Ray Parker Wrote:

Composing is the only way to create music?

Performers are devices of the composer?

Ella was nothing without a pianist?

Is a composer also nothing without a performer, a performer without a listener? A tree falling in the woods silent without audience? Is the symbiosis between composer, performer and listener an accidental side effect of true music, which is only instrumental and only performed by the composer?

Is melody interpretation an art, or simply a paint-by-the-numbers exercise? Is improvisation also composition, or just wanting?

A pretty interesting position that you have there.

Ray Parker

Hello Ray from Greg

To say one person is more important than the other is not very nice.

But there has to be a leader and the question is who is the leader?  The performer or the composer?

The composers have created the format the problem is what is art and what is just copying other's music.

Yes, just for me at least most of it is just copy cat music now a days everybody talks about monk, Ella, etc, but they never talk about themselves.

Even the Vanguard Band still promotes the names of Jones and Lewis.  I think by now they are on their own with their own music and identity.  I think the people who spoil music the most are the managers, record producers and business people.  They could careless about music as an art form.

Look what they are doing to Diana Krall a very talented jazz musician they are turning into a sex goddess and singer not a musician.  For me it is the mentality of the sick music industry and their sick ways. Fu'em as they say.  I just hope FatCats has a chance to be a really great place and I hope they do not do a Diane Krall.  I mean take music and turn it into a sex symbol or pop star.  Remember that the Vanguard had entertainment, a restaurant, comedy, poetry, but ended up in jazz music and created some great records and musicians and now has a great tradition. 

I would hope FatCats would care more about music if they can and not worry so much about whatever they worry about.  Noah has done a fine job so far with the computers and opening up the room and his ideas.  I talked with him several times and he is a very interesting guy and loves chess.  I hope they have a chess tournament. I just hope it can be a place that will allow real musicians be creative and not just demand crowd pleaser's as they say. Noah also studied music so that is a plus for the musicians even though his real joy is inventing. 

I went to Smith's bar at 44rth Street last night and talked with some music friends and all they could talk about is how music has changed and Paul Whiteman said, "When the singers take over the music business the music is going to become junk"  Because singers are not musicians nor do they create the music.

When I did the Mel Torme Show he was asking me what was wrong with one of his arrangements.  I told him what I thought and he accepted it.  Out of all the singers I worked for he was the only one that wrote most of his own charts.  But he could not sing like Ella but pretty dam close that is for sure or equally as well.

My point is how can we bring music, or instrumental music, back into music?  I think it is almost impossible really.  But with Smalls and FatCats going into the tradition of the Vanguard maybe we can bring a little music back into music I do not know.

Look what is going on a Radio City and the musicians, my musicians friends last night were sick too and thought this job was going to the tape recorder too and the dancers and stage hands are not supporting them.  So now what another place where musicians can work is going down the toilet.  Well, I hope the business people go down the toilet they deserve it more than anybody.  So there! Ha ha ha I know our country is going down the toilet because of our selfish leaders and their supreme ignorance an arrogance

But the musicians are afraid to bring music back into music because they might lose their jobs so it is a real problem.  I was hoping Mitch would be more interested in creating something bigger than what Max Gordon did with the Vanguard but who knows.  We must take race out of music and concentrate on the music, but man is weak, have many big egos and the fight for survival doesn't make it easy.  But there are millions of dollars out there the problems is how to get at some of it.

I ran into John Riley at Smalls the other night and he wanted me to put my 10 piece band together that we had 20 years ago.  I told him I sent the music to the North Texas Library and did not have a copy.  After 20 years he still remembers playing my music and he is the Vanguard drummer now for 15 years.  So I was very happy to hear this but how to get the music and create a band again is the problem.

I tried to put a band together at FatCats but the musicians didn't want to work on it enough for me so we had that creative conflict.  John wants to help me put a band together so we will see.

Anyway, many years ago I wrote an article called the Dark Age of Music you can read it on my website. http://greghenrywaters.com/daom.html maybe you might find this interesting and we can have more of a conversation about music and musical art not entertainment.

I have a new theory! I think people get drunk to deaden the stupidity in life, after watching my friends drink beer for 6 hours.  Nothing matters anymore after so many drinks the drinks become the hero not life itself.

Thanks for writing me I appreciate it! I hope we can continue to have this discussion.

Greg Henry Waters.