Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Legend of 1900

This is a neat movie about a man who was born on a cruise ship in 1900, and he lived his entire life on that ship, never once having stepped onto dry ground. He became a piano prodigy as a young boy who just sat down at the piano one day and knew instinctively how to play. He soon became the focus of the ship's jazz band. He could play things no one had ever thought of and could write incredibly complex harmonies on the spot. People from all over the world took cruises just to hear him play. He was thought to be the best musician in the world. But he wanted no part of going on dry land and making a fortune. He refused to tour or make recordings. He did make a recording once but took the master disc after he heard it and smashed it saying he changed his mind because, "I don't want my music going anywhere without me." I thought that was very unique in storytelling. Most artists want the world to experience their artwork and want to be remembered after they're dead through their art. But if people wanted to hear this guy, they'd have to book passage and see him onboard the ship. And once he would be dead and gone his music would be completely forgotten because there were no recordings or sheet music of it. In fact, he often made up entire tunes on the spot, and they would never be played again. Only the audience that was there on that particular night would ever hear it. He probably spontaneously composed thousands of tunes throughout his life, many of them only heard one time. So his music truly never did go anywhere without him. I thought it was a very unusual kind of story. It's not very often I see such a unique approach. I don't think there are very many unique approaches left.


  1. How different! Might be a good watch for us too. Maybe we can get this to stream onto the tv, I'll ask Tom.

  2. By the way, the thumbnail image used for the movie above is of Clarence Williams who used to be in the Mod Squad years ago. The movie is actually about a white guy. Williams plays Jellyroll Norton, and at one point he comes on the ship to challenge 1900 to a piano duel that's a bit humorous. There's some cussing in the film, but no nudity or anything. I thought it was unusual and enjoyed it.