Chas, ‘groove quantize’ was primarily a drum track thing. Sustain wasn’t an issue, nor note choice etc.. and some of the grooves were derived from four to eight bar phrases played by actual drummers (I had some Steve Gadd and Clive Stubblefield grooves that were pretty good). Yes, you never get the variability of true human drumming, but it was a quantum leap over single bar hard quantize values.
At some point the line blurs between simply human playing and deliberately bad randomization routines. I’ve been faced with both sides of the situation, and in truth, I’d rather put up with a great drummer’s groove that repeats every eight bars or so rather than simple randomization with no regard to groove at all.
And while a great drummer is never totally perfect, the real greats had tendencies towards quantifiable things they did that were definitely recognizable and repeatable. It’s how we actually recognize their playing. Randomness would leave no imprint. They do certain things with the groove that are recognizable, and with analysis can be reproduced to a degree. Me, I’d rather have at least SOME feel if not perfect than simply throwing up the hands and saying ‘it can’t be done’…
One thing that progress always shows us is that, while we will almost certainly achieve perfect humanness, every generation of technology gets us closer. When used. The hard job is persuading people that it’s worth the effort. That’s in pretty short supply!
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!