Keep On Keepin' On


Keep On Keepin' On

Critics Consensus

Offering keen observations and infectious warmth, Keep On Keepin' On is a joy for jazz buffs and novices alike.



Reviews Counted: 41

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Average Rating: 4.3/5

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Movie Info

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. Kauflin's work on the film's score with composer Dave Grusin sets the tone for a story that spans decades, lifetimes and the entire history of modern Jazz, complete with firsthand anecdotes from Jones and Herbie Hancock. KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON is a film crafted with great affection by Hicks - another former student of Terry's - a grace note for his teacher, infused with soulfulness and serendipity. Paula DuPre' Pesmen (behind the Academy Award winning THE COVE and the Oscar nominated CHASING ICE) produced the film with seven time Academy Award nominee Quincy Jones who also counts Terry as his mentor. Jones came on board as producer after literally walking into the film as one of its subjects, discovering Justin's talent purely by chance during a visit at Clark's home. (C) Radius-TWC

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News & Interviews for Keep On Keepin' On

Critic Reviews for Keep On Keepin' On

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (22)

[A] moving, observant documentary about the relationship between the ailing 93-year-old legend and master trumpeter Clark Terry and Justin Kauflin, a blind pianist Terry successfully mentored.

Jan 12, 2015 | Full Review…

Terry's enveloping warmth, wisdom and good nature give the Oscar-shortlisted documentary much of its energy.

Jan 12, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

"Keep on Keepin' On" might document the passing of a musical torch from one century to the next, but for one sticking point: The first torch plain refuses to go out.

Dec 4, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

What really makes Keep On Keepin' On such a heart-tugging, three-handkerchief crowd pleaser is that at heart, it's a buddy movie.

Nov 21, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Terry produced some of the happiest sounds in the history of jazz; Keep on Keepin' On keeps the smiles coming.

Nov 14, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

As joyful as a jumping jazz riff, Keep on Keepin' On is an inspiring story of devotion, dedication and multi-generational friendship.

Nov 13, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

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