Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Go See: "Keep On Keepin' On"

I love jazz. When I really need to chill, relax or take a breath on a Sunday morning, I love putting on Miles Davis. He's one of my all time faves. I used to daydream that I'd listen to jazz whilst sitting in a cafe  in New York City on a fall day, when the leaves have turned. I'd then get up and take a cool cat stroll through Central Park. When I used to daydream this, I lived in LA prior to making this a real reality so let me just say - jazz makes your dreams a reality!  

I'll admit that I saw that there was a screening for "Keep On Keepin' On" last Sunday night at The Landmark on Pico. Unbeknownst to me, I had glanced over to see a young man in a nice suit, wearing dark sunglasses with a seeing eye dog by his side. It later hit me (after googling the trailer) that he was Justin Kauflin, the award-winning jazz pianist who was one of the subjects of this wonderful documentary. 

This film, directed by Alan Hicks, centers around the life span of one of the biggest jazz legends, Clark Terry and his relationship with a 23-year-old blind jazz pianist Justin Kauflin. If you've never had a mentor, this will inspire you to want to go out and get one. Clark Terry was a mentor to Miles Davis! I mean, he was Quincy Jones' first trumpet teacher, when he was a mere 13-year-old kid. Clark was one of few musicians who played with both Count Basie's and Duke Ellington's bands. When he lived in Queens, his nearby neighbors were the likes of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. And to top it off (but there are many more accolades!), he's notably known to have been the first African American staff musician on NBC's The Tonight Show. Come on, this guy is the real deal!

Even if you're not a jazz fan, you'll find this film to be heartfelt, inspiring and emotional. I highly recommend seeing it. It's on a limited run in various cities. 

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