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Dan Jacobs: Journal

YOUR WORST ENEMY by daniel w. jacobs - September 11, 2010


by Dan Jacobs

Are you spinning your wheels but not gaining traction? Stuck on pause? Can’t decide which way to go? Stuck in a state of 6's and 7's (confusion) where you just can’t get into action on anything?

You may be suffering from something you've never even heard of.

It's called Chronic Maybe Syndrome.

It means being stuck in the middle, unable to decide or act. It may well be the worst enemy you could ever have.

C.M.S. is a disease characterized by an inability to make up your mind, leading to the incapacitating condition of being unable to get into action toward the accomplishment of your goals.

It is a malady which substantially limits your life activities and is far more common than previously thought. It's deadly and even worse, it's contagious!

Misdiagnosis of the symptoms of Chronic Maybe Syndrome can definitely jeopardize successful rehabilitation, but with correct evaluation and proper treatment, the recovery of the disabled person is almost guaranteed.

THE SYMPTOMS: Often the symptoms are based in fear: fear of making a mistake or being embarrassed; nervousness, worry, and stress are also common manifestations.

Other symptoms are based in real or imaginary loss or threat of loss: loss of position, possessions, altitude, friends, reputation, status, money.

Finally there are symptoms based in apathy; such as despair; frustration; hopelessness; feeling paralyzed, lethargic, or depressed.

Everyone has had some of these symptoms, but if your life has become a steady diet of them, you’re on your way down, with all flags struck.

THE CAUSE: The cause of chronic maybe syndrome is simple: to decide, you must first understand.

The source of the problem is not an inability to decide, it comes from something you don't understand.

As understanding something requires clear perception or observation, the misunderstanding can come from many things: false assumptions, miscommunications, fixed ideas, prejudices and more.


The complete process is:

  1. any action is preceded by a decision to do so;
  2. but before you can decide, you must have some understanding of the elements under consideration;
  3. understand requires that you are able and willing to observe your surroundings.

And a willingness to perceive is the most important step.

Like walking upstairs; just put one foot in front of the next until you get to the top and the final step is easy to take.

a) observe

b) understand

c) decide

d) act

Being stuck in indecision is a trap - and like a magnet, it attracts more indecidions to it. The truth is that you're always better off making a decision (even if you change it later) than to live your life afflicted with chronic 'maybe' syndrome.

Now that you can see what is really going on, that you have to observe before you can understand; and you can't decide on something you don't understand, you may be able to sort things out somewhat easier. 

daniel w. jacobs © 2008-2020, all rights reserved



Frank Foster quote - January 27, 2009

Quote from Frank Foster

Some time ago, acclaimed tenor saxophonist Frank Foster was playing a street concert from the Jazzmobile in Harlem. He called for a blues in B-flat. A young tenor player began to play "out" from the first chorus, playing sounds that had no relationship to the harmonic progression or rhythmic setting. Foster stopped him. "What are you doing?" "Just playing what I feel." "Well, feel something in B-flat, motherfucker." - From Wynton Marsalis' book, "Moving To Higher Ground":

QUOTE: from the Commitments - January 11, 2009

"The Lord sent me . . . the Lord loves my trumpet."

quote from: "The Commitments.

TRIBUTE TO FREDDIE HUBBARD by Craig Jolley - December 29, 2008


This article was originally published in May 2001.

(note: Craig's question is in bold followed by Freddies' answer)

New Colors: I met David Weiss a couple of years ago. He's from North Texas State. He had a rehearsal band [New Jazz Composers Octet] in New York, and he had been writing out a lot of my compositions and arranging them.

He said he'd like to get together and have me play some of my material with the group. At first it was only supposed to be a one-time thing, but we're going to be working together the next couple of years until I get back strong again on my horn. They appreciate my music and give it a good feeling like when I was playing with Elvin Jones. They inspired me to start back playing again.

