Volume 7 / Chapter 228
Sponsored: Sudarsan L. & James W.
President Stern was reading articles about Monterey Jazz Festival in the car to Jun Hyuk’s apartment and frowned. Ibrahim Maalouf’s bass performance was selected of the 2 night 3 day show.
All of the reviews said that he showed his genius and artistic talent with performances that were not just romantic and delicate, but also ingenious.
Trumpet performer Ibrahim Maalouf is popular for creating unique music by mixing Arab and electronic music with jazz. He is gaining more fame at the moment because of his soundtrack for the movie <Yves Saint Laurent>.
It is not that there are no articles regarding Jun Hyuk. But they were mostly plain articles.
<The maestro with the guitar in his hands instead of a baton.>
<A relaxed yet predictable performance that seemed to make jazz into classical.> <The guitarist who contained his own energy to play many songs.>
‘It is difficult to handle falling a little short if your expectations are too high.’
President Stern folded the paper he was reading. He could tell what kind of performance Jun Hyuk gave just from reading the articles. The First, the album where he played with Stanley Clarke nonstop for an hour.
Because of The First, critics will have expected an endless spirit of jazz from Jun Hyuk’s guitar, but they just got a reproduction of Lee Carlton and Stanley Clarke’s hit songs.
This difference will have brought disappointment to critics and die hard jazz fans, and pleasure to people enjoying the festival.
Critics and jazz fans will be enthusiastic about another of Jun Hyuk’s performances anyway.
President Stern heard the file that Lee Carlton’s exclusive record label sent over. Jun Hyuk’s true Monterey Jazz Festival performance is in this 3 hour file.
The first 20 minutes contains the 3 people talking and laughing, and then 1 hour is Jun Hyuk leading the session. They discussed a new style while resting for 30 minutes, and the following performance was Lee Carlton and Stanley Clarke going back and forth as though in conversation with Jun Hyuk’s guitar presenting themes.
Lee Carlton’s record label wanted to edit just the performance parts to create 2 albums, but President Stern’s thoughts were different.
Their conversations are another part of jazz. He cannot find a reason to go out of their way and omit these gem-like opinions on jazz, music, and performing. He wants to reveal the entire thing as long as Lee Carlton and Stanley Clarke are okay with it.
As soon President Stern walked into the apartment, Jun Hyuk held a score out to him.
“Isaac. This is the score I’m going to use for the show in Seoul. It’s the arranged score with orchestration, so you can give it to Seoul Symphony. This is the score for the piano concerto.
“Piano Concerto? What is this? You wrote a new song?”
“No. I arranged AEIOU into a piano song. Oh, just make sure that Amelia plays the premiere.”
“Is this a gift for your girlfriend? Ha ha. Fine. I’ll hang on to this… Oh right. It’s okay if you conduct, right?”
“Of course. It’ll become a better gift if I conduct. But is it the New York Philharmonic again?”
“No. The New York Philharmonic has a full schedule through the end of the year. Don’t worry, I’ll check Amelia’s schedule and look into it separately.” Isaac Stern gave Jun Hyuk a CD.
“More importantly, listen to this.”
“What is this?”
“It’s what the singer who will be performing at the show in Seoul sent over. He wrote the lyrics himself, too.”
“Who is it?”
“You’ll know when you listen to it.”
When Jun Hyuk turned the CD on, a song from his 1st album – already a thing of the past – came out with an acoustic guitar accompaniment and a man’s rough voice.
“Alvin Lee? Is this really Alvin Lee?”
Jun Hyuk yelled in surprise as soon as he heard the voice on the CD. President Stern laughed without saying anything and only nodded. He put his finger on his lips and signaled to Jun Hyuk to listen to the end.
Alvin Lee’s lyrics are completely different from those of the original song. Yoon Jung Su’s lyrics contained each day of Jun Hyuk’s daily life spent in the cafe. But Alvin Lee’s lyrics are about life. It is a succession of anxiety, washed over in rough waves, but has the meaning that there is reason and value to go on living “even so”.
