Greg Henry Waters Newsletter April 2006


This month topic is the saxophone musician, Stan Getz.  He was a solo saxophonist for some 50 years and started to work at the age of 15 to support his family.  His years of working and developing as a musician as paid off, to make him, Stan Getz, one of the most renowned saxophonists in the history of the instrument. 


The saxophone was invented in the 1840 by Adolphe Sax in France.  This instrument was supposed to be a cross from a violin and a brass instrument. Its shape is a shape of the ice cream cone or cone shaped.  Instrument makers have been working on the development and shaping the instrument for the last 100 years.  Selmer instrument company came out with the most famous instrument and now we have Yamaha from Japan and a new instrument from Taiwan, called the Jupiter Saxophone, and my friend, Dr. Thom Mason, helped designed the instrument. 


You see how Stan holds his instrument in this picture.  You can see the love and devotion he has in holding his instrument which he is so proud of.  He was very proud of being a saxophone performer and thought it was the greatest thing in life.  In his words, “As far as playing jazz, no other art form, other than conversation, can give the satisfaction of spontaneous interaction!  A good quartet, listening closely to each other, is like a good conversation among friends interacting to each other’s ideas.” By Stan Getz, 1986!  Such profound words, I believe these are because he called jazz a form of free form conversation and poetry.  For me this is so true.  I have never heard jazz expressed in these terms before.  You can read the entire article here at Creative Music Productions Web Site.


He also talks about the sound of his horn and how he produced it and what his goal was for his sound.  He started the idea of changing the soft violin sound of the saxophone to a more trumpet centered tone.  He said he did this so his instrument could be heard within the entire room or hall.  He not only became a great improviser but a new example of a tenor saxophone sound.  A Saxophone sings like the human voice.


Stan’s son, Steve Getz who has been for many years running jazz clubs including the Blue Note, Tuesday's, NYC (1980-88); "Reflections", Stan Getz Room/Hyatt Union Square, San Francisco, CA ('82); Lush Life, NYC; ('84); Yoshi's, Oakland, CA (1989) The Village Karavan, NYC, ('95) Blue Note, NYC ('96);Steve Getz
Music Hall/Stan Getz Memorial Jazz workshop, Brooklyn, NY (2003).


Steve wants to move on and change the direction of his career by giving concerts for nursing homes and churches: since jazz has now a limited audience and that the new jazz artists of this era do not get the exposure or opportunity on the same level as his Father did.  You see from my viewpoint the young jazz musicians are much better educated and have terrific instrumental skills.  So, Steve has decided to try this new venture and help young artists, both professionally and children, to have the experience of performing to new audiences and not the same old jazz club format; which for me, now that jazz is a concert experience now and not a night club experience. It is a great new design to help create a new environment for jazz artists and young people.  (6 years and up) You can read about these events and our new web pages here.


One thing that impressed me about Steve’s Concert that I attented was that he followed in the tradition of his Father’s music.  This was great for me, because he was continuing in the tradition of his Father..  We need so much more of this kind of music in our society because it uses real instruments and not make believe instruments with all the new modern machines that produce music in our culture.  And with payola still in operation musical art is down played or ignored to a great extent, and we have non-musicians, rape artists, selling music to the young people.  Now, anybody in their right mind will not call this music including the NWACP in their 2006 notebook. For me, music is instrumental music first and then vocal music. Music must include some form of harmony and melody plus rhythm.  Some musicians say rhythm is the first element of music. I say you do not have music until you have all three elements.


Market place work for them which does not allow real musicians to get radio air-play and exposure to the general public.  It is too bad that music is such a monopoly and is controlled by so few people.  There is so much wonderful music that never reaches the public.  Having traveled in Canada, Mexico and China, & (HK) I noticed that the same rules play in these other countries.  I lived in Canada for seven years and local 149 of the musicians union stole all my pension money and SS money.  So when people talk about how wonderful Canada is I always remember their treatment of me because I was a born American.  Now that I am in retirement age these years of work, 7 years in Canada, is very important for my SS pension, now, which I do not get credit for.  I have learned that both Mexico and Canada are not really the friends of the USA.  They just want to use us as much as they possibly can.  Mexico is a real piece of work let me tell you.  Yes, the USA should be kind to the world, but I do not think they should allow others to abuse.  How can we keep the balance is the question?  The news I heard today, the news-people are talking about the USA using atomic bombs. Is our country sick too?  How can we talk about using such force, no wonder other countries are afraid of the USA.  When I was in China this was the very question many Chinese professional men asked me.  I pray that our leaders wake up and see the light both with the immigration problem and nuclear issues.


Using the atom bomb will not stop the production of atomic bombs, but will increase the desire for other countries to have such a bomb.


I think the people with too much material wealth are arrogant, selfish, and as Plato said, ‘they live in their own cave locked into their subjective egos which has no relationship to reality.’  This goes along too with the American middle class and their values.  Is our entire social structure sick and unaware of the real realities?  I think so! Somehow wisdom has to prevail!  I wonder how many political leaders read Plato?


We have so many quality issues in our society, not only with music, but with the atom bomb, business rules, crime, dictatorships, etc.  Plato said that music was the most important value in education because it develops the complete person.  However, in our society music is not very important.  It is the only profession that doesn’t have regulations or rules.  Anyone, with or without a musical education can be called musicians.  For me this is sick-o, sick-o and more sick-o.  But at times I feel I am talking to myself and no one listens.


Sincerely, Greg Henry Waters