Greg Henry Waters Newsletter February 2007
Talk, Talk, Talk: what does it all mean? We go through life trying to figure out what it all means. We become professional people, work, work, and work and what do we get out of it? We write books, start businesses, become famous, lose all we have and start over again, get married, get divorced, have children, be creative, become a genius, etc. etc. etc. What does it all mean? I am not sure really. I think we should enjoy whatever we have and enjoy the journey! This is all I can say about my life. I try to enjoy the journey. The doctors say when we get old we should use our brain and learn a new language. I am trying to learn Chinese but never study so how can I learn Chinese?
Well, I got married again for the third time. Let me say that living with someone you can live with a hell of a lot better than living alone. I am not an ambitious young man anymore, but I wish I could be.
My new wife, Polly, is taking ESL classes at the Bronx House and I joined a retired people think tank; where, we sit around and decide what our future should be. We are discussing a book about this subject. When we are no longer wanted by society or we are too old or too sick to do anything. What kind of a life is this? In fact it is very hard for me to think of myself as an old person for I am still looking for a good job really, where I can use my skills. (Music, Yoga, Internet!) But will anybody ever pay me again to be a real professional?
Read this letter from Phil Woods a be-bop saxophone player. Finally he is becoming aware of the serious problems in jazz 20 years ago I became aware of this problem. Now Phil is getting his head out of the sand and facing the modern day situation in jazz.
Hello Jazz lovers, wherever you are!
I continue to be a fly on the windshield of the jazz industry. (HA!) I
presume you know that Bud Shank was fired from his post as founder and
guiding light of the Bud Shank Workshop in Port Townsend, WA. He has
Been the 'man' there for 25 plus years, assembling one of the best teaching
ensembles ever! But now they want a younger man with young ideas!
Outsourcing the wrong guy folks! It only takes forever to learn this
music thing and even longer to come to terms with this jazz thing. And
they want a younger guy. Any damn fool can play when they are 20, or 30, 0r
40, 50, 60. But try cutting the mustard when you are in your late 70's! Now
anyone that can do that has acquired knowledge that no younger person can ever
hope to learn.
The jazz existence, or any existence is not about getting somewhere -
It is all about the voyage. No one can ever master life, only experience it
and contribute something to making the world a better place to be an artist.
ARTIST is the key word. If you want to be a practical musician, great.
Get some gigs and have a good life. But if you want to be a jazz
musician, the requirements are more stringent. An awareness of world culture is a
good place to start! Learn something about food and wine, learn a language,
read a book, paint a painting, see an O'Neill play, stare at a sunset.
Write a rondo, for heaven's sake-be somebody! And no matter how long you do it,
you will barely touch the surface of this passion called life, the jazz
You have to be a warrior. Bud Shank is a warrior, a tough one who has
survived! What he has to teach is incalculable to measure. And they want
a younger guy. How about Norah Jones to teach jazz singing ? Yeah!
Bud and I have been doing many gigs together, Toronto festival, North
Sea and others. We broached Concord records to try and secure a one shot record
deal for Yoshi's in November. They said that instrumental music doesn't
sell anymore! Imagine! A company founded on instrumental music, great music,
decides that it doesn't sell anymore. I am mad as hell and will continue
to rant and rave about these things until my last breath. Culture in
America is going to hell in a hand basket. (I love that saw - don't know what it
means but love it still.) Keep the song alive. Until next time stay well. And
thank you for being a part of my thing!
Well, what can I say, many years ago, 1966, I won the mid-west jazz festival for outstanding woodwind player. The judges were from the same era as Phil. I noticed than that these jazz musicians already had their head in the sand about this business from their comments on the comment sheet, for they did not view jazz as a creative art form, but one of tradition, which had nothing to do with what I was trying to do. After that experience I really could never relate to jazz musicians again. They all had a groupie mentality.
Anyway, Phil’s story is about getting old and what do we do when we get old? Well, I have turned to writing newsletters and expressing my views about music and life. I started this out about five years ago when I lived in Mexico, Acapulco, Barra Vieja!
I was so frustrated with music and life that the only thing I could do was write about it.
Now, some six years later I am still writing about it. We can only laugh a little, for me this is the joy of life for to look for rewards from our fellowmen, somehow, I think is very difficult to get and if one gets rewards of this kind it could be a big illusion.
Overcoming life’s disappointments is the task for today and we must be willing to give up our life’s dream in order to live the life we have.
I say we should forget about our life’s disappointments and just live with what we have. I suggest one watches all the Woody Allen movies one can and study the thought behind his words. So much truth is hidden in Woody’s comedy that it can pass us by without one getting the wisdom of his movies.
Golda Meir, said, “It was much later that I realized that not being beautiful was a blessing in disguise. It forced me to develop my inner resources. I came to understand that women who cannot lean on their beauty and need to make something of their own have an advantage.” If Anna Nicole Smith understood this she would still have her son and her life. But she became victim to her beauty and became a weak woman because of her beauty. Having loved women very much I have learned that men should have a higher standard than women, we should not allow their beauty to take hold of us and exploit it, but we must help them to overcome their weaknesses and become real women.
So, in our later years we must learn to make new choices for the old ones are not there anymore.
Greg Henry Waters
2/9/2007 10:00 AM Just put a lot of products on Polly’s jade pearl website.