This is an opportunity to let some of the more serious kids play this music and have it arranged for them. Craig Handy and I did a record with Betty Carter (Droppin' Things, Verve 1990) years ago. I always liked his playing. Same with Joe Chambers—he had played some of these songs with me before. I brought in Kenny Garrett and Javon Jackson as guest soloists.

Those are some of the musicians I really enjoy playing with. They've played in my previous bands, they know me, and they know my style. They came in and helped me out quite a bit. I'm very happy to have made this CD. New Jazz Composers Octet Tour We start in New York at the Iridium May 8-13.

Then we go to Annapolis, Maryland; Arlington, Virginia; Scullers in Boston; Philadelphia; a couple more things. We're gonna make the Berlin Festival this year, but I'm not going to play the West Coast yet. We'll be playing the songs on the CD and some of my other tunes David, Duane Burno and Xavier Davis have arranged.

With all the horns you can hear more color. When I originally recorded some of these tunes the music went by so fast people didn't get a chance to hear them. I have a lot of songs people have never heard that will sound good with eight pieces.

Lip problems: I busted my chops. I had to go back to square one after 30-40 years of playing. I was out there trying to be Coltrane—take thirty choruses. I was working all the time, and I didn't warm up. If you don't start off getting the blood flowing later on you're chops get weaker. It wasn't from playing that commercial stuff—it was from hard-core improvising.

What made my style different was a whole lot of jumps, strenuous ideas. That's what makes jazz chops different from classical chops—at any moment you may have to change your embouchure [the position of the lips when they touch the mouthpiece]. I gave it everything I had. You have to be ready for that style. It was really bad—I didn't know if I was gonna play again.

I can still play, but I can't hold long tones—that's something I never had trouble with. I didn't realize there were so many muscles in the embouchure, about 120. When you're young you don't even think about it.

You get a lot of bad habits—you think that's the hip way to do it, but it's tearing your chops down. “I can't play what I used to play, but that's not the point. Let Jon Faddis and those guys hit those high notes--that's their thing."

Now I play better in the middle register. I have more ideas, and it's better than half-hitting it.”

Comeback: I thank the Creator. He enabled me to attempt to come back. I have to practice, get the feeling, get the blood flowing again. If you don't do that you don't get back.

I came back too soon before (in '94) when I had trouble with my chops. I'm playing the flugelhorn now because the trumpet would be too hard. Instead of playing all that hard stuff I'm gonna to play some ballads.

Playing flugel is kind of messing up my chops in itself—I eventually want to get back to playing the trumpet. I can't play what I used to play, but that's not the point.

Now I play better in the middle register. I have more ideas, and it's better than half-hitting it. It'll take another year to come back strong again. The trumpet is not like a piano or a saxophone. If you lay off it you're back to zero. I've still got a lot of stuff I want to play.

I can play it on the piano—that's where I get a lot of my ideas—like [sings fast] dah-doo-dah-didli-ah-dit...bah-booo-dle-ootie...doo-deee-doo-dooodle-eedle-doodle-at...dee-dat...deee-dle-ootie. Those kinds of runs are very difficult to execute. It's the way you accent those things. I got that from playing with Sonny Rollins and Philly Joe Jones. I want to bring some that back.

Louis Armstrong: He had that funny sound. I didn't dig it when I first heard it, that Dixieland. But if you listen to him for a while he had that feeling. He didn't have that execution like Dizzy Gillespie.

Clifford Brown: When I was starting out I tried to sound like him. His execution thing and his phrasing were out of the book. He gave me a lot of ideas. He could do it all—that style was the way I wanted to play. I was still in Indianapolis so I never got to hear him in person. When he (Clifford) died I cried like a baby. He was only 25 years old, and he never got his due.

I've got my reward—now I've got to give some back.

Miles Davis: I used to try to play like him too—those ballads. One night he heard me at Birdland. He was sitting on the side of the stage. I had my eyes closed, and I was playing some of his licks. I looked down and saw him, and I almost passed out.

