brave young prodigy, Justin Kauflin, who lost his sight at age 11. Justin then set his mind to becoming the premier jazz pianist, learned to play and earned admission to the William Paterson School of Music. It was there where the Clark Terry Archive exists that " CT" and Justin met, befriended and established his mentor-protégé relationship with the famous, aging but ill, jazz icon.

The film also seamlessly weaves Clark Terry's first student, Quincy Jones, into this story with his most recent, Justin. Keep On Keepin' On is an organic and inspiring true story of a mentorship-relationship that transcends differences...in age, race, illness, and disability. The love, respect and vision director Al Hicks and team have for Clark Terry is palpable throughout!
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10/10
Heartfelt and inspiring
SuzyCayenne15 February 2015
First, let me say that I don't even particularly like jazz.

And I am a rather grumpy individual who is really not a people person. BUT...

This documentary made me feel like there is hope for humanity. It left me with a warm and rosy glow. It's not really a "music doc," it's about mentoring and relationships and having a passion for something.

The director is actually a jazz musician, not a film guy. As a former student and mentee of Clark Terry, he felt that this remarkable man's story needed to have a wider audience and set about making the film. But you would never know it was a "first," the direction and editing is so very accomplished.

The people at the center of the film, Clark Terry, aging trumpet virtuoso, his brave and compassionate wife, and the young, blind pianist whose fledgling career the film follows, are so wonderfully compelling. So, too, is the way it portrays the way art (I don't think it matters if its music or visual art or literature) transforms people, the way it can transcend the difficulties of life, how it can bind you to others, how important it is that it be nurtured. It does so without being preachy, without being melodramatic, with humor and love and inspiration.

all right, I'm gushing, aren't I? That's what a film like this can do, even to a cranky old misanthrope!
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9/10
Worth Spending The Money To View Or Buy!!
garyrob20088 February 2015
This is the type of movie that deserves attention and filled theater seats. It's current timeline (being a documentary) also manages to bring you back in time because of characters like Terry, Jones, Miles Davis etc...

The old days of jazz are made relevant again in this heart touching story of inexplicable talent and chance encounters that were somehow meant to be.

You get to see a chain reaction of mentoring through decades of very talented jazz musicians. The audience gets more than their moneys worth watching this movie. Not only are we treated to the music aspect, but we also witness an undying love story between Gwen and Clark that tugs at the heart strings.

Anyone who enjoys music would have a difficult time NOT enjoying this movie. A must see!!
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10/10
Cried the Whole Time...Number One All-Time Documentary!
bgpender24 December 2014
Just viewed this documentary last weekend at a local art house in Norfolk as a wonderful treat from two dear friends who love compelling documentaries and Jazz as much as I do.

I must say I was pleasantly shocked when I first saw Justin appear on the screen ("OMG...That's Justin!"); I met Justin several years ago when he gigged at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts one Thursday in 2010. I was so mesmerized by his musicianship that I actually purchased his CD and had him sign it.

This documentary is a compelling story of the language of Jazz and its transfer through multiple generations, courtesy of Clark Terry. But beyond musicianship, this documentary is the story of the power of Mentorship and why it takes a village to keep music traditions and language alive.

And by the way, It's a Tear Jerker. At least it was for me.
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10/10
Straight Ahead
debdld722 August 2019
"You got to stay in there and battle"... This movie moved me so much. Its about the best of us. As human beings. What we possess inside ourselves and what we give. Mr. Terry was so generous with.himself. his talent. His history, his love. What he gave Justin you can't buy. And that will get passed on too. A beautiful man, a beautiful life, a beautiful story. Please watch this movie and learn all its lessons offered. Will change you. Changed me for sure. Thank you
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Clark Terry and Justin Kauflin, and their unlikely and inspirational bond.
TxMike26 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I managed to see this documentary on Netflix streaming. With lots of contributors it features Clark Terry, one of the more famous and revered trumpet players of all time, and an unknown, blind 20-something pianist, Justin Kauflin.

I am a trumpet player, I started in the 1950s, I knew of Clark Terry but didn't really know much about him. In this film he is already in his early 90s, still playing when he can, but battling progressive diabetes which eventually took his life in 2015 at the age of 94. What this film brings out is how positive he was and how generous he was, always willing to help mentor someone, even this young, blind pianist.

Young Justin has an uphill battle, from Virginia and moving to Manhattan to pursue his passion, he found out how difficult it is and had to move back with his parents. But when he got in with Clark Terry, "CT" as he called him, his fortunes began to change. The very first musician to seek out CT some 60 years earlier was Quincy Jones, who now as a music producer learned of Justin through CT, took him under his wing, brought him to the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and has kick-started his career.

Really a good film, very personal, very poignant.
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7/10
A touching small scale doco
eddie_baggins6 September 2015
An intimate and small scale documentary that chooses to focus on the personnel moments rather than the grand, Keep On Keepin' On is a lovely look into the way music affects people's lives and a fitting piece of memorability for the recently passed away Jazz legend Clark Terry.

