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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