Thursday, July 5, 2007

606 Club

The movie is called The Saxophonist, starring, Terrance Howard as Jean Toissant. This film is the rags, to jazz riches story of a musician whose only dream it is to play his saxophone for the rest of his life and still make a living. The opening scene in the movie is set in a tunnel, deep in the London underground, with Terrance (Jean) playing his saxophone. His cap lying upside down in front of him with a total of 5 pounds in change lying inside. The camera is walking down the tunnel, you can hear the hustle and bustle of people as they move about the tube station, but Jean’s saxophone clearly sticks out. The camera stops in front of him as if being a spectator and watching him finish his song. The camera cuts away 18 years earlier, to the island of St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the song still playing in the background. We are now seeing a young boy standing in front of a very old saxophonist performing on a dirt road on the island. The old man is playing a very similar song, with the same style, as we saw Jean playing in the subway. When the man finishes the song he says to the young boy, “Do you like the saxophone?” The boy shakes his head yes. Then the old man says, “what’s your name son?” The boy responds, “Jean.” “Well Jean, come here and let me teach you a few things on this old piece of metal.”

The movie follows Jean through his childhood, growing up in the Virgin Islands, then moving to London at the age of 16 on his own, with no money, no family and nowhere to go when he arrives. All he has is a backpack with two shirts and a loaf of bread and his saxophone. He had heard that New Orleans was the place to go, if you want to play jazz for a living; and it was only a short boat ride away from the Virgin Islands. As it turns out, New Orleans was a jazz mecca and only a short boat ride away. Jean happened to board a boat that was headed to London, not the US. After a week on the boat realized the mistake he had made. Nonetheless, after arrival in London, Jean set up shop in a London tube station, trying to make some money. When the movie reaches the opening scene of Jean playing in the tube, it does not stop there. I continues on, with Jean eventually playing gigs every night and headlining clubs around the world. There is even a scene with him becoming computer savvy and making his own website and myspace page.

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