Thursday, 19 February 2015

REVIEW - KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON (ALAN HICKS)


And you can bet your ass they do. Keep On Keepin' On finishes with the future, a sign of the successes to come, the most joyous affirmation of optimism any movie can muster. The legacy of Clark Terry in jazz is a beautiful thing, and Alan Hicks doesn't even need to push his point - like the subtlest of grace notes, we'll find it if we listen hard enough. Life will keep on if we allow it to, and if we allow it to be infused with joy and passion and a determination to continue reaping all of the glories that those things can provide us with. This immensely watchable documentary breaks no new ground for its genre, represents no massive leap forward in film thematically, formally or otherwise. It's a jazz standard, with the emphasis on standard, but what delicate moments of unforced beauty Hicks decorates his film with are like piquant little sweeteners, and they sustain Keep On Keepin' On's mood of gentle geniality right through. The film is respectful toward the histories it chronicles, briefly, and could only have been a better film were such respect transformed into reverence, frankly: more archive footage, more historic recordings - this stuff is storytelling gold! Thankfully, the obnoxious 'talking heads' angle, whereby arbitrary celebrities show up to offer their two cents on some topic or another, is mostly absent. Keep On Keepin' On doesn't dwell in the past, it recognises its position in the present and looks to the future, and thus softly peddles a message to all of us, that we must do the same in order to survive. To this day, Clark Terry has kept on. His legacy isn't finished yet - it finishes in the distant future.