When I got off he said, "Why don't you play some of your own stuff?"

After that I stopped copying people.

Miles and Dizzy used to tell me I played too hard and too long. I should warm up before I played. Miles might take an hour before he started. It would take him that long to get his embouchure set, but it came out pure and clean.

Lee Morgan: Yeah, I was close to that crazy ___. He and I were the Young Turks at that time. He was a cocky little young cat, and he was great, exciting, spirited. He was the only cat that could frighten me. He got messed up.

Maynard Ferguson: I used to go see that guy play at Birdland. He used to play those high C's every night. Remember when Maynard had lip trouble? He went over to England to get straightened out. He's still going strong.

Wynton Marsalis: I didn't know it at the time [late 70's], but he was going to school in New York. He came to my dressing room and played all of my licks back to me, some I'd forgotten. I said, "Where did you learn to play all that?" He said, "It's all your stuff." He's the only one I've heard who could play some of the stuff on my records. I dig that lip thing he can do—(sings) yaw-yaw-ya-yaw-yaw. He's a technician, but he's stiff—I guess he can play that way if he wants to. We did a big band thing at Carnegie Hall together.

Richard Davis: I love to play with Richard—he's fantastic. I think he's teaching now. He and I made a record [Out to Lunch, Blue Note, 1964] with Eric Dolphy that was kind of advanced. That free music is not the feeling right now.

Current favorites: I like Tom Harrell—he's a nice guy. He wakes me up—he and Roy Hargrove. You think Roy sounds like me? Maybe that's the reason I like him! I like this guy Christian McBride and Benny Green—they worked with me. I love Bobby Watson—I heard him last time I was in New York. They're keeping it going.

Favorite records: One of my first records, Ready for Freddie (Blue Note, 1961). I had full control over it. That and Red Clay (CTI, 1970) were my best playing straight up. When it comes to more commercial stuff, First Light (CTI, 1971). It has some nice arrangements, and I won a Grammy. I've met all kinds of people, old and young, that like that record. I played it with feeling. Melody Maker did a discography on me.

Check this out—I've made 300 records. I started looking into it, and I found some money from these companies.

Rap: I'm entertaining ideas about doing it after I get better on my horn. Those rap cats have some crazy meters. I'll have to give it some serious thought before I do it.

Jazz education: I have students come over in the evenings. They want to play some of the fast stuff I used to play—they're in a hurry. These kids coming out of school now, they have the correct embouchure, but they don't have the strength or the time. It's hard to play the trumpet with feeling.

Chuck Mangione: —he doesn't play loud or hard, but he has that feeling. He's not trying to be hip. I used to go over to everybody's house and say, "Teach me this, teach me that." They'd show me (They'd play it on the horn.), but they didn't teach me how to execute it. They didn't take time to teach me to play it right. We used to go on the road and play with Art Blakey, Count Basie, Horace Silver in the 60's and 70's. I used to sit in with bands that were established. I learned the backgrounds, everything.

It's not like that now—it's more like a vacuum.

Wrap up: I'm glad you're doing this for the Internet so people can find out about me. I have a computer now. My wife's using it to write a book. I'm 63. I don't feel like it, and I don't look like it. I still have a lot in me.

Since I moved to California I haven't wanted to work much. I got discouraged for a while. I still don't want to work that hard, but if I can arrange to work about six months a year that's what I'll do.

I hear all these kids playing my ideas on the radio. Sometimes I have to stop and say, "Is that me?" It feels good to hear it, but people think the kids started it.

Tell the young boys to look out—Freddie Hubbard's coming back!

DAN JACOBS TRPT PRACTICE ROUTINE, 12.08 - December 26, 2008


I usually start on a low F# and either play scales up three octaves and back down, or go up and down in natural intervals.

Once in a while I'll use an exercise similar to what you're doing, one that Roger Ingram showed me. Simply starting on a middle C, slurring up an 8va, then back down. Take the horn off the lips, and then do the same thing up 1/2 step, again, I only go up to a G above high C. Then I might do some pedal tones down to a low C below low F# to loosen up.

