Volume 4 / Chapter 126
[TN: JH…show your genius to the world! :P]
There was a reason why Stanley Clarke looked uncomfortable. Last month, he had prepared a project album with Japanese pianist, Uehara. He returned after recording all 4 songs in Japan when Uehara pulled the brakes.
“What? What do you mean you’re pulling the brakes?”
“He’s saying he isn’t satisfied with one of the songs. He sent back what he played last week.”
“Just the piano part?”
“Yeah. I’m sure you know, but improv on scene is important in jazz… Mr. Uehara likes sophisticated things.”
Alex looked over Stanley Clarke.
“Actually, Stanley is really annoyed because of that. We barely got him to agree to this because he was angry that they’re not even recording together and that he’ll have to re-record while listening to the piano as a music file. Honestly, the piano version that was redone is much better. I would like to use this piano song.”
“Is there a recording of what Stanley played again?”
“We have that… but there isn’t anything that was done properly. We stopped all of them as he was playing.”
“Then I guess we’ll have to start by listening to the piano.”
Jun Hyuk put on the headphones and began listening to the piano. His fingers naturally tapped his knees according to the melody. He took off the headphones,
“Alright, I’m done. The song is good.”
“See, Stanley? I’m telling you the piano is good.”
Alex looked at Stanley Clarke as he spoke, but Stanley still had a frown.
“In short, he’s saying that it’s a jazz performance but there isn’t any hype, right?”
“Right. This kid knows something. It has to have a good feeling to perform it.”
“Then let’s bring out its feeling first. It’s lacking, but I’ll play the piano.”
As soon as Jun Hyuk entered the recording booth, Alex Zakin’s gaze changed. It is time to see for himself.
Jun Hyuk put his hands on the electric piano and played the piano by Uehara he had just heard. A gentle melody fitting for fusion jazz filled the booth. It is a song that brought out the Japanese characteristic of piano with a tranquil emotion.
Stanley Clarke looked back and forth between Jun Hyuk in the booth and Alex sitting beside him, and stuttered,
“Di… Didn’t he just hear it? By… By chance…”
“No, you saw. He put on the headphones and listened to it just now. That’s the first time. This… Seeing something I’d only heard of with my own eyes, it seems like magic.”
“Something you’d only heard of?”
“That he’s someone like Mozart. I can’t believe it.”
The two men had a more blank expression than when Jun Hyuk first met Stanley Clarke. Jun Hyuk lifted his head and spoke to Stanley Clarke,
“Stanley, play it with me. Hurry up and come in.”
Stanley Clarke entered the recording booth and picked up the bass guitar.
“Record everything from now on. Don’t stop it anywhere and keep recording until they both come out of the booth. Got it?”
Alex Zakin warned the sound engineer and began to watch the two.
Jun Hyuk played Uehara’s piano in repetition so that Stanley Clarke could play the bass with it. They played it three times and each time, Stanley’s bass brought out a different melody.
Jun Hyuk began to change the piano melody little by little when Stanley gave him the eye. Stanley’s bass started to give an entirely different melody as he matched Jun Hyuk’s piano.
Two wave tracks on the monitor outside the recording booth were dancing. Melodies were filling the computer hard drive through the thick copper wires running from the bass guitar and electric piano.
Alex Zakin felt a deep bliss. This is an improv performance coming from a small recording booth that is not even 400 square feet, that can only be heard at the likes of the Monterey Jazz Festival. On top of that, the entire sound is being recorded without any noise mixed in.
“This is why I can’t help but love geniuses!”
The excited Alex Zakin shouted as he patted the two sound engineers on the back. Directing? Producing? They do not need this kind of stuff. When two geniuses meet and sparks fly, there are unexpected results.
Those results become incredible music that no famous producer can bring out.
Jun Hyuk’s vision faded until he could not see anything. He could not see Stanley playing the bass or his fingers pressing the keyboard. He could only see the wavelengths created light fireworks from the sound of the piano and bass colliding.
Stanley Clarke did not even realize when his glasses fell off of his face because he was shaking his head so much. He could not feel the saliva forming in his slightly open mouth. They were both lost in the music that they were creating together.
They performed for over almost an hour before they stopped.
Even though he was sitting still and not playing the piano, his fingertips tingled and there was a tremor throughout his body. He had played jazz properly for the first time after only having listened to it.
This is the first time he is feeling something like this. He found out that the bliss felt by someone listening to jazz is incomparable to what the performer feels.
Stanley Clarke put the bass down and hugged Jun Hyuk who was sitting blankly.
“If I’m asked to choose my best performances, this will be in the top three.”
They did not know that Alex and the engineers outside the booth were clapping endlessly.
Jun Hyuk and Stanley Clarke did not leave the booth because they were talking about music. Alex Zakin checked the recording as Jun Hyuk even showed his happiness by taking a picture with Stanley on his phone.
“How many minutes is the entire thing?”
“Playing to Uehara’s piano is 20 minutes. The rest is 48.”
Alex Zakin got lost in thought for a moment after checking the amount recorded.
“Then it means Stanley played the song to go with Mr. Uehara’s piano three times?”
“Yes. Which one should we use?”
“First combine each with the piano file that Uehara sent over. We can use the best of those… Or we can use all three. Oh right, try mixing Jun Hyuk’s piano too so we can compare it.”
Three versions of a song where only the bass is different. Shoving all of them into one album is something that jazz manias would like, but it is better to separate them for the sales of Stanley’s next record release.
“What are you going to do with the 48 minutes?”
“Why are you asking? We need to release a record of course. This is good enough to get a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.”
Alex Zakin’s words were full of certainty.
The $25,000 contract with Jun Hyuk had come back as 48 minutes worth $2.5 million. It could even be $25 million. Alex Zakin would need to receive permission from the two leading men of the record, but he was decided on releasing it.
He suddenly thought of something and came out of the recording studio, leaving the two behind.
“When they’re done, send them to my room.”
Alex Zakin quickly went up to his room. When he saw the secretary sitting in front of his office, he spoke quickly,
“Call Charlie and tell him to hurry up and come to my room.”
“I’m talking about Charlie Dwayne! Quickly within a minute.”
Alex sat back in his chair, but he kept shaking his leg. He had only met Jun Hyuk twice, but this is the first time that he is meeting someone who surpasses surprise and shocks him every time they meet.
He could not tell where Jun Hyuk’s talents ended. He thought of the existing jazz performers who could maintain a performance with Stanley Clarke for 50 minutes, but could not even come up with 10. Even if there is musical inspiration, there needs to be solid playing skills to support it. It would be fitting to call him a master already because he is able to take the inspiration in his mind and express it with an instrument on the spot.