Volume 7 / Chapter 225
“What did you think? How was it to meet your childhood idol in person?” Tara smiled as she spoke in the car to the hotel.
“The Lee Carlton I know is the Lee Carlton from 20 years ago. The feeling I get from taking a time machine to go back 20 years. He’s totally different now because he has a subtle mellowness. How should I put it? I think he’s become much more relaxed and gentle.”
Jun Hyuk compared Lee Carlton from when he was young to his image now. It was a great decision to participate in the Monterey Jazz Festival. He cannot explain in words the pleasure he felt when he went into the midst of music as melodies of different instruments mixed.
He laid himself down on the hotel bed, but he could not fall asleep. He was not very tired and he kept thinking about how they would play the 8 songs during rehearsal tomorrow.
The next day, Jun Hyuk picked up a lot of coffee and went to the studio, but felt uncomfortable at the strange way Lee Carlton was looking at him.
Lee Carlton finally spoke up after they just played 3 or 4 songs consecutively without another preparation in particular.
“Jun. Well this is… I can’t hold back. Let’s talk for a moment.”
Stanley Clarke smiled. He knows that Lee Carlton, who is known for his sophisticated performances, cannot just let it go. He has been very patient even until now.
“What on earth did you do yesterday? Why did our performance flow like that?”
“Excuse me? Yesterday? Oh… That?”
Jun Hyuk scratched his head because of the difficult question.
“Um… That’s because I’m a huge fan of you two…”
“What? Fan? What does that have to do with the performance?”
“I just matched it to the way you play because I know it well. And adequate stimulus? That’s the only way I can explain it. To put it simply, it’s a feeling. A feeling that should I play like this, then you will accept it like this?”
When Jun Hyuk could not explain it properly, Stanley Clarke looked at Lee Carlton.
“See. I told you that you wouldn’t be able to get a refreshing answer even if you ask. How could a talent he was born with be explained?”
This showed the difference between the two men.
Stanley Clarke is more prominent in the talent he was born with compared to Lee Carlton who is such a hard worker that his mantra might as well be, <Practice every day if you want to adhere to my playing style.>
It seems that Stanley Clarke understands a little more that talent that one is born with is difficult to explain in words.
“Are you saying that you can’t explain music?”
“I think you can just understand it as a synergy effect.”
“Synergy effect… I’m sure you don’t know why that synergy only comes out dramatically when performing with you, right?”
Jun Hyuk just scratched his head with an uncomfortable expression, and Lee Carlton did not ask any more questions, laughing. He is a talent who has already heard that he is Beethoven at the age of 21 and has released a song that is called a milestone in classical music.
When he was in his 20s, he enrolled at USC to receive a more systematic and deeper education. He listened to lectures like that of Christopher Pakning and fell more and more into the unfathomable world of the guitar. It is an incomparable talent in the first place.
He just thought that the more they dug into a primitive and deep place, the more he would hear things that he could not understand.
“Alright. Then shall we start again? Oh right, Jun. Did you know that the entire Monterey performance is recorded?” “Yes, I know that.”
“That’s really different from recording a classical performance. Classical is filmed from a distance through zooming, but in this case, the cameraman is on the stage and sticking his camera in your face.” “Oh, I see.”
Something he saw in performance videos – cameramen moving more busily than the performers themselves. They film not just the face, but also the fingers that guilt through the guitar neck.
“Of course they do it well enough that they don’t interfere with the performance, but it is true that you’ll pay attention to it. There are times when the camera wires and cameraman’s movement gets in the way. Just make sure you take it all in during the last rehearsal on stage.”
Jun Hyuk nodded and put his hand on the guitar strings. They started playing the 8 songs that they chose. They enjoyed the flavor of jazz with a little change each time.
There were already large outdoor stages all over Monterey Fairgrounds. Each stage has a large screen and another screen installed at a distance so that people can check the situation of any stage at any time.
With snack corners and restaurants for 1.5 million people to eat and drink for 2 nights 3 days, the concert hall was another village inside Monterey. People had already started to gather on Thursday, the day before the festival.
They found spots in front of the performances they each wanted to see and listened to audios of jazz music as they waited. Their waiting throughout the night is another free part of jazz.
Big Band started in the LA club scene and became famous throughout the U.S. enough to go on a world tour after entering Hollywood. The Monterey Jazz Festival started with their opening for the ‘Brian Setzer Orchestra’.
‘Brian Setzer Orchestra’ is the best American jazz orchestra as a regular guest at the White House, with 9 nominations at the Grammy Awards.
Emeli Sande and John Legend’s opening stage began for the 2nd performance, and prominent musicians like Jackson Browne, The Chemical Brothers, Tony Bennett and Santana, Lenny Kravitz, James Blake, and Aloe Blacc took over 8 stages to fill Monterey Fairgrounds with music.
Crowds of tens of thousands of people surged to each stage and got drunk on the music of the jazz, blues, and rock greats. Jun Hyuk was one of those people as well.
“Jun, what are you talking about! What are you going to do about the performance if something happens and you get hurt? You can meet the musicians you like. Why do you want to be in the midst of the audience…”
“Tara. Jazz and rock music is different from classical, which you listen to calmly while sitting down. It’s a festival. Half of jazz and rock music is the stage and the other half is the enthusiastic audience below. I mean that’s how you enjoy it properly.”
Tara did not hide her anxiety when Jun Hyuk was leaving the hotel early in the morning in casual clothing.
“And you should go out and have fun too. You like music. There are a lot of people in Korea who can’t come to this jazz festival even if they want to. You’re lucky compared to those people.”
Tara quickly got changed and followed Jun Hyuk out.
“Don’t even think about following me around at the venue. If that’s what you want to do, you should just rest in the hotel. It won’t be easy to find me in a place with over 1 million people.”
Even with Tara’s wrangling, Jun Hyuk wandered around the venue among countless people and cheered as another fan.
There were the occasional people who approached Jun Hyuk in disbelief to confirm his identity, but all he had to do was lightly shake his head. It is an advantage that people are unable to distinguish between faces of people of other races.
“Look here. You really aren’t? I think you are.”
“I’m telling you I’m not. If I really were that Jun, you think I’d be crazy to be here? I could be enjoying all of this backstage.”
A young man standing next to him asked him persistently.
“I’m telling you I live in New York. I’m sure I saw your face on placards and posters during the New York Philharmonic performance. I think you look too much the same to say that you just look similar because you’re both Asian.”
The man who says he is from New York, handed Jun Hyuk a can of beer and did not give up.
“Tall, thin, and curly hair. It’s the same.”
Jun Hyuk took the beer, took a sip, and wiped his mouth with his hand.
“Is every tall Asian with curly hair Jun? Say something that makes sense. Thanks for the beer, but stop. The performance is starting.”
Latin rock great, Carlos Santana’s 2007 single “Into the Light” flowed out. He stopped caring about the man’s bothersome attention.
Jun Hyuk went back to the hotel after midnight and threw his body on the bed. It is much more tiring to be part of the audience than it is to be the performing musician.