The rest of my routine is scales, intervals and "slide-slipping" practice using tonguing and slurring. My solo on "" is an illustration of sideslipping technique in application on "Well You Needn't" - recorded about 3 or 4 years ago.

Also the video of me on myspace, soloing on flute and then on trumpet is another example.

Basically, I start with some scale, or partial like a pentatonic or something, and play around with it, then move to a different key in the middle of the pattern, then move back to the original key.

Then go to another key and do the same thing, or interject a couple of other key changes in the middle of the pattern when I feel like it. Then I might switch to doing the same thing to diminished scales, chromatics, whole-tone scales, or blues scales or whatever comes to my mind.

It's a great way to gain confidence and flexibility in jazz soloing in any key and opens me up to any idea I have that comes up on the spur of the moment in the middle of a solo.

I've showed several guys how to practice it, but most of them just stand back and go "huh?" - so maybe I've got to cut down the gradient a little when I'm teaching it.

They understand that I know what I'm doing, but that's as far as it goes. I've also started (as of about three months ago) doing isometric exercises for embouchure development.

Seems to help a lot for endurance. It's the one that Roger Ingram showed me and is described in his book.

Dan Jacobs

QUOTE: BAD ADVICE - October 8, 2007


The first time you get bad advice it's excusable; the second time, it's suspicious; the third time, it's an enemy action or you're being set up - take fast action, now!

daniel w.jacobs

(c) 2007, all rights reserved





DAN JACOBS is honored to be included on the list of "AMERICAN JAZZ TRUMPETERS" along with stellar jazz great such as Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Chris Botti, Terrance Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, Freddie Hubbard and more.

View the entire list at:

Dan has three CD that are currently available:

1. "BLUE AFTER HOURS” with Chuck Jacobs,bass; Rod Jacobs,drums; Randy Dorman, guitar.

2. "JAZZ STANDARD TIME" with Chuck Jacobs,bass; Rod Jacobs,drums; Randy Dorman, guitar.

3. "PLAY SONG"with Gerard Hagen, piano; Ernie Nunez, bass; Peter Pfiefer, drums.

CD’s can be purchased at: and

LYRICS: "SOME OF IT'S MAGIC . . . " - September 26, 2007


" by Jimmy Buffet

"Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way." - - - Jimmy Buffett

(Note: These lyrics from a "He Went To Pairs" by Jimmy Buffet say it all. - dan jacobs)

QUOTE: KNOWING IS NOT ENOUGH - September 26, 2007


"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.

~Johann von Goethe

QUOTE: SUCCESS by Bob Dylan - August 16, 2007

"There's no success like failure.

" Bob Dylan

QUOTE: LESSONS OF HISTORY - Will Durant - August 16, 2007


My final lesson of history is the same as that of Jesus.

Love one another.

You may think that's a lot of lollipop but just try it. Love is the most practical thing in the world. To love, to be kind, not to be greedy, not to be ambitious, not to be influenced by people but to think for yourself - these are all very practical things, and they will bring about a practical, happy society.

Will Durant, 1885-1981 American Philosopher, Historian and Author

QUOTE: ON PRACTICE - Pappy Mitchell - August 16, 2007


"Practice slowly and carefully, speed will come unbidden."


"Cold hearted orb that rules the night, removes the colours from our sight.

Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right, and which is an illusion."

-- "Days of Future Passed' - The Moody Blues

AESTHETICS: derivation of - November 13, 2006

Heron Derivation Dictionary derivation of the word aesthetics is given as; Gr aisthanesthai, "to perceive."

