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Objective:  This newsletter came out of my experiences dealing in a new culture and a new history plus my experiences in the USA and Canada. 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. My music is here.  Am I really who I say I am.  The proof is here just listening. 50 Songs to listen to!


Music News


Creative Music Productions Inc. (since 1977 in New York City) lost one of its co-founders on March 11, 2004.  (62) Paul Litrenta, trumpet performer and arranger for top bands and show acts.  Paul was Vice President of CMP and a good friend and supporter of culture.  His parents were from Italy, but Paul came to be a complete American.  He only liked people for what they were not for who their friends were or what cultural background they came from.  He disliked the Italian American mentality that was so prevalent in New York City.  He had Italian friends, Jewish friends, Latin friends, African American friends and friends like me from the mid-west, White Americans (I am 3/4 German born in Milwaukee).  New York is a city divided by many cultures and not always supportive of one another is my point. He was a person of character and culture.  It is too bad that we have so few people with this level of character in our world.  He did not drink or smoke.  He always wanted to look good and be the best trumpet player he could be.  I composed a Suite of Songs for Paul and recorded them in my apartment here in Shenzhen today.  You can read more about his musical life here.  If you would like to donate some money to Paul's work go here.


Paul worked on the TV Show, The Jazz Chamber Orchestra and the Latin Jazz Ensemble in New York. We were hoping that a network would pick up our show about music.  Since it was not market driven the networks 'keep their head in the dirt'.  Now that Springer and Stern are off the air maybe the networks will understand that smut is smut and quality programming is not always market driven and will draw interest.  Art sells if people will give it a chance. They produce a few Sunday morning programs because they have to by law for public interest.  But since they were about entertainment I did not like that much.  What is sad here is that China is becoming market driven even more than the States I think.


What can we say about a man who has worked so hard to live a good life and fell so short in so many ways because of the changes in society he had no control over.  We can only love him and send him off with the best possible tribute one can.  Please light a candle for Paul and his loved ones.  Thanks so much, Greg Henry Waters.



Culture:  This is the topic here in Shenzhen for the Cultural Bureau and Government.  They want to create an international culture here.  Well, I can only give suggestions what culture is.  Let me define it for you.  In the first place culture is not market driven.  Culture is quality driven however, here in Shenzhen that is not the case.  It is only market driven so that is why there is not or very little culture here.   I think!  So what do we do? Real art is not about status symbols but about art.  This is funny really when you think about it.  Is art important?  Does it have any real meaning?


Do People know what art is?  Am I fooling myself about art?  Is it just vanity?  Is art just about making money?  Is it different?  Is it better?  Who decides what is? 


To be an artist in the line of history is hard work and takes much knowledge. It took me 30 or more years to be a top jazz musician.  This to me is not a music that is easy to learn.  So it is quality driven, jazz music.  It you want a jazz musician in Shenzhen you have to import one from Hong Kong, or other place.  This is the 'Catch 22' (paradox) in China's. It seems the people enjoy jazz but they do not have any jazz programs here except maybe in the two biggest cities.  Let get on to culture and try to define it.

cul·ture (k¾l"chr) n. 1.a. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. b. These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population. c. These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression. 2. Intellectual and artistic activity, and the works produced by it. 3.a. Development of the intellect through training or education. b. Enlightenment resulting from such training or education. 4. A high degree of taste and refinement formed by aesthetic and intellectual training. 5. Special training and development.

We can learn so much from the dictionary if we look.  Now, if Shenzhen wants to grow as a culture I suggest the study of the word and what it really means.  I was talking to an art's management consultant this week and the word culture had very little meaning to her.  It was only about market value and profit.  It had nothing to do with real quality. Or, they give the work to the most qualified person.  As I saw it no basic respect for talent or ability which is really something basically wrong with society.   If they could fool the public and make a good profit that was most important from my observation of it.


Let us go to the word culture and look at the definition 1. Socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions and other products of human work and thought.  Wow, is not that a nice definition of Culture. 


Here are the definitions that separate pop culture from real culture.  I hope you can read them and put this into your thought process.


 2. Intellectual and artistic activity, and the works produced by it. 3. a. Development of the intellect through training or education. b. Enlightenment resulting from such training or education. 4. A high degree of taste and refinement formed by aesthetic and intellectual training. 5. Special training and development.


A high degree of taste and refinement.  Now Rock’n roll in many cases does not have a high degree of refinement unless maybe if you are listening to Bob Dylan.  Most Rock’n roll artists walk around like they have no clothes on and are having sex with themselves or someone in the audience.  Not a high degree of taste or refinement as I see it.  Of course I could be wrong and please prove me wrong if I am.  I have never seen a jazz musician act in this manner.  Usually they are quiet and aloof people if anything.  Not people walking around like the Rolling Stones do.  In fact to my knowledge it means just the opposite.


So if Shenzhen wants to develop a real culture.  I suggest reading the definition what culture is and not rely on market driven culture.  A theme park to me is not culture but entertainment.  They may have a few cultural events inside the park, but is that culture I do not know really!  Do you?  The Hotel Industry certainly doesn't know what culture is because they are completely market driven.  Long legs and sexy girls are what sell in international hotels from what I see.  I know the 5 star hotels are trying to change that; however one has to change the mangers to do that really with their new up grading policy from the rating system within the industry.  Here in China they have to let qualified people work here and not just anybody like they do in Acapulco.  Can someone answer me on this one and give an opinion.


I would like to say a few words about China's Pop Culture.  For me China's Pop Culture is pure Rock'n Roll because it places limits on the performing behavior of the musicians.  This is exactly what Rock’n roll is.  So for me all of China's Pop Culture is Rock’n Roll.  You figure it out I cannot.  Pop Music is a formula music which demands that the musicians perform in a certain style. (Harmony, rhythm, tempo, range of the melody, and sound quality)  Broadway in New York does the same thing.  It is the universal commercial attitude of record companies and the public. Such is the nature of society and its rules.  I must say every once in a while I hear a very pretty lovely Chinese Pop Song.  But most of the time they are just repetitions of others songs.


So if you are in a position of cultural development here in Shenzhen and China I hope you will bring these observations to the attention of the people who count.  Let China build a better modern culture than what the USA did and keep their good traditions that meet the definition of culture that we found in the dictionary. I hope the States can do better too.  In my opinion they really need to think about this subject too.  OK This is my hope and the hope of many others I believe. Life in truth is not a competition but a sharing of ideas, materials, land, hopes and dreams.


This is enough for this letter.  If you made it this far in your reading I thank you.


Greg Henry Waters

Artist of Music and Raja Yoga Master



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