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Soundtrack Review

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Keep On Keepin' On
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Justin Kauflin and Dave Grusin
Performed by: Clark Terry, Duke Ellington and Justin Kauflin
Label: Varèse Sarabande Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 24 February 2015

Varèse Sarabande Records release the score to Keep On Keeping' On. Shot over the course of five years by first-time filmmaker Al Hicks, the film depicts the remarkable story of 93-year-old jazz legend Clark Terry. It highlights his friendship with the preternaturally gifted Justin Kauflin, a blind, 23-year-old piano prodigy who suffers from debilitating stage fright. Not long after Kauflin is invited to compete in an elite Jazz competition, Terry's health takes a turn for the worse. As the clock ticks, we see two friends confront the toughest challenges of their lives. Kauflin's work on the film's score with composer Dave Grusin sets the tone for a story that spans decades, lifetimes and the entire history of modern Jazz, complete with firsthand anecdotes from Jones and Herbie Hancock...

The score for Keep On Keepin' On was released three days after the sad passing of Clark Terry, who was 94 years old. And I can think of no more fitting a tribute to the great man than this score. Terry was an American swing and bebop trumpeter who had a long and varied career in jazz.

Jazz, I can take it or leave it. When it gets under your skin, some artists can take you on a wonderful journey. It's said that jazz is the one music genre where the listener gets to witness the soul of the musician more than any other; that their personality comes through loud and clear in the performance. While others say that jazz is the genre for musicians who want to play with other musicians without playing with other musicians. Or to put it another way, jazz is the one genre where all the musicians are on stage playing their own tune regardless of what the other band members are doing.

Large portions of Terry's music here is reflective of his Big Band work, whilst Justin Kauflin's piano work showcases various aspects of the man's talents. Both compliment each other remarkably well when listened to in close proximity. For me Big Band and Swing are the most accessible of jazz standards.

Keep On Keepin' On isn't just a collection of well known jazz tracks (although 'Misty' and 'Candy' are reproduced here). There is a warm and heartfelt story that comes across in the music and quotes that. The score contains 32 tracks (8 of which are bonus tracks is you purchase the digital album) - 1 hr, 24 min, 55 sec.

There are some beautiful moments of incidental scoring in amongst the jazz tracks - like 'Grammys Lifetime' and 'What The Hell Time Is It (Instrumental Digital Bonus)'.

For jazz lovers and fans of Terry, this is a loving tribute to the man and a beautiful souvenir of the movie.


Darren Rea

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