QUOTE: BEAUTY and AESTHETICS - November 12, 2006

"You can produce a piece of beauty . . . of such a magnitude that you just stop people in their tracks! You can blow away and erase their anger, hate, discomfort or anything else with an aesthetic." -Ron Hubbard

QUOTE: BE WHO YOU ARE - November 12, 2006

"It's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you aren't." - author unknown

QUOTE: ON IMAGINATION - Einstein - November 3, 2006

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited.
Imagination encircles the world." ~ Albert Einstein

ADVERSITY INTO ADVANTAGE by Dan Jacobs - October 28, 2006


Here's the musical anecdote that illustrates this great concept of turning adversity into advantage:

So I was playing this concert at a performing arts center with the Truth In Jazz Orchestra." I'm was playing a feature on, the Bobby Shew's great tune, "Nadalin," during the concert.

On the very first phrase, my second valve stuck down completely! I frantically pull it up while continuing to play the melody and sound halfway decent at the same time. It just does not loosen up.

It continues sticking at least every other note or so and now I'm into the solo section of the tune. Yikes! I'm trying to play a solo and figure out a way not to use this valve at the same time (very limiting as you can imagine).

The crowd (a full house) is now getting the idea that there is something very wrong, as every chance I get, I'm literally pulling the offending valve stem back up each time I play a note that requires it.

Then I glance over to my stage right and one of the other trumpeters is standing there behind the curtain attempting to stay out of view of the audience while trying to hand me another horn.

Between phrases, I grabbed the other horn, switched the mouthpiece to the new horn and continued with the tune without missing a beat.

I admit of a brief moment of fear wondering if I had jumped from the frying pan to the fire as it's adventurous indeed to pick up another horn in the middle of a challenging performance! Happily, the horn worked perfectly and I dove into the next solo section with renewed intensity.

This brought the house down as prompting me to kick it into high gear for the rest of the solo and the big cadenza at the end, finishing on a high F#.

The audience loved it, giving me a standing ovation!

After the concert people were coming up saying it was so thrilling, they got chills up their spine and enjoyed it more than anything they've heard or seen and that they would never forget it!

Now that's turning adversity into advantage, and one way to get them to remember my performance . . . I'm even thinking of adding it as a regular part of the show! - Dan Jacobs

QUOTE ON LIVING: Einstein - October 19, 2006

"There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle." ~ Albert Einstein


Miles Davis perhaps put it best when he said that "nobody could play anything that Armstrong hadn't already played."


Yogi Berra Explains Jazz

Interviewer: "What do expect is in store for the future of jazz guitar?"
Yogi: "I'm thinkin' there'll be a group of guys who've never met talkin' about it all the time."

Interviewer: Can you explain jazz?
Yogi: I can't, but I will. 90% of all jazz is half improvisation. The other half is the part people play while others are playing something they never played with anyone who played that part. So if you play the wrong part, its right. If you play the right part, it might be right if you play it wrong enough. But if you play it too right, it's wrong.

Interviewer: I don't understand.
Yogi: Anyone who understands jazz knows that you can't understand it. It's too complicated. That's what's so simple about it.

Interviewer: Do you understand it?
Yogi: No. That's why I can explain it. If I understood it, I wouldn't know anything about it.

Interviewer: Are there any great jazz players alive today?
Yogi: No. All the great jazz players alive today are dead. Except for the ones that are still alive. But so many of them are dead, that the ones that are still alive are dying to be like the ones that are dead. Some would kill for it.

Interviewer: What is syncopation?
Yogi: That's when the note that you should hear now happens either before or after you hear it. In jazz, you don't hear notes when they happen because that would be some other type of music. Other types of music can be jazz, but only if they're the same as something different from those other kinds.

Interviewer: Now I really don't understand.
Yogi: I haven't taught you enough for you to not understand jazz that well.

by Yogi Berra

QUOTE: ON EXPLANATIONS - September 11, 2006

Never Explain - your Friends do not need it and your Enemies will not believe you anyway. Elbert Hubbard

QUOTE: ON FRIENDSHIPS by Randolph S. Bourne - September 10, 2006

Good friendships are fragile things and require as much care as any
other fragile and precious thing.

-- Randolph S. Bourne (1886-1918) American Writer
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