Message Board Conversation that got out of hand with so many messages.  Who is the best player?  I say who cares?

What about music is my point?  I hope you can get something from this.  Greg Henry Waters

The best:
The worst:

I think the group effort is what is important.

I think Ron Carter made the bass a solo instrument and now there is no group effort now.

It is all about showing off not playing music.

What ever happened to playing music together.  The big band error was the best example of playing together.

Piano players and bass players what a problem?

Who is the best.  Who can play together is the question for me.

Not too many people can play together creatively.


You can download my music from my website if you want.

Just do not sell it!
Ok Greg


Woody: Well, since I have been in China and finding no real jazz musicians here except young ones I decided to have a go at computer music.  

Now what do you think about computer generated bass playing.



I tell you at least the computer doesn't argue with me about the tempo or the chord changes.
Greg, a lot would depend on your gear. Some bass synths sound exactly like that - a synthesizer. To me, that's almost as much of a turnoff as drum programs.

But two years ago, Tom Schuman (keyboardist with Spyro Gyra) released a solo album called Into Your Heart, using some heavy duty software. His bass not only sounds close to the real thing, but it's even played the way a bass player would play it - twangs and all, which you don't normally get from a program.
If you haven't heard it, check out these tracks: Portrait of My Father and Past Stories, the latter being a tribute to Jaco Pastorius.
If you can make your bass synths sound like his, you're okay in my book..


Thanks Woody, what was more interesting than the music was the web page and the thoughts of Tom.

Some times I think if the world was made up of musicians who cared, I have to add this, the world would be completely perfect.

Nice bass sound, but it had an acoustic piano sound and the bass sounded electric more than acoustic and the low note was not so clear as a bass sound and the upper notes sounded electric too.  But the middle register was great.

It was great reading about a musician trying and being creative.  In my opinion we have so few.  Maybe I am wrong but it seems that way.

Always, Greg Henry Waters

You can download my music from my website if you want.

I agree, Greg. Artists who care get me every time. They're out there - just hard to find unless you're lucky.
I had the experience of meeting the Yellowjackets last weekend after a workshop and concert. To me, that's what it's all about. They performed, of course, but they also offered plenty of insight for young musicians, then came out and chatted with fans, educators and students for quite a while after the show.
Anyway, Tom's work on that album was incredible - though I expect no less from him. He spoils his audience that way. And yeah, his bass sounded more electric, which again is to be expected from a program. The thing that impressed me though was that he didn't just program a bass line like so many contemporary jazz artists do. He wrote the music and played it, giving it the touch that says somebody who knows how to play the bass did this and not just some computer geek who wants to call himself a musician


First thing's first; Greg's absolutely right, BUT by comparing each others' opinions about who are the "best players" opens new views in the subject in hand... And to the end of line I must say; even so it isn't jazz (but not far away from it, in sick sense of itself), that Les Claypool (front man of Primus) can really play incredible lines with his bass...

Gone mad what is wrong with saying this.

After thinking about it for awhile I never meet stable people everybody has some kind of chip on their shoulder and not telling the truth but talking around the truth.  This is China all right it is part of their culture to talk around the truth.

Nobody cares about the group.  Woody I have been a leader of many jazz groups in NYC with many of the top musicians there.  They never cared about my music or group just about making friends and getting work.  They all gave each other work but never really helped promote my band. They were always promoting themselves.  I was always promoting creative music.

Please do not think this is bitter this is just my experience.  Please do not think I am just a classical musician.  I perform with BB King, Paul Anka, Ella, Tommy Flanagan, Bill Crow, Hampton, Buddy Rich, Peter Duchin, Lesler Lanin, Patti Page,
Mel Torme, Billy Eckstein, etc.  These people are not classical musicians.

I am saying that classical music is the foundation of all music.  It has the longest history and the violin has the oldest song book.  This must mean something.

To me you cannot separate the bass from music.  Music comes first the bass second, but my experience over 45 years with professional musicians; their instrument comes before the music in many cases and situations.

I hope I answered your question.  It is very interesting to talk about music.

Greg Henry Waters
Classical and Jazz Musician

I composed a classical piece today and put it on my site called Piano Fantasy.

