Volume 7 / Chapter 226
“Think of us as people who don’t exist. There won’t be any reason for us to get in your way while you perform. You bump into the camera more as you pay more attention to it.”
Jun Hyuk listened to the cameraman’s friendly explanation as he went into sound check with the other 2 musicians. A lot of people were already gathered below the stage, holding up their phones and recording the musicians they love.
“Look here! Jun! Jun! Hey, Maestro! Do you remember me? I gave you a beer yesterday.
You’re the person I watched the Santana performance with yesterday, right?”
Someone was yelling from the bottom of the audience at the guard line as security held him back. Jun Hyuk turned at mention of a beer and saw the young man who had given him a beer yesterday.
“Ha ha. I’ve gotten caught. Thanks for the beer yesterday.”
The man frowned once Jun Hyuk confirmed for him who he is. It is a pity that he lost the chance to get a signature and take a picture together.
Jun Hyuk put his guitar down and took off the t-shirt he was wearing. He signed his name in big letters on the shirt and gave it to a security guard below, saying,
“This isn’t a lot, but it’s for the beer. I don’t know if it’s okay because it’s not an expensive shirt.”
The young man took the shirt from Jun Hyuk and howled.
“And look closely. I’m not that skinny.”
He flexed his bare body, but the man just laughed at him. The young man who got Jun Hyuk’s shirt, took his shirt off and threw it to Jun Hyuk. Jun Hyuk saw the man’s body and quickly put the shirt on. He had just confirmed that he is skinny again.
After laughing for a while, he went into rehearsal for 3 songs. They practiced enough and jazz does not always follow the flow of rehearsals, so it was fine to do just 3 songs.
Jun Hyuk returned backstage and drank the water that Tara handed him.
“Jun. You look really comfortable today. You feel really different.”
“I need to enjoy the festival. Today’s goal is to make people have fun, not to present completed music.”
Stanley Clarke was listening to Tara and Jun Hyuk’s conversation when he laughed as he spoke,
“I’m really nervous, but you’re really relaxed.”
“Stanley, why are you nervous? You’ve done a lot of performances like this.”
“Oh… Well… I’m always nervous when faced with a stage.”
Stanley Clarke was taken aback and gave an evasive answer. When his face even flushed a little, Jun Hyuk had a strange thought.
Is he worrying that he might bring out improv that they had not practiced during rehearsals?
“We are starting in 10 minutes. Everyone, please get ready.”
He did not continue his thoughts because of the staff member’s loud voice. The 3 performers waved their hands as they walked out on stage.
When they walked out, loud cheering shook the stage. Stage 1 is the biggest stage, so it had the largest number of spectators. It seemed that there were easily over 20,000 people standing so close together.
His hand trembled as he looked down at the endless amount of people rippling in a crowd. It was a different experience to feel the pressure of a tremendous number of people through his body.
“What do you think? Incredible, huh? You’ll automatically relax once you start playing.
Lee Carlton laughed as he patted Jun Hyuk’s shoulder and walked by. Then Stanley Clarke came.
“The first song is a gift from us, so we hope you like it.”
Stanley Clarke turned away without even listening to Jun Hyuk, and the bass guitar started ringing without any signal. It is a rhythm he never heard during rehearsals. What song are they going to play?
Jun Hyuk had no choice but to put his hand on his guitar and wait for a signal.
But as soon as he heard Lee Carlton’s guitar, he was taken aback and his eyes grew wide.
His guitar melody is one that Jun Hyuk is very familiar with – his own song. The first song “Ah” of “A, E, I, O, U” is flowing out of the large speakers, filling the large venue.
The rhythm and speed was a little different and with Stanley Clarke’s bass, it became a complete guitar song and hit Jun Hyuk’s ears. A short while later, a light snare drum and high hat cymbal joined and it became jazz.
That is when Jun Hyuk laughed, loosened his fingers, and enjoyed the amazing gift of his music.
The audience was surprised because it is overly elegant for jazz performance, but everyone’s shoulders started moving once the drum’s light rhythm came in.
When did they arrange and practice this song? When Jun Hyuk imagined the two elderly gentlemen sleeping less and practicing in secret in order to surprise him, he found it funny and touching. He could also understand why Stanley Clarke had been nervous backstage.
Their arrangement was great. The light rhythm, appropriate tempo, and dramatic melody brought the audience’s spirits up. He could dimly hear the sound of Stanley and Lee giggling.
“How many days did you practice this?”
“Why? Don’t you like it? We had a pretty rough time of arranging this.”
“Let’s do the evaluation after the performance. Tens of thousands of fans are waiting.”
Jun Hyuk laughed at Lee Carlton and then started picking out the melody of the first song on his guitar. The first verse of ‘Room 335’ came out through the large amps, but the roaring sound of the audience cheering swallowed the sound of Jun Hyuk’s guitar.
Once they performed Lee Carlton’s famous Room 335 and Early A.M. Attitude, 20 minutes had quickly gone by. They continued with varying music, keeping the time as they had promised and practiced.
While Lee Carlton showed an overall tight performance, Jun Hyuk showed the effect of contrast with a very fast and passionate performance. Stanley Clarke’s bass fingering, which at times feels cold, worked like a gear with the drums without a single error.
