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Keep On Keepin' On
Jazz Education Outreach

Keep On Keepin' On poster of Clark Terry and Justin Kauflin

Shot over the course of 5 years, KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON was one of the most critically acclaimed documentaries of 2014, landing on the short list for an Academy Award nomination by first-time director, Al Hicks.

The Film depicts the friendship of music legend and teacher Clark Terry, 89 and Justin Kauflin, a 23-year­-old, blind piano prodigy.  Kauflin, who suffers from debilitating stage fright, is invited to compete in an elite Jazz competition, just as Terry’s health takes a turn for the worse. As the clock ticks, we see two friends confront the toughest challenges of their lives.

Terry was also Quincy Jones’ first teacher, and mentor to Miles Davis. He is among the few performers ever to have played in both Count Basie’s and Duke Ellington’s bands. In the ‘60s Terry broke the color barrier as the first African-American staff musician at NBC – on "The Tonight Show."

One of Clark Terry's greatest passions was jazz education.  In the spirit of Clark, the team of KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON is committed to sharing his positive messages through education screenings, jazz masterclasses and workshops, student jam sessions and Justin Kauflin solo or trio concert. 

"These two men, 70 years apart, inspired each other, and that inspiration can be infectious."

"Clark Terry is more than just a jazz legend. He’s more than just the guy who mentored Quincy Jones, and who Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis thought was the best trumpet player who ever lived. In Alan Hicks’ “Keep On Keepin’ On,” Clark Terry becomes something greater than just a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner; he becomes an inspiration, a man who could teach us all a thing or two about craft, dedication and dealing with life's tragedies. Hicks avoids the traditional bio-doc route by turning “Keep On Keepin’ On” into more than just CT’s story, chronicling how the legendary musician continues to inspire young artists to this day, most notably an incredibly talented blind piano player named Justin Kauflin" ...


"Kauflin's story is one that falls into what I like to call the 'perspective documentary genre.' If you think you’re having a rough day or can’t escape from whatever hole life has dug for you, Kauflin’s worldview should give you a little perspective. He simply never lets his situation get him down (at least on film). His ringtone is 'Don’t Worry, Be Happy' for God’s sake."

To bring the film and workshops to your community, please contact Early Hour or Justin Kauflin

Jazz Clinic Testimonials

".... It was clear from the start that Justin had goals to accomplish within the session, offering performance and dialogue that he blieved would be most effective with university-age students;  and he targeted perfectly ... they made our band room seem like the center of the jazz universe for those 90 minutes" -Antonio Garcia, Director VCU Jazz

"Trinity students often have the benefit of witnessing music-making at the highest level by visiting professional musicians like Kauflin.  It's valuable that students get to interact with the artists so that they realize they are regular people ... an artist like Justin, who is only a few years older than the students, has a particular resonance" - Trinity Episcopal IB Music Program

"Justin did a fabulous job with the students and I couldn't have been more pleased with the Master Class!  He is a natural teacher with his honesty, sensitivity, temperament and ability to inspire.  They appreciated the thoughtful comments and practical advice, and felt so inspired after the clinic"

-Liz Barnes, Director Governor's School for the Arts

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