Life is a Fantasy?


I am saying when I was in NYC for 23 years it was more about looking for work and not about creating a group.  Even when I got close to getting a record contract with Columbia Records in their new music section the musicians got all crazy and their personal interest and demands came before the group.  So, I dropped out.

So, I'm not sure what you mean when you say nobody cares about the group.
As for the solos, isn't that one of the reasons we like jazz? Because it allows musicians to stretch with their creativity, performing extended solos during live performances?  Yes I agree with you on this one but there is the group ensemble performance and the solo performance jazz needs discipline just like classical music has.  Diana Krall is now doing blues and not using her jazz talent becoming a pop singer and sex symbol.  What happened to the music?

We all have a different definition what music is I am trying to promote my definition which is JS Bach standards.

The better the musician the more they play for the group and the less with ego.  I was talking to Miles one day and I asked him how can you understand each others playing when everybody is playing so loud and banging on their instruments.  He just looked at me!

He never commented on musicians performances he just let them play.

Yes I agree I have been doing a lot of recording with my computer lately I placed 89 songs on the internet.

I used slap bass, electric bass, fingered bass, string bass, rock, Latin, swing, modern style, new music, traditional music.  I tried to explore all the venues I experienced in my life in New York City.

I hope you all enjoy it.  Greg

Greg, you sound rather bitter. It's as if because your experience was sour, the entire world has gone mad. Of course, that is not the case. But depending on what one wants, the glass can either seem half empty or full of holes.

When you say Miles, I assume you mean Miles Davis. Knowing a bit about the music of his that most everyone I know in the jazz community says is so great, I presume you contend that his records were mostly noise. In that, I tend to agree. His groundbreaking style was definitely not my cup of tea. Certainly, that's not true of everything he did, but the music that people rave about is really out there - much as you said, each doing his own thing.
But that element of jazz is so passe, I don't see where you're coming from if you're contending that nobody plays for the group.

Sorry, but I just don't see it.


Yeah, Miles and others played in that avant garde style for a while, but I submit they were in the minority even during that style's heyday. And, mercifully, it was a short-lived genre.
Again, I ask - what are you listening to?
Oh, you mention Diana Krall. It is a small world that you live in if you think she's the poster girl for women in jazz.
Have you not heard of Eliane Elias, Regina Carter, Teri Lynn Carrington, Rachel Z, Mimi Fox, Pamela Williams?
It's time you let the genie out of the bottle.


Woody, I am not a professional writer.  I just try to tell the truth as I see it good or bad.  If you cannot accept that is OK.  Diana Krall is the only one I see on TV on the international level. I do not see those other artist here in China.  I see Diana Krall though.

I do not follow modern day music I am happy with Bach really.

Thanks for your comments anything is better than nothing.  You miss the point about group playing I am talking music really not about a group.  Music history is what is important to me.  I am talking about creative art not pop music or blues or anything else.

You miss understood what I said about Miles.  He lets his musicians play as they see it.

I am a musician and a composer I am trying to talk from my view point not from yours or any other person.

Thanks for you comments.  I am not bitter just telling the truth.  Sometimes the truth is bitter why do not you accept it.

Always Greg
Why don't you do a review of my music rather than write me.

gwaters and jazzwriter: am enjoying your written spates very much indeed.......hope it does not lead to pistols at dawn!

I think is should be a case of agreeing to disagree.

For my part, I prefer acoustic instruments any day and my favorite double bass player is the American William Parker, he is ACE! I also have Miles Davis 1940's recordings, and right through his career to his very last recording.  No one can accuse Miles of standing still.  

As for Diane Krall, I see her as a singer leaning on the jazz side of popular music and not a true jazz singer. She is trying to glamorize her image...see the current crop of photographs. Mind you, having mentioned her attempt at glamour, having Elvis Costello in toe as husband is not exactly adding to the glamour image; no disrespect to Elvis...this fan has most of his albums, but no Diane Krall. I am not a fan of hers.

He keeps her honest I think. Greg

ears always open to all forms of music and thought!

