I could not think of a living jazz musician more deserving of a documentary about him or herself than the great Clark Terry.
It was a true high point in my career when I had the opportunity to interview Clark Terry a couple of years back, hearing about what it was like to instruct Miles Davis, play with both Duke Ellington and Count Basie, and to hear him perform “Mumbles” a few feet in from of my face.
Now, his influence and inspiration will be brought to the screen in a documentary called “Keep on Keepin’ On”.
The film primarily focuses on Terry’s influence on two musicians: the co-producer of the film (and drummer) Alan Hicks, and blind pianist Justin Kauflin, both in their twenties.
Terry, who is 90, maintains the same intensity and straight talk with these two students as he might have with former students like Quincy Jones and Miles Davis. The phrase “Keep on Keepin’ On” is a phrase that Terry has used for over 70 years in an effort to motivate and inspire students.
The filmmakers have been attempting to fund the film out of pocket, but have also incorporated donations through Kickstarter, a unique participatory funding resource that allows individuals to contribute to the project. Depending on how much individuals might give, donors can receive a variety of Clark Terry memorabilia. Donations are being accepted through August 8th.
The film also follows Terry as he works on his autobiography, due for release in October.
Congratulations to Clark Terry, not only one of the few remaining living legends of jazz, but someone who has spent so much time educating and mentoring others in the art.
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