Greg Henry Waters Newsletter August 2007
So much to write about, so much to say, so many people working so hard to live their lives. It is a wonder that anything gets done at all. We are faced with so many challenges and people have so much in their lives. How can one care about instrumental music or new music. I sometimes think it is just all a waste of time and effort.
Lou Dobbs is trying so hard to get our country back on track. Now our bridges are falling down and Bush is building bridges in Iraq that people are blowing up. Power plants are not in service, in Iraq, that American companies built with our money.
Do any of you watch the nine o’clock AM show on CBS Entertainment, do you? I mean it is so sick and so stupid I cannot believe it. Are people really this brain dead in that this is all they care about? I hate to say it but I think so.
For example on the morning show today they had a country band on CBS and ABC they had a pop band. Will real musicians ever get a voice in popular culture? Mozart was a popular musician by the way.
Also CMP is working with Small’s Jazz Club here in Manhattan to help promote all the wonderful instrumental musicians in NYC that do not get paid enough and do not get to work enough. There are just not enough spots for the number of musicians out there. We are waiting for the funds!
I was at Smalls last week and heard a wonderful singer and also at Birdland where I heard the Chico O’Farrill’s Band. What a nice ensemble and what a set of wonderful instrumental musicians. Also Birdland is one of the special clubs because of its size: stage and format, dinning area, bar and stage with nice sound system and piano. Sam Burtis the leader of the band that night said, “this is the best jazz club in NYC.” It cost $35 dollars to get in by the way.
Mario Rivera has been sick with cancer and fighting hard to get back on his feet. When I had my band in NYC, 10 piece jazz ensemble, Mario performed on the baritone saxophone and was one of the leading Latin woodwind players on the Latin scene and was the first saxophone performer with Tito Prente. I met his son, Phoenix Rivera, at the hospital one day and the drummer in the Chico O’Farril’s band. He did an excellent job without bringing attention to himself, like so many drummers can do or not do. The pianist played with a classical touch. I was so surprised to hear this. Since I come from a classical background and I always view music and sound from this viewpoint it kind of took me back some. It wasn’t until a few days later that I said wow, good for him. Since the band had so many subs I was not able to get a roster. (Of course, I have been out of the music scene here in NYC for ten years or so learning about Mexico, China and HK and working on my Music Show and Children’s Music Show for local public access TV. And Chico son was not even there, but his Mother was sitting on a bar stool. Chico passed away a few years ago. Sam also said the band has been performing there for 11 years. Anyway, I should have known more of the musicians. Since I was at the Statue of Liberty on Sunday, Smalls in the early evening and Birdland late evening I was tired, and had to take the subway and bus home. I live on the fifth floor and those last steps came slowly before I reached my door.)
If you come to NYC you can find out about jazz at http://www.hothousejazz.com/
My tunes on the internet! Greg Henry Waters You can find single songs or CDS
Last month letter was about the Milwaukee Elks Youth Band and memories of years passed. I got to talk with some old friends and see their pictures. I did not know anybody, we all changed so much. It was some kind of a shock. No body was interested in my idea of a lobbying group for instrumental music.
You know there is not one professional concert band in NYC and we use to have two, The Goldman Band and a Band in Queens. What is wrong with our country? We have a band shell in every park here in NYC but no one uses them. I was in central park about a month ago and sure enough a big beautiful band shell but no one playing in it. I composed an epic piece for concert band, but no one ever performed it. It would have been too much work and practice. I guess I got carried away. It was commissioned by the Army Band in Canada. But what they wanted was a pop version of Broadway show tunes not an epic piece. It had a string section, three marches, a modern section, and I do not know what else. It is in the New York Library system at Lincoln Center.
You know music is so important for the development of the human being and soul. Our Mayor, Bloomberg, is now putting money into the art programs which they took out some 30 years ago. Thanks to administrations, math, gym and science teachers who are the ones who become principles etc., and make these decisions; so they can get out of the class room. Of course they put more money into the math and science programs and cut out music and art. So, folks we deserve rap music or is it rape music.
I saw some street musicians playing for hand outs. Is this all musicians are good for begging on the street?
I know this sounds negative, but I cannot accept this and I do not understand why everybody just doesn’t say anything or even talk about it. I guess the world is full of people who have other more important things to do. And if you do not like my newsletter because it might upset you I cannot help that either.
It seems we only care about being rich, strong and powerful. So we can show the world we can provide them with everything and we will pay for it too, but neglect our homeland. Now, the next time you drive over a bridge you can wonder if it will fall down or not and remember to thank Bush for this. I always wonder about the people who voted for Bush. Are they happy now? Did he really protect us?
Anyway, maybe I am going off the deep end, but it is how I see it. Dale Turk wrote an excellent follow up letter to last months news from me. If you read it this far thanks very much. Remember music is what keeps our lives beautiful and loving.