Lee Carlton’s solo in the typical ballad style brought a cool feeling and Jun Hyuk’s languid and lazy guitar melody made small veins quiver.
The next song was lively to break people out of their relaxed states. The dull and dark atmosphere characteristic of jazz was nowhere to be found. With the two guitarists’ jumping melody and the bass’ heavy and cold rhythm. The drums even show a sturdy configuration without any mistakes.
When Lee Carlton started to repeat the rock music’s guitar riff he likes to use, Jun Hyuk started a melody that led with a long breath. If Lee Carlton showed masculinity with precise and strong intervals, Jun Hyuk’s guitar was bringing out a sad melody like Laura’s aria.
White, black, and Asian. Entirely different emotions flowed through the 3 people’s DNA, but it is true that there is no race or ethnicity in music. The different emotions of the 3 people fused well through music and brought out the best chemical reaction. That surprising result brought in more people of Fairgrounds. As the performance went on, people kept gathering to Stage 1.
Countless spectators were in a frenzy over the one power penetrating the entire performance. 2 guitars and 1 bass play in breathtaking ad lib as through fighting each other, and that melody is the essence of jazz and the power that made the people’s blood boil.
A single jazz album. And that was with the piano and not the guitar. Jun Hyuk disappeared into the classical world with a symphony after that, but this performance showed his abilities as a guitarist.
With this, it was a precious moment for jazz manias to have discovered another outstanding guitarist.
“Today was comparatively okay, right? I didn’t even do anything ungainly like being narcissistic and getting lost in my own music.”
Jun Hyuk changed out of his sweat-drenched shirt backstage and was satisfied with his moderated performance.
“Today’s show was good. The performance was amazing, too. But it was music with a lot of regrets. Don’t you think so?”
Stanley Clarke spoke to Lee Carlton and not Jun Hyuk, who is satisfied with the show.
“I still have a fresh memory of my first time performing with Jun, so of course I’m left with a lot of regrets. If it hadn’t been a stage where we had to show a variety of songs, I really would have performed however I wanted to.”
While the managers packed up the instruments, the 2 men smoked cigarettes and discussed their regrets regarding the music. Jun Hyuk watched them and put down the water he was drinking.
“Then shall we have a festival of our own? It’ll be cozy.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“Let’s go back to the studio and play however we want to like we did last time. Without restrictions on time or song configuration. What do you think?”
The 2 men’s eyes sparked at Jun Hyuk’s proposal. They each rushed their managers. The managers quickly packed the guitars and ran to get the cars ready.
“Tara. I’m going to stop by the studio first, so you go rest at the hotel. I’ll call you when we’re done.”
“Alright. I’ll finish up preparations to go back to New York tomorrow, so have fun.” When Jun Hyuk got into Lee Carlton’s car, Lee Carlton took his cellphone out.
“Jun. I don’t know what’ll happen, so I’m going to record everything. Okay?”
“Yes, of course. I want to keep the time I spend with the two of you as well.”
Lee Carlton called the studio on his phone. He told them to set everything up perfectly to record multiple times.
The 3 people arrived at the studio and were more excited as they set up their guitars and amps than they had been during the show. This is a secret show that they are doing for themselves and not for others.
“It was incredible when you performed my song <A> during the show. I can’t forget it so… what do you think about trying that?”
“That’d be great.”
“Did you by chance hear the rest?”
“Of course. We heard all of it.”
The 2 men sent the okay signal with their fingers.
“Then I’ll start with those 5 songs as the theme. Come in when you feel it’s right. I’ll mix all 5 of the songs, so let’s run with it all we want.”
The 2 greats saw that Jun Hyuk was excited like a child and were nervous at the words that they can run with it. They first worried if they could keep up with him if he went along as he pleased.
Lee Carlton turned and spoke to the sound engineer,
“Jimmy. Press the record button now and go rest. Don’t come back into the studio until I contact you.”
Once the engineer left, the 3 people started bringing out music to the drummer’s signal.
Jun Hyuk finally came out of the studio after almost 3 hours. Tara had been waiting for his call and had to start by giving his hands an ice massage when he got in the limousine. He kept blowing his fingertips as though he had gotten injured.
“Tara. Do you know how old those two men are?”
“I’m not sure. Aren’t they both over 60?”
“They have 130 years between the two of them. But we only took 1 break in 3 hours. And that was because of me.” “What?”
“It’s been a while since I’ve played the guitar, so I felt like my fingers were going to rip.
For old men who drink a lot, their stamina is no joke.”
“Did you really not take a break for 3 hours? Just once?”
3 hours is like an opera. Forget the music, that time needs to be supported by stamina.
“Yeah. I honestly think it was because of me. My fingertips still tingle.”
“How was the session? Was it okay?”
Jun Hyuk took off the towel wrapped around his hands and put his thumbs up.
“Tell the company that those two men are thinking of releasing an album no matter what.”
Tara counted off on her fingers,
“New York Philharmonic performance, Laura’s album, the session you just did, and the Seoul performance. How many is that? Aren’t you overdoing it this year?”
“There will probably be 1 more.”
“What? What do you mean another one?”
“There’s something. You can expect something good.” Jun Hyuk smiled secretively at Tara.