Greg Henry Waters Newsletter November 2007
Well, the holiday season is here. Here in NYC they brought in the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center and opened the ice rinks. Now we have three open ice rinks in NYC. I remember when we did not have any.
Does anybody talk about concert band music? I hardly think so. I got a letter the other day talking about the Knight Winds from Milwaukee. A professional concert band who puts on three concerts a year. This is better than NYC that is for sure. The music schools are the only group that promotes original classical music. This music will never reach the public. I get a newsletter every month about the serious music concerts and all of them are at the local music schools.
I recently made some smooth jazz music which you can listen to on my web site. Http://www.greghenrywaters.com with the soprano sax.
Welcome to my News for November!
I wrote a review about Mamiko Watanabe and her music which is below. It wasn't a polished performance but it could be if they had a few more rehearsals. Mamiko had her music together. I am talking about the sidemen. There are so many wonderful young musicians on the music arena today. Musicians just do not have enough gigs with the same musicians to have a solid group. I hear it so much that to listen to something special is very rare.
The economic situation really makes it difficult too.
Mamiko Watanabe was featured with a quartet of top New York musicians during her engagement at Fat Cat Club. With her piano stylings, she was in the company of bassist Erik Privert and drummer Ferenc Nemeth along with tenor saxophonist Karel Ruzicka.
Mamiko Watanabe is a wonderful jazz
pianist and it was so much fun for me to watch her perform.
She is a little woman about 98 pounds I would say, but 98 pounds of dynamite. After a concert I came up with a phrase, “not afraid to be original.”
Mamiko is such a person like this; also, she is determined to be original and with such little effort it seems. But I know how much work goes into creating a group and getting them to perform original music. I have tried all my life to put a great group together and it has been so difficult and so few musicians have the courage to do this.
She is not creating studio music were the composer sticks to 8th notes and formula type music like we have in pop country music and lots of forms of jazz and Broadway tunes. No, she reaches out for the true essence of music which is the search for individual freedom of the spirit within us. This is the highest goal of life and music and so many try to reach it but so few have the ego to do it. When I started out in music there were not many women in jazz only singers and maybe a few pianist. Now we have so many young women in music creating wonderful sounds in the search for the joy of life in musical art.
I saw Mamiko Watanabe at Fat Cat, NYC, NY on November 7,2007 playing her music with a quartet. Performing with Mamiko were Tenor Sax, Karel Ruzicka, String Bass, Erik Privert and Drums, Ferenc Nemeth.
What I noticed in her was her rhythmic sense which was so strong in that she knew all the Latin Rhythm plus she integrated it all in her playing with the traditional jazz harmony. Some of her chord progressions were very original and kept the string bass and saxophone player with there eyes open. She did not always stick to the 32 bar or 12 bar song form she exactly took the time to arrange her music having many sections: A,B,C, and D. She liked to conclude some of her tunes with a strong vamp and drum solo building into a climax and ending the tune. I was really impressed with her balance with the left hand chords and the right hand melody. She has a strong definition in how to keep a proper balance between the sound, rhythm and melody. Many pianist get completely confused when it comes to this balance or for some reason do not understand what to do with the right and left hand integration.
One really notices this with guitar players because they can only play four or five notes at once or go from chords to melody or unison octaves. They are always trying to go around the laws of music and harmony, but because of the limitation of the instrument, in that it only has six or more strings it can physically only do so much. I wish guitar players would get the message and piano players get the message that only with a certain amount of musical instruments can one really play real music and not a shorten version of it. I am talking about the trio syndrome and the duo and solo syndrome that piano players and guitar players get into. Physically it is a limited form of music. Jazz comes from horn players and bands and I wish the rhythm sections would remember this and stop being solo acts all the time. They will say it is an economic situation.
Mamiko Watanabe isn't afraid to use horn players in her music and doesn't feel intimidated by them because they play the lead. She let the horn player play his heart out and blow with as much freedom as he could. Remember Dave Burbeck, one of the most popular jazz groups in jazz history, and they did not always play jazz, but got into music. Of course that group only lasted for 10 years and Dave never had a big following after that but always remained a popular jazz musicians. Paul Desmond of course was the soul of that group.
I was speaking to Mamiko during her break and I told her the most difficult thing to do is to put a real united group together in jazz. It is one of the most difficult things to do. Most groups in jazz are all pick up groups that play standards and perform club date jazz, as I call it. It is just jazz entertainment for the evening not a real search for truth which for me art is all about. The search for inner truth and individual identity.
Mamiko has a solid definition of her form, rhythm and composition intent. She does a few standards along with her original music which is straight ahead and Latin rhythms with free form sections with vamps. Sometimes all these feelings are in one tune with everyone taking a solo.
I took pictures of the evening event and you can see the pictures here. http://picasaweb.google.com/gwatersusa/Fatcattsnov2007 21 pictures!
You can read my news letters here. Http://www.greghenrywaters.com/musicnews/
Mamiko is a pianist worth noticing and listening too. There are so many wonderful young musicians on the music scene today it is a wonder who to listen too. But I believe Mamiko Watanabe music is worth the time and effort. Sincerely, Greg Henry Waters, Artist of Music and Yoga!