Not trying to be combative here, just trying to understand where Greg is coming from.
Work with me.
1 - this is a jazz discussion group
2 - the forum is on bass players
3 - the topic is "who's the best"

Now, isn't it reasonable for a person to a-s-sume that a comment about musicians showing off and trying to get solos is directed toward jazz bassists?
Had I known at first that I was addressing a classical enthusiast, my comment might have been more like: Greg, I missed it. Please explain the connection between your looking for work as a classical musician and contemporary jazz bassists.

Woody it is about music not musicians.

Since the information about music history and your passion for Bach was not forthcoming at that time, my response went in a different direction.
That said, I have another question.

In your last post, you said: "I am not bitter just telling the truth.  Sometimes the truth is bitter why do not you accept it." Earlier in the same post, you said: "I do not follow modern day music I am happy with Bach really." Now, the comment that got me started on this tack appears to have been deleted, but as memory serves, it went something like this: "Nobody cares about the group. It's all about solos and showing off." Now, Greg, I don't know your heart or your mind. I can only go by what I read. Now take a look at those first two quotes. One says you speak truth; the other says you do not listen to modern music.

Here's the question:
If this were a forum on classical music, and I said on Friday that Dvorak's compositions were too abstract, then on Saturday I said I don't listen to classical music, wouldn't you have a little trouble believing me?

Woody I have trouble believing myself because I feel so alone in my opinions and ideas.

Woody the truth is very confusing I get confused sometimes myself.  Please understand I am not talking about groups or musicians but the laws of music and what makes music and what does not make music.  Our lives are  ruled by the laws of the universe not by us.


You hit the nail on the head. It is hard to talk about music without someone getting upset about something or giving an opinion that no one cares about or is simply so far away from the original statement it has nothing to do with the original question.

The problem with music is that musicians follow rules that they decide is music whether it is jazz or classical or pop or Blues they have a set of rules to follow. I have a friend who was a great blues, jazz, R & B Player from Detroit settled in NYC that performed with a blues band in the Village.

He was telling me that he got bored playing the blues changes and started to play other changes, harmony, with the songs other than the basic chords. The band could not accept his creativity and fired him for trying to express himself in and individual way. This goes on in any form of music people are not allowed to be creative. I do not know what the answer is about this one, but I have had this problem all my life. People have had a comment when they watch me perform you do not move you just stand there. Well, the music is the center of attention not me is my answer.

With the lack of music education in the schools there is not any answer to this question. There is just too much ignorance out there for music.

The vocal nightmare is a nightmare and has hurt music in so many ways. They now call vocalist jazz musicians. To me this is such a joke it is too me just another way to sell more records and to promote the publishing rights of the publishing companies to make more money.

It has nothing to do with music. This was the great shock to me after living in NYC for so many years. All NYC is about is how to make more money using whatever market segment they could come up with. It was never about art or culture. This is the strange point about NYC. You can see this idea every night on David Letterman show the band that plays everything and nothing at the sometime. This is NYC music. This is why I do not miss it.

When I was home for a few months I went to the union to watch a rehearsal band perform. I could only sit there for 15 minutes and had to get up. Because it was never about music it was about making money and having relationships with other musicians to get gigs. It was the Broadway musician's rehearsal bands. A lot of musicians are victims of the market place and we can do nothing about it either join it for awhile or jump out of it. Charles Ives sold insurance to be creative.

"saying that the music that I "hate" This quote reminds of a Dr. of Musicology that was giving an official statement that hip hop was a creative form of black music and was equal to any other class of music. Now what is one to say of this statement? I do not know. Perhaps you could tell me? Opinions about music are really out there. I just say J. S. Bach started the well tempered tuning system and wrote the greatest music for it. He is the universal standard and there isn't anything else. But maybe I am the same as Dr. Musicology.

I had a comment from a composer here in china said after listening to my Tone Poem from China. You compose music like Bach. Well, what a nice compliment to me. My composition teacher said that composing free counter point was the most difficult thing to do in music composition.

Making money! "hiphop if I thought it was so easy. (I

never said it was easy, and my main concern was the

absence of musicians in R&B, not rap."

Woody, with the computer you do not need any musicians the computer produces everything. It is all about money and the musicians never see any of it. Here in China I can work if I am willing to work for 10 dollars a night. I am not that hungry yet.

