REVIEW: Keep On Keepin’ On

31 10 2014

Keep On Keepin OnI have sat through more than enough leadership and mentorship training meetings and sessions in my day.  All the principles run together and become rather boring quite quickly.  So, in order to impart these values, I recommend all future seminars of this ilk just show the documentary “Keep On Keepin’ On.”

Al Hicks’ documentary shows the spirit of teaching and bequeathing one’s talents in joyous, uplifting fashion by focusing on an exemplary case study.  Over the course of several years, he shows a teacher-student bond that blossoms into the most heartwarming of friendships. His main subject, Clark Terry, is a now-nonagenarian jazz trumpeter who learned from Duke Ellington and made Quincy Jones the musician he is today.

In spite of his fading health and increasing fragility, Terry still prioritizes bringing up the next generation of jazz musicians.  As an instructor, he meets the young blind pianist Justin Kauflin, and the two form an unmatchable rapport as Terry himself has begun to lose his own vision due to diabetes.  Their sessions together, as recorded by Hicks, will often last into the wee hours of the morning no matter if Terry is at home or in the hospital.

By watching Terry’s purposeful guidance and inspiration, we have the privilege to see what the right kind of encouragement and care for others can yield.  He does it not for any sort of vicarious thrill or ego boost but rather out of genuine love of his art and its future.  And while it might not yield any particularly insightful revelations or break exciting new ground, “Keep On Keepin’ On” is a sweet and touching film to watch nonetheless simply because of the purity of Terry and Kauflin’s dynamic.  B2halfstars