Um well, I have a bit of a Netflix problem. My $8.99 a month habit can be a blessing or a curse. It can be a curse when I am watching a movie or tv show that has the nutritional content of well, a Twinkie. I know that the dribble I watch is bad for me (Oh Scandal and House of Cards you know I am talking about you!) but still it taste soo good! Latest budget buffet distractions of late have included Dreamworks, All Hail King Julian (my husband shakes his head in shame as I giggle and snort through a 30 minute episode of ridiculousness). Sprinkled with my high sugar visual diet, I try to mix in some Sci-fi or animation and occasionally eat my film vegetables in the form of a real film that has…dare I say it subtitles! In short I can consume a lot of Netflix fast food. But once in a while I will click on a title or genre that takes me to a new buffet table. I recently found a gem of a documentary called Keep on Keepin’ On, that chronicles the musical relationship between master trumpeter and educator extraordinaire Clark Terry and his mentee, pianist Justin Kauflin.
There is plenty on the web about Clark Terry, who died in February of this year. Repeatedly one hears about how his contributions and skills on trumpet and flugelhorn paved the way for many greats to walk on: Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Diana Reeves, Terri Lynn Carrington and countless others.
The film begins with Terry working in his “class room”. He lies in bed supported by oxygen dictating a rhythmic pattern to his protegee who mimics it on the piano, and so begins the journey Clark Terry and Justin Kauflin as they face their individual challenges of health, stage fright, growing up and growing old.
Clark’s thirst for teaching and his apparent gift to unlock the musical lives of students is insatiable. When faced with having both legs amputated, he voices the concern that he doesn’t think he can make it thru this upcoming ordeal, he continues “there are a whole lot of people out there, I’d love to help, but I can’t stay here long enough to do it.”
History, love, music, the human spirit; these are the things that make an hour and twenty five minutes seem like a moment. When it was done, I dried my tears and I felt well fed indeed.