May next year be better than this year! Maybe this last year was great too I hope so?
I had a very interesting year this past year and exciting and trying at the same time. Yesterday a reader said I am learning a lot about jazz!
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Music News and Business News (It seems this issue in this newsletter is all together with business and music together.)
There is so much to write about I do not know if I can remember it all. It seems the commercial world has such power over people that to talk about art music is such a joke. A club owner who wanted to have music in his bar asked me just that. By the way, he placed me in a corner; was I a bad boy? He did not present me in a professional way. This was in HK. He had no idea how insulting that was when we were testing the ground rules. I got so upset I just packed up my horns and went home. “Are you joking?” He said. This is when I asked him to keep his word and be responsible. He did his own version of this. Still did not accept me as an international level musician. You see when you live in NYC for 23 years you end up working for many international professional artists and it is too many to name really, as I see it. In addition, to explain the quality and life style to others who have not experienced it is impossible really. People it seems can only understand what they have experienced. Anyway, I am still looking for a comfortable situation with location and pay.
A Bar who wanted to present jazz music, but did not have the idea how too; turned it into a rock bar. Just what we need is another rock bar? They took my ideas of changing the feeling of the bar into a coffee house instead of a nightclub so the women would feel more comfortable there, but they did not take me. They say anything to get over on you: “is this a joke”, “how dare you complain”, and then try to get you to perform music you do not want too; they make dates and cancel them; they invite you to perform and not pay you; They promised they will take you home and you end up riding around in a van for an hour; after we were waiting one-hour and a half to get paid. Oh, by the way, they drove by my house but could not go a few blocks out of their way to take me home. I cannot figure it out. My point is I hope I can meet some people who think about the entire picture and just one part or the other part.
It is no wonder we have
There is a new book out by Mao Zedong Teaches Us About Personnel Matters. “The book stressed morality and trust in dealings with others, qualities often cited as sorely lacking in the modern Chinese business world”, said Li Bo, Of the Central Party History Publishing House. Even the government is upset with what I am talking about.
This is another observation please do not think I am complaining and an unhappy person. One friend said I am always complaining. No I am not. I want a quality of life too: culture, pleasant conversation, nice friends, trusting people, love, quality art programs, real jazz, real music, etc. Is this not what life is about?
It seems that the type of music I listen to and perform have a direct relationship to my quality of life. I look at music as a quality of life issue. However, I know this is a minority attitude. The only problem is that this is an issue that I only talk about. Sometimes I feel all this is such a waste of time and energy. Am I crazy?
Michael Jackson is getting a lot of publicity with his
indictment. Why do not they go after James
Levine, the Conductor, He was caught with little boys and is on some kind of
probation. This did not make the news.
Why is Michael’s case making the news is my question? I understand, in
On Christmas Eve, I went to the fire works display at Seaworld for the opening of Ming Ship Hotel Restaurant. The fire works display was great. I really enjoyed it. I had a great traditional Christmas Dinner at McCawley’s Bar and Restaurant.
The Shenzhen Symphony with Changyong Liao, Baritone, Mei Ma, Soprano, and William Siu, Tenor. Their Christmas Concert Conducted by Maurice Peress
To make a long story short this was a pick up concert not a long rehearsed concert. All the singers were very professional, however I think the Soprano and the Tenor had a head cold. The quality of their tone was lacking and hurt the overall performance. The soprano had a full voice but the tone or the roundness of the sound was not there. I really was sorry for the tenor I could see him suffer through this concert. The program was very jerky in that that had so many short pieces and they had a beautiful woman announce each song so people were walking on and off the stage every three minutes. For me this took away from the flow of the concert.
Every time I go to the Shenzhen Symphony, they have Italian and Russian Composers or late 1800-century music. What ever happen to Bach and Mozart the foundation of all modern orchestral music? Especially for Christmas, Music not there by Bach for me is not a Christmas Concert.
The first cello had a short solo with a great tone.
The high light of the evening was an aria by Changyong Liao (Baritone). He was in his best voice. However, from where I was sitting, on the left front side the orchestra, the orchestra would cover up the singers sound many times in the concert. This I experienced at the met. Opera too in NYC: The orchestra balance and the voice were so many times out of balance. It was amazing no one seemed to notice it. I never went back to the met. Here, this was much better than that of course. The quality of sound was better at the met NYC probably because I was sitting in the back rows where the sounds comes together at a point and everybody had a microphone for their instrument. I was sitting in a poor position here in The Shenzhen Orchestral Theatre.
Maurice Peress is an excellent conductor, however, his talent was not demonstrated because of the choice of music. If the orchestra had him come from NYC, he should have at least had one featured number to show off the orchestra and his talents. Henry Shek of HK could have done an excellent job conducting this orchestra too especially this kind of concert. In addition, he knows a lot about popular American Style concerts because he spent many years in NYC. Of course, I know about American Music too.
