The Bill Whited Big Band is the topic
of this Newsletter, February 2006. Bill has been a New York arranger,
and band leader for 30 years or more here in New York City.
We live under the assumption here in
this country if you work very hard, become educated, you will be
make a lot of money for yourself. But in
jazz I do not think this is true.
Because art is such a subjected thing it is not like a doctor
passes a medical test and becomes a doctor.
In jazz there is so much racism where people think only African
Americans play jazz. What is an African
American may I ask? This is a stupid
question I know, but interesting thought anyway.
Well let me tell you there are many many
wonderful White Jazz Musicians as good as or better than a lot of
African American Jazz Musicians.
But you bring up this subject to a black person and they will
repeat the same thing over and over again.
Even at local 802 at the musicians union the pictures in the
hall are all black musicians. I ask,
what is going on here what happen to people like, Benny Goodman, Stan
the first jazz educator and the first big band jazz art orchestral
ever hear his House of Glass, plus his music with Johnny
their Latin American Big Band Jazz, Stan was one of the first jazz
North Texas too, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Les Brown, Billy
Buddy Rich the most powerful big
band drummer ever in jazz. Anyway, it
makes me sick that this is going on in jazz and no one says anything. I
Luther King would not approve of what
is going on in the Black Jazz Community and the attitudes and voices of
but he is not here to tell his story now is he.
Well, I just got back from China last
year and starting fresh in New
York and checking out the scene
and seeing what
is going on and Bill Whited is (still) what is going on.
(Bill has been rehearsing his band and music
for over 25 years). Bill is a very quiet and gentle man only interested
writing and composing good arrangements for his band in the style of
jazz; including all the basic concepts that Bill Holman, Manny Album and Bill Potts
created in their music. Bill has a musical
love affair with the
popular standards of Kern, Rogers and all the others in this group.
gentle and smooth arrangement with always a sense of swing and he has
some of New York’s best ‘white’ jazz musicians, like Bobby
Porcelli, Alto Saxophone Soloist, John Ackert, Trumpet Soloist and
Perry, Tenor Saxophone Soloist. You see
the soloists are what enhances the big band jazz band exciting; for
excellent jazz soloist not much is happening in a true big band jazz
The big band is probably the greatest
musical gift the musicians have given to our country.
The bands came out of brass bands, concert
bands and dance hall bands. And all
these bands and music came from Europe not Africa I might ad. It took about 40 or 50 years to come up with the
combination of Trumpets, Trombones, Saxophones and Rhythm Section,
Guitar, String Bass) and Trap Set.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not trying to take anything
the African American Jazz Musician. I only bring this up
because this is what is
happening in 2006 in our community. For me they are being so hateful
the white jazz musician. I do not know
why, even Bill Evans was so miss treated in Mile’s band when he was
This has been going on for a long time.
Race is not a part of musical art in
Well, Bill Whited is one of those
quiet people who will not yell out I deserve to be known and respected. He just rehearses his band and has a lot of
the top New York
musicians in it. They come and rehearse
out of the respect for the music and Bill.
What I really respect about Bill is that he is not asking
compose for him and arrange, it is not a ghost band like we have. Bill’s Band is not a ghost band it is the
real thing with the real leader there.
Well, for me it is so sad that some people like Bill do not get
to be heard and respected like he should.
This is all I am saying.
I asked Bill, what is your band? What
is important to you in your band? He said,
“Just want to swing and have
fun.” Now do you hear I want to be
famous, I am great, or I have the best band in the world?
No you do not! You just hear, “I
want to play the best
swinging big band music I can.”
Bill writes the traditional format of
3 to 5 minute gems as I call them. You
know, I first had a classical background and then later because an
jazz musician when I hit about thirty and culminated when I came to New York. (Bill
Evans could play all the Beethoven Sonatas by the way.) So I always
terms of a 10 to 20 minute compositions and is the standard of a
music, but if one adds up all the 3 to 5 minutes pieces you can get up
hours of music or more so what is one really to think?
So, my point is that when I was listening to
Bill’s arrangements a few days ago it was really hard to grasps
at once, the style, the timber, the swing, the solos, the background
the feel, timber or sound of the complete band, the swing feel and
section complimenting the figures and rhythms in the arrangement. I wanted to hear the arrangement twice so I
could better listen to the music and understand the nuances of the
You see I believe to hear a real
piece of music you have to listen to it more than one time and get to
it. This is what payola is on the pop
stations. If they can get the public to
hear a song over and over again the public will want to buy it. So the record companies pay off the radio
stations to play the new releases. Big
Band Jazz or any other form of music is the same one has to listen to
it a few
times before one gets the true essence of the music.
Well, the big bands are being kept
alive at this site; www.bigbandjazz.net They have maybe 30 new albums there you can
Big Band Jazz the most important new
orchestral form of music in our nation. Well, we look forward to
Band on a CD. He certainly deserves the
attention more than so many others. Help support Big Band Jazz the most
important musical organization form that the USA
musicians has created.
Sincerely, Greg Henry Waters
The topics of this Newsletter came up during
hour rehearsal at local 802 rehearsal hall.
It comes about from the conversations with the musicians and
met there the first Wednesday of February.
I really hate to be negative.
with what all is going on in the world today it is a wonder that it is
We all live in our own time
capsule and now the music of our present day popular musicians have no
for me because there isn’t any harmony or melody or orchestration it is
speaking out words and making a beat.
know now that I am getting older even my music is not the popular music
today but is set in a specific time period of harmony, rhythm and
orchestration. Jazz is living in some kind of time capsule with for me
of complete illusion of what is art and what is music.
I am only repeating what others are
I hope I have risen above common
humanity and am maybe a visionary that can sort out the hurt, greed,
music, racism that Dr. King tried so hard to relieve.
lost his battle for his people for they did not listen to him
If you listen to the radio classical
or jazz music it is all music of the past nothing real of our time just
of what the past was. “We live in a time
of wars and computers not a time of musical art.” Greg Henry Waters
“Man's future emanates from his human and
condition. Man's destiny, every single future life
nothing but a mirror reflection of his inner state; for, whatsoever a
that he shall get, for there is no injustice within a universe of law.”
is nothing but the inner world of the
composer and performer!
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