This is my point everybody has an opinion. I am so sick of hearing other people's opinion is the reason for my newsletter. I want to write my viewpoint. So maybe I can make other people sick like they have made me sick. This doesn't sound nice but why cannot I have a voice in the world arena the people who are voicing their opinion are not qualified to speak out yet they have the floor. You cannot speak out because it is not socially acceptable is the answer. But they are speaking out with their bull. Just control and more control the power elite just care about the control and not the end product.

Earth Wind

& Fire

When I was in Chicago I met them and talked to them. They were interested in me but I was busy getting my masters degree and could not take time to listen to them. But they were great musicians and produced wonderful music. In Acapulco they have a big following in the singing clubs. I heard there music a lot. It was good to hear something that was trying to be substantial in their own right putting all the elements of jazz, pop, and show music together into one performance. Now we are down to a drum and talking. But I was listening to Wagner the other day and could not take that too.

"music that has no musicians"

Well, this is the trend of today I do not know what to do about it. We have to get rid of all the music devices if we want to bring musicians back. CD players, recorders, TV, etc.

Well, we have to write what we believe to keep the ignorance from our doorstep. This is all we can do. Even Bill Clinton said I did it because I could do it. Without sex there would be no people what are people getting so upset about it is natural.


Greg Henry Waters

Sorry, I've had much trouble getting to this page for the past several days. For some reason, I could view page 1, but every time I tried to get to the last messages or post a reply, I got the old "Sorry, page cannot be found" message.
Anyway, first I want to apologize to Greg before the group. Given the context of what was being discussed, when I saw his initial comments about solos and showing off, I misunderstood where he was coming from. We've exchanged e-mails since, and now I find that not only do I understand better, I agree with much of what he says. I don't find the absence of group so striking in jazz, though, but it's very evident in contemporary R&B music. It's all about the beat, building up the vocalists and - last but definitely not least - making money.
Some will say that they do it because they like what htey do - especially in regard to drum synths and bass synths - but I suspect there's a huge economic factor in there.
Why pay a bass player or a drummer to make good music when you can mimic it with a keyboard and a computer for a fraction of the cost?
As for the hollow bass, I don't have a problem with it. Charnett Moffett does well for the style that he plays. (I guess it's even less of an issue because when I hear him, he's usually a sideman for saxist Kenny Garrett.) What bothers me more about modern music - particularly smooth jazz and R&B - is the sound of fake drums.
Now, those in the know say those are real drums I'm hearing on some songs.
Oh, really?
Then why do they sound so much like a computer?
Yeah, there are certain songs that the effects fit, but I don't see the artificial drum sound being a benefit at all to other music. Yet, I'm told that these are not loops or programs. (I suppose a check of the liner notes would tell me who's playing and who's programming, but for the purpose of this discussion, I'm mainly referring to music that I don't own - just stuff I hear on the radio.)
So how about it? Why use effects to make a real drummer sound like a program if, in fact, you have a real drummer?



Thanks for the compliment by agreeing with me Woody. I know someone in the world does now! Agree with me!

Anyway, not much to say about your last post.  Wanting musicians to perform is a positive step forward in our computer age.

For a composer the computer makes my life much easier and I can move much faster.  Do not have copy out parts, transpose, orchestrate each part, copy out a score, rehearse the musicians, find musicians with enough ability, raise money to get a performance etc. and finally copy out the parts for performance.  I do not have a 13 piece band now so I do not have to worry about that either.  The music is in a library at the University of North Texas sitting in boxes waiting for someone to explore.

The computer does this all for me now thanks to the hard working programmers who made Band in the Box, Home Studio, Finale and Sibelius.

Never really liked Sibelius's music though.  Thought it was always too heavy and slow not light like Mozart.

When I listen to my alto playing and hear all those fast notes I play and wonder how I did that or my flute playing how did I do that where did it come from?

I spent all day yesterday putting my woody newsletter on my site and listening for mistakes in my recordings wondering if I should re-record the song or songs. and look for woody.

I do not know if we can help the music business become more music orientated but we can try.

Always Greg Henry Waters  .com

Wondering what the life will bring to me?





Just do not sell it!
Ok Greg