Without professing to know much or in fact anything about the Jazz scene, Keepin On does a great job at making the audience feel a part of this musical movement thanks to Australian filmmaker Alan Hick's steady direction and Clark's wholly infectious love for the genre of music. Whether watching Clark in finely used stock footage or in his later bed ridden years, his knowledge and passion for Jazz is unwavering and his musical based friendship with blind piano player Justin Kauflin is a touching and poignantly captured relationship that is the heart and soul of this low key doco.

Justin is a likable presence and his easy going banter with CT is a joy to behold. It's clear to see that Justin's appearance in CT's life came at the opportune time and as CT begins to lose his vision due to years of battling diabetes the two Jazz loving men bond even tighter over there shared conditions and CT mentoring Justin to become the best he can be is both genuine and interesting. While much of Keepin On feels wholly legitimate and unflattering there are issues that stem from the fact you can't help but feel as in most documentaries that your being ever so slightly manipulated and the fact that long time Clark friend and fellow musician Quincy Jones is the producer of this film, there's high chance elements of this doco are not totally as they seem.

As a look at the importance and meaning behind music and friendships based around it, Keep On Keepin' On is a must watch documentary that will be loved by many. It's great to see the strength of the human spirit and endurance on show in such a manner and the talent that these two subjects possess musically is something worth beholding.

3 and a half late night musical jams out of 5
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8/10
Good, could have been better
jeffpsy26 April 2015
"Keep on Keepin On" is a documentary that beautifully depicts the relationship between iconic trumpet player Clark Terry, and his protégé, aspiring 26 year old pianist Justin Kauflin. In an interesting parallel, Kauflin went blind at a young age, and aging Terry ("CT") is in the process of losing his sight from diabetes. What comes through in the movie is the kinship between the two men, as well as with other members of the jazz community, as they pass along wisdom through the generations. It turns out that the first "student" that Clark Terry ever had in his long career was a young wet behind the ears trumpet player named Quincy Jones. Kauflin and Terry develop a father-son type of bond, as we watch Terry struggle with health problems, and Kauflin attempt to establish himself as a successful jazz pianist.

The one problem I had with the documentary, was that we learn much more about Justin the person than we do about Justin the musician. While obviously he is a highly gifted musician, there was so little footage of Kauflin performing on stage (or with a group), I left the film without any real sense of his strengths as a jazz musician. For example, is a composer? Is he a future bandleader who makes everyone around him better? Is his forte that of reworking the classics? I frankly have no idea. As an example, there may have been many trumpeters who could play faster, or cleaner than a young Miles Davis. But none of them could have produced "Kind of Blue" or "Sketches of Spain". The documentary told me that Justin Kauflin is a great person, but who is he as a musician?
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9/10
Truly inspirational
leshutchinson24 March 2015
The premise of this documentary - the mentoring relationship between jazz great Clark Terry and aspiring pianist Justin Kauflin - lends itself to the heart-warming category. However, as the story unfolds and we learn more about the struggles being faced by both men with their health (and nerves in Kauflin's case), we are given an insight to the strength of the human spirit to overcome adversity. Despite his failing health, Clark Terry continues to mentor Kauflin and others. Despite setbacks in the early stages of his career, Kauflin continues to practice and develop with a steely resolve.These strands are inspirational. What truly sets this documentary apart is the bond of friendship that develops between the two men. It is uplifting to see the development of their affection and to share in the joy that they share in each other's company.

I highly recommend seeking this one out - it is a wonder-filled story.
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10/10
The most beautiful must see
fiona-bishop8 February 2015
Speaking as someone who watches many films and documentaries this is the only film or documentary I have ever commented on. If this is not testament to the power of music any film has ever portrayed then I cannot think what could be. If you don't like jazz, you will after this. This is such a perfect story that even a huge blockbuster film could never convey how powerful this film is. The love and respect portrayed by everyone involved in this is impossible to sum up. Probably the most inspirational story I have ever been lucky enough to witness. This intimate film makes you feel a part of the story and the family. This is testament to the power of the human spirit and what faith can do and when I say faith I mean faith in humanity. What you can achieve whatever the obstacles, what you can overcome no matter how hopeless and what others can do to influence, affect and lift you when all else seems lost. I cannot think of a time I was so moved, so inspired and so utterly delighted by any story. The power of love is a magnificent gift and it trancsends all else and this is testimony to all those things. Such a beautiful piece you find yourself digesting every single word and although, as others have said. very emotional to watch...the beauty of it is one of those precious gifts we rarely get to share. I will conclude by saying that I am jealous of anyone who has not had the honour of seeing this yet as it will change how you feel about so many things on so many levels. For me this is an utter masterpiece.
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10/10
Incredible Inspiring Story about a Musical Legend
bkjn1 February 2015
We saw the film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The film documents the life of Clark Terry a master jazz musician and inspirational teacher of many famous musicians including Quincy Jones and Miles Davis

The true story about Clark includes one of his students, Justin Kaufman, a young jazz pianist who is blind and extremely talented. Clark is such a wonderful human being. The story is very positive and up lifting.

The director Allan Hicks and Justin Kaufman where at the theater for a Q&A after the showing.
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