GREG HENRY WATERS NEWSLETTER
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Objective: This newsletter came out of my experiences dealing in a new culture and a new history. The purpose of the newsletter is to provoke serious thought about musical art. What is it? Where should it be going? In addition, what is going on in China? I write about my personal experiences and my thoughts about them.
This last month I have been composing music on my computer and learning about music programs for computers. You see here in China I have been forced to produce music on the computer because in Shenzhen there are not any musicians who really know my kind of music that I learned in New York City and Chicago. The musicians in HK have not invited me to work with them so I have been forced to do this if I want to continue my music study. The programs are Band in the Box, Cakewalk, Sibelius and Finale. I have been studying very hard which kept me so busy and had no time to write a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter.
Getting back to the music you see in New York City you do not need these programs to perform modern music because they have the musicians to do that. And the sound quality of real musicians is real; not phony or a make believe sound without any natural overtones like we have with computer music. But I perform live with my creations so you get some of the real effect of real music. http://greghenrywaters.com/mp3/indexmp3.html Look for music I recorded on my computer.
Anyway, I was on the internet the other day and came across the name Joe Beck whom I use to play sessions with in Yonkers, New York just outside of New York City. It is basically a blue collar town and not a town that really appreciates jazz. Well, we did this for several months and Joe was always picking on the drummer to play better because he worked with all the top drummers in jazz at one time or another and was an alumnus of one of Miles Groups. In New York you tell it like it is you do not have to shut up like in so many other countries.
So many people from HK have told me not to write these newsletters. The people from China are very interested in what I have to say. HK needs to learn a lot about China as I see it and China needs to understand you cannot change 100 years of British History in two years. Maybe in 100 years China can prove to HK they are better for HK than Hk is for HK.
This is what is great about New York people are not afraid to tell it like it is. In Mexico it is against the law to tell it like it is and you can be put in jail, fined or have to go to court if you tell it like it is. I know they did it to me when I was there what a joke that country is for modern development in my opinion. I love many people in Mexico do not get me wrong. The USA refused to accept the military from Mexico in their effort for world peace or war, whatever you want to call it, because of their lack of discipline.
I remember when I first went to New York I was told to learn this and learn that and do this and play that and go here and do that and work there. I did all that but my goal in New York City was I did not want to be a free lance performing musician I went there to learn about American Music and what it really is and compose my music from the USA whatever that is or will be. But since I was a natural born woodwind performer in so many ways I was able to earn money at it. I performed classical jobs, recitals, society jobs, Latin jobs, weddings, religious events, jazz concerts, big band concerts, small group jazz concerts, recordings, TV, produced two jazz albums, created a 13 piece jazz band based on the tradition of Lee Konitz Octet, (Lee Konitz one of my favorite saxophone players and friend) small group jazz band and free improvisation groups. I produced a two year TV series on public access TV. (60 Shows in Total) I also did hotel gigs, shows in the tri-state area, started my non-profit corporation to raise money for my musicians so I could pay them, but no one ever gave me any money except for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts and the City of New York Material’s Grant. But it was not enough to support my musicians and they were very upset with me. And my two wives were not supportive at all in fact they help put me in the hospital rather than help me do my work. A man is not a man if he cannot do his work. I thought a woman was supposed to be supportive to her husband and not want just what she wants. My illusion about women this was.
Getting back to the music, anyway, Joe was expanding his sound base with two amps and all kinds of new equipment. But he finally figured out it was not the place to use this new equipment he was working with. He went back to his basic guitar sound. But in this recording session Joe was trying to be a computer and play the harmony, solos, and bass part and have it all come out as a natural sound with overtones which produces this natural sound that we call it. The Article from the Internet
I was reading about this new sound equipment that Sony Produced and they were recording with it for the first time using Shure’s new microphones and with all this modern equipment to make the sound more natural which it did and Joe said that this was the most natural sound he has ever experienced in a recording studio. So what is my point? My point is why is Joe trying to be a computer and not just a musician like Bach was? My last newsletter I said that we can only come up to Bach’s standard not be more than what he was. Joe is one of the greatest all around jazz performers I have ever worked with and why is he doing this. He does not need too. Bach did not need too. I call this the sickness of our computer times and innovations. Modern devices can make us sick and take us away from the true issues that are facing us. In this case real music it is real music. We cannot get away from the natural laws of physics is my point.
