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."
Shot over the course of five years, KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON is crafted with great affection by first time filmmaker Al Hicks, who is a drummer and former student of Terry’s.
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.
Through this outreach program, Quincy Jones’ goal is to preserve Cee Tee’s message and legacy, as well as inspire young musicians and teachers alike.
“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…Kauflin and Terry make a fascinating pair…These two men, 70 years apart, still inspire each other, and that inspiration can be infectious” -RogerEbert.com
....It was clear from the start that Justin had goals to accomplish within the session, offering performance and dialogue that he believed 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
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, Governor's School for the Arts
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
Jazz Maui Summer Camp (HI)
Riga Jazz Fest Workshop (Latvia)
Monterey Jazz Fest Adjudicator (CA)
Centrum Jazz Camp Faculty (WA)
U.S. State Dept Envoy (Dominican Republic)
VSA & U.S. State Dept (Rep. of Georgia)
We Always Swing (MO)
Icicle Creek ES Assemblies (WA)
Lionel Hampton Jazz Workshop (ID)
U. Arkansas Jazz Clinic
UCLA Jazz Workshop (CA)
VCU Jazz Clinic (VA)
JAM INC High School Clinics (VA)
Governor's School Masterclasses (VA)
Elementary to Middle School Assemblies (NJ, CA, VA)