The CD track ended and President Stern turned to Jun Hyuk,
“What do you think? Do you like it?”
“This man is really impressive.”
Jun Hyuk was already standing up in excitement, pacing the living room.
“What are you talking about? I asked if you like it?”
“He tried to sing without touching the original song at all, even though his vocal color is so different from that of the original singer’s. His ability to control emotion while controlling the tone of his voice is outstanding. He really… is the embodiment of a legend.”
President Stern’s prediction had been on point. Jun Hyuk does not seem to care about the lyric’s message. When President Stern first listened to the CD, he thought of when Alvin Lee said that he is not Yates. He is not a top poet like Yates, but the lyrics are thoughtful with his reconsiderations on life.
However, Jun Hyuk is lost in Alvin Lee’s voice and tone. Isaac laughed.
“Jun. You’re really strange.”
“You don’t care much about the lyrics even though lyrics have incredible power in pop music.”
Jun Hyuk calmed down bashfully.
“There’s nothing to do about it. You need to enjoy lyrics, but I can’t do that. They don’t get relayed as words and sentences but as sounds.”
This aspect of Jun Hyuk is an advantage that he can catch music precisely, but also a disadvantage that he will never be able to write lyrics. This also means that President Stern needs to keep looking for lyricists who can create lyrics that fit with Jun Hyuk’s music.
“There’s another strange thing.”
“He he. What’s so strange?”
“Your expression and attitude towards classical and pop music. It almost looks like you love rock, jazz, and the blues more than you do classical.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. I love all of them. It’s just that the happiness I feel with each is different.”
As an average person, President Stern will never know what happiness Jun Hyuk is talking about, so all he could do was shrug.
“Who decided to take on the bass and drums?”
“They’re both people you know. The bass is Colin and the Korean drummer from the 1st album is on the drums.”
Jun Hyuk’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Yeah. It worked out for his schedule too. Why? Don’t you like it?”
“No, it’s not that. I know Colin’s bass well.”
“Then that’s sealed. Does this mean that Jun’s first band has been formed? Ha ha.”
The part that President Stern is looking forward to most for the show in Korea is not the orchestra and piano’s joint performance, but the band. What will the combination of Alvin Lee’s voice and Jun Hyuk’s guitar be like? It is a combination where anticipation is inevitable.
“Alright, now decide where the band rehearsals will be. Here in New York? Or LA? Or… do you want to just go abroad and have fun while you practice?”
“Isaac, will you be there too when we do rehearsals?”
“I’m sure it’ll be different by the location. I’ll go along if it’s abroad.”
President Stern did not hide the excited expression of someone preparing to travel, and Jun Hyuk smirked.
“Since the drummer needs to come from Korea anyway, I guess somewhere in the middle like Hawaii wouldn’t be bad.”
“Okay. Then let’s say Hawaii and I’ll prepare it.”
“Yes. I sent a plane ticket too. We leave in 3 days.”
He is holding the plane ticket to Hawaii in his hand, but he feels like it is a dream and not reality.
Kyung Min Ho, who was the drummer of the band Steel Blade, had also thought that it was a dream when he found out that he had been chosen as the drummer for Jun Hyuk’s Seoul show. But all the way to Hawaii just for rehearsals? This really does feel like a dream.
Kyung Min Ho left the band after he and Jun Hyuk were done with the audition program. He needed to be a little more selfish for his future. If he stayed in Steel Blade, which Jun Hyuk had said was not progressive, he would be done in music.
He looked for a new band, but that was not easy either. Thankfully, there was no end to places looking for him because they saw how he played the drums on the audition program.
Many studios called requesting drum sessions.
He participated in various types of music, from girl group dance songs to movie soundtracks, and did not stop practicing. Then this amazing opportunity with Jun Hyuk had come to him.