Day III: Memphis – KC
I spent the morning struggling to decide whether I should visit the Sun Records or the Lorraine Hotel. Do I care if I visited where Elvis recorded? Not really. Therefore I just passed by Sun Records and went straight to Lorraine Hotel.
The power of visiting historical landmarks were not the idea of having been there and can stamp on my travel passport. Being at where history happens and imagining what happened, how everything fell into place, and how everyone reacted to the history were the powerful reflection that will last for life. Just like visiting Ferguson and saw all the memorabilia, it reminds us that history happened and we should remember the lesson.
Well, before people learned that, there are many reasons for everyone to go to the civil rights museum. The museum has a rich exhibition that needs a lot of time to absorb. Unfortunately I did not have much time to fully absorb. Fortunately, however, I have encountered many great teachers that informed me a lot of the things that happened. And I will never forget the photos of the Little Rock Nine being rejected. Standing behind the corner where Dr. King was assassinated was too haunting and powerful. That happened too suddenly, and so brutally. Yet, that evidence and the blood would forever be present. Nowadays, the injustice and violence is so virtual, and so hidden in so many minds.
Passing through Arkansas was quite an experience, there were so many hills and windy roads. I was constantly scared that my car would be out of control. Seeing the sign of entering Missouri was such an emotional experience. I almost felt like I returned home, though I barely worked in KCMO for a year. As I approached Kansas City my heart was just bursting for joy so wildly. I think I was almost insane as I smiled so much seeing places that looked familiar to me. Seeing KC downtown was such a heart-warming feeling. When I drove by Overland Park, yes the traffic was still quite a mess, but it felt familiar, it wasn’t like I did not know how to deal with it like everywhere else.
It was already 7 something when I headed for dinner, and of course I went to a place for KC Barbeque. Woodyard BBQ was amazing. The burnt ends was definitely the best I have ever had. Then I went back to the two jazz clubs that I used to go. I started with the Ship as they have an organ combo beginning at 8, though it took them forever to be ready. Then I headed to the Green Lady and heard the organ trio that I never liked. However, this night they killed it, and the organist sounded like nothing I remembered. Wow, I’m really depleted with good jazz. The KC groove is very different from the other two places. It is straight but laid back. There are also more variants on the roles of percussion. There was also more emphasis on melodic playing on guitar solo.
In winter ’16 I visited Matt, and I intentionally returned to Green Lady in one of the nights, kind of reminisced some of the first days I visited that place. That was rough. I was so full of emotions and I couldn’t control my tears. However, for this time, I was so happy and excited to be back to the places that I had been and see great musicians in action. Yes there were a lot of memories that floated from my deep memory, but they transformed to something bittersweet. I think that means I have grown? There are still a lot of questions unanswered and I still would like to know what exactly happened. But does it really matter? I now can enjoy the music on my own and I have much deeper appreciation to the jazz musicians on the things they do. It seems like I can move forward with confidence. The fact, I was so happy to be able to groove again.