(This is why he is not a famous guitar player, like others are, because he always stayed in New York and never got to know the general public like others in his class through their traveling with their own groups.)
So why is Joe trying to be a computer and not just trying to play music? I think it is a question of making a living. I think this is a problem all musicians face they have to make that choice. I recently gave my demo cd to a record producer and one of his singer friends said that this music was created by a musician. Did you hear those words? Who can create music? This is the problem we have in the music world today so many people are creating music that are not educated in music and are not musicians. For me most of the world of music is one big joke. This same record producer seems to think he knows more about music and musicians than I do. Modern technology has put into people’s minds ideas beliefs that are not true. You give a person a little power and they think they have the right to abuse you.
I took a composition course from a member of BMI when I was in Toronto and this is what I learned. The people behind the music business (publishing companies) are not really interested in the professional musician. They are more concerned with the novice or would be composer and do everything they can to promote the novice composer and their weak minds. I guess it is because they can prey on them and use their vanity to give them music agreements and steal everything from them.
They are not creating music they are creating more trash as my Yoga Teacher use to say. The common artist only creates trash nothing that is worth remembering. Now, I was telling my friend if this record producer produces my cd he can sell this cd any where in the world not just here in China. So much of this trash has found its way to China and the Chinese people are copying this trash. A western style woodwind album using Chinese Themes that one can sell anywhere in the world. I think this is something to talk about.
One of my Chinese friends said to me we Chinese are cleverer than you Westerners. Wow, I will never forget this statement. Who cares who is clever what has China really created? Did China create electric, the computer, the software, the automobile, the movie projector, the radio, the TV, the heating systems, the cooling systems, the modern bridges and buildings etc. I believe most of these things came out of the USA. Do I have to continue? I must say everybody here in China has only allowed me to teach English and not work in my profession.
I have had a job here in China for over seven months from the Landmark Hotel but the Chinese authorities are making it so difficult for me to get a working permit. Is this making Shenzhen an International City? I hardly think so it is keeping it in the dark ages of the past. Did you read the mayor’s words the other day in the local paper? Profound words he spoke but so far from the reality. The words that struck me the most was “we must do what we say we are going to do”. This would be nice. In my experience here I have learned not to believe very much maybe 1% of what I hear. It might take me two or three weeks to get the truth out and maybe I will never get the truth out. Who Cares anyway? It does not change my life in the long run. I have my education and experience. It is time for me to give back if people will listen and if they do not I cannot do anything about it.
My friend Dennis said I am too simple for China. I guess I am too simple for China. I am not trying to be clever or smart I just want to create music with professional people in a professional setting. I never had these kind of situations in NYC, but all places produce tribulations I had other kinds of troubles there. And I accomplished so much there but it is time to move on if I can. If I cannot I will go back there and live my life in peace knowing I tried to offer my knowledge to other countries (Mexico and China). I did not come to China to be an English teacher I came to and was invited by The Shenzhen Symphony to be here, but they have only allowed me to teach English which I refuse to do. I refused to work at True Color Bar and Habibi Restaurant because of their low artistic standards and pay. Please send your commits and opinions.
Anyway, I watched David Lettermen last night but no room to write about that show and the trumpet player who hits all those meaningless high notes. Dave loves to conduct the band with meaningless jesters. Will the world ever have respect for the gift of music that God gave us or the laws of physics. David has no idea how stupid and ignorant he is to me when he uses the music with so little respect. Even though, he was really funny last night because he was celebrating gay marriage or so it seemed. I do not know what to think about this one as long as they do not promote it to children it maybe ok. I believe children have to right to choose their sex and not be promoted by people who do not look at the opposite for sexual pleasure. Do you ever wonder why gay people are so rich? It is because they do not take responsibility to raise children. Or if I gay woman has a baby what are the Father’s rights to this baby. I have a friend who lost his children to a gay woman! It makes me sick that he lost his rights to his children. He was from Wisconsin too a very conservative state.
Greg Henry Waters
Artist of Music and Raja Yoga Master
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Greg Henry Waters
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