It seems that people who run orchestras (the management) know little about music and who is good and qualified for the job. Many times, it is a guessing game for them.
My experience here in all the clubs I have performed in except maybe for one was completely unprofessional from my viewpoint. I am not talking about the musicians but the presenters (the club owners and management).
Such is the world of music.
HK: A review of a review: Ted Lo, Tamaya Honda, Steve Hunter and Ulf Wakenius Musicians pick up band. HK
All jazzed up, by Robin Lynam: edited by Mirjana Jovetic: December 5, 2003 Entertainment Life C7 South China Morning Post
“It was a really nice surprise, I guess, for all of us. We had no idea how the session would turn out because we never really did play those tunes live.”
This is a great problem to perform quality music. Are the musicians following the music correctly? This is the problem in jam sessions there is no guide; it is too free. It takes some time to get the feel of the music especially if it is original. Now, if it is a copy of the style than I would not call it original.
“Wakenius a great talent”, I think the younger talents really are better musicians because they have better training in many ways. However, the other problem is concept, experience, and the freedom to express.
The problem with today’s music is that musicians do not get to perform together for a very long time like in the 40’s and 50’s in the jazz world.
This they discussed in the article no time or not too much time to feel 100% free to perform.
Just a few concepts to think about, when and if you have time. Greg Waters
Music and Jazz in
The reason I put this review of a review is an example of jazz in HK. I was told by a bar customer that if you want jazz in this part of the world you have to go to Tokyo that HK is not providing the night life like other international cities of its size. He said there is only the occasional concert like this one in HK. There is no real local jazz nightlife. I must agree with him there are only a few places playing jazz and not any of them playing original music. Not that this is important, but it is about commercialism and not about creative music in HK. However, is jazz a creative art form or is it a copycat art form as many local big bands are? I wish I did not have to make this comment. However, we do not get any voice on TV so how can we be noticed with the other art forms.
Rickard Malmsten is the only person I know in HK with an original band. I never heard the band so have no musical comment. Nevertheless, Rickard is young has lots of energy and conviction to put his point across. He has a nice feel. I know some of his friends would like him to expand his tune list and work with the harmonic structure more, but he is being creative, which to me is more important. Nevertheless, no one listens to me, ha ha. I know it is a fusion band and not traditional style jazz with an upright bass. Jazz is so diverse now a days it is hard to know what is jazz and what is not jazz from my viewpoint. Nevertheless, for me, jazz is music from the 1930’s to the 1980’s. The music after this period I would not know if I would call it jazz. It would be a form of improvised music that we could call postmodern jazz or fusion jazz. Some people even call pop music jazz. The word jazz too me means being different and original in a style from the traditional jazz period, which I stated earlier. When you hear someone play, you should be able to name that person and his style. A lot of jazz one cannot do this very well.
People call blues jazz. I do not; to me, it is blues. In Shenzhen, there is no jazz. I cannot even talk about it.
Anyway, I bought 15 jazz cds to review; maybe this newsletter is too long already and might get boring for some people. Therefore, I will save the reviews for later. However, some of the records are Tom Harrell, not so impressed with this. Duke Ellington Vocals, very good, Jelly Roll Morton, very good, Benny Goodman, very good, Bebop Piano, OK, but something lacking cannot remember right now, Lionel Hampton with Benny Goodman, very good, Louis Armstrong, very good, (Many years ago Louis Armstrong drummer asked me to move back to Chicago. Cannot remember his name right now! Maybe I should of? I have made many mistakes in my life when it comes to my career. I have made very good choices when it has come to my musical art.)
Two John Coltrane Albums, one album I could listen too all day the other album put together by Ken Burns not good. Why do they have half idiots as Ken Burns create reviews of jazz is my question?
His PBS series was interesting but I did not appreciate half of the series. I thought it was out of the subject area. Cab Calloway, very good, Cannonball Adderley, excellent for me, better than Charlie Parker, Gene Quill and excellent alto player too. He was a victim of his own life too like Charlie Parker and Cannonball, early deaths. Art Blakey, very good for the bebop area and modern area of traditional jazz music. I was looking for Bill Evans, Stan Getz with Strings, Gene Quill, Chet Baker, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Lee Konitz, Woody Herman cds but could not find any. Thanks to the prices, here in Shenzhen I can afford the cds.
Musicians I performed with on these albums: Nat Adderley, Bill Hardman, Cab Calloway, Tommy Flanagan, Art Taylor, Doc Cheatham, Lionel Hampton, Bernie Prinvin, Tp, and S. Kane, Baritone Saxophone.
That is all folks, from Greg Henry Waters
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Greg Henry Waters
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