What Plato said ...

"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the

universe, wings to the mind, flight to the

imagination, and charm and gaiety to life

and to everything."


Gabriel (L) with Brian Simpson and Dave Koz (R) (others unidentified)

What business can learn from Jazz Musicians

This is a June 18, 2013 article by Josh Linkner from Inc.com. thanks for repost permission   http://m.inc.com/?incid=48954

I tried to post the link earlier, but it didn't seem to open correctly, so here is is in full form...

Jazz musicians are agile and dynamic. They are gracious--but not shy.  Here's what you can take from the stage to the board room.

Some people would introduce me as a venture capitalist, since I run a venture firm in Detroit. Others might reference me as an entrepreneur, given that I've founded four technology companies. I guess these people wouldn't be wrong in their verbiage, but it's not an introduction I prefer.

Instead, I'd rather be deemed a jazz musician. After decades of training, countless hours of practice, and a whole host of gigs nationwide, jazz is my passion--and its something that has benefitted all other aspects of my life tremendously. While on the surface it would seem that jazz musicianship is the polar opposite of running a business, the two practices are linked in numerous ways.

Just as you'd learn a great deal from a trusted advisor, so too can non-traditional sources help you to expand your knowledge base. Jazz musicians are agile and dynamic, carrying their group's song and themes through the diversified landscape to the end. Quite frankly, I don't know anyone better to provide leadership advice than a professional jazz player for this very reason. Here are some powerful takeaways I've picked up along the way from incredible musician leaders--let these lessons shine at your business, and your cube will get a lot swankier.

1. Playing it safe gets you tossed off the stage. Some executives would say that in today's turbulent economy, takings risks isn't wise. If you don't take risks you'll never excel. Playing it safe all the time becomes the most dangerous move of all.

2. There are no do-overs in live performances. For every hour in a "performance" setting, you should spend five hours practicing. Athletes do this, musicians do this--muscle memory is no different in the board room, in front of a new client, or with your team. So why aren't you doing this?

3. Listening to those around you is three times more important than what you play yourself. If you're the one talking all the time, you're not learning anything. Listen, absorb what you hear, and use the information to make a conscious choice about whatever you're facing.

4. There's a time to stand out as a soloist and a time to support others and make them shine. You rocked a project--nicely done. Praise is well-deserved. However, as a leader, it's more likely the case that your team members rocked a project, together. Susie was on top of her game with the slide deck? Tell her--and tell the client. Johnny couldn't have articulated

the challenge to the press any more astutely? Refer back to his commentary as a stellar example. When you can share the wealth, everyone wins.

5. Expect surprises and adversity, since jazz (and life) is about how you respond and adapt. If running a business was always smooth sailing, everyone would do it. That being said, the old adage explains that "a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." Anticipate hurdles and maximize your team's effort to jump over them.

6. Know your audience. If you're playing for a group that's looking forward to something slow and calming and you get on stage and play a wild and crazy, upbeat riff, nobody will dig it--even if it's a well-crafted piece. Your customers are the same. If you're not working to provide them with something they want and need, you're doomed to fail.

7. It's always better leaving people wanting more, rather than less. Of course as you live and breathe your business, you have a visceral urge to share every piece of minutia with anyone who asks. Don't. Instead of pouring it all on at once, give people a teaser, so they crave the next bit you explain. In similar fashion, don't try and launch 15 products at once for a new line; start with one or two to get people begging for more.

8. The best leaders are those that make others sound good. Big band leaders bring out the best in their troupes--during a sax solo, his job is to make sure the drum line supports the sax player with a quality backdrop to make the riff shine especially bright. Are you putting these pieces together on your team? Where could someone excel that they're being held back? Shatter those boundaries and encourage creativity to soar.

9. Pattern recognition is easier than raw genius. If you drive the same way to work every day for a year, you're bound to learn about--and avoid--the pothole on Main Street that you pass each time. Jazz is no different; if you've played combinations countless times, it becomes second nature to pair new things together based on previous patterns. So too in business, seasoned executives and professionals have seen so many types of people, deals, projects, and processes, so it becomes much easier for them to avoid these proverbial potholes, rather than having to start from scratch every time.

10. Shy musicians are starving artists. If you're playing a gig, you get paid when there's butts in seats, so you can't be shy in telling people about the upcoming show. Why haven't you been this bold in your new product launch? Are your employees evangelical about your company's culture? Are your vendors singing your praises?

11. Keeping it new and fresh is mandatory. Jazz has its roots in real-time, collaborative innovation, just like the act of starting and growing companies. If you're not actively seeking new challenges and ways to expand your horizons, you are automatically falling behind.

Legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck put it best, and his words resonate not only on stage for musicians but also in life for business leaders. As he so eloquently described it, "There's a way of playing safe, there's a way of using tricks and there's the way I like to play, which is dangerously, where you're going to take a chance on making mistakes in order to create something you haven't created before."

Freddie Hubbard Rochester  NY 1976

When I am on tour, people always ask about Vancouver....

People always ask about beautiful Vancouver, BC, and an acquaintance from Texas asked me to help plan his trip there.

He's from a hot place, so I told him Vancouver has relatively cool and wet weather, so he may appreciate the change... 

If you are driving, a gps would be very helpful, too.

Typically, there's not really much live music in Vancouver. The Jazz Festival is just winding up on July 1.

The entertainment area is called Granville Strip, downtown. The FanClub is cool.

Hotels downtown can be pricey, but for a boutique experience, try the Wedgewood Hotel. If you want budget, try the Ramada near the PNE, below, which is about 15 minutes from the downtown core, but easy access to the North Shore, etc.

Local jazz is www.CellarJazz.com  It is on the west side, and has great food and live music, so it ties in perfectly with a day of sightseeing at Jericho Beach 

Also on the far west side is the Museum of Anthropology, a close stop to Jericho and Jazz Cellar. More museums as well.

Kits Beach is just east and is nice, more populated, and right near the downtown core (see all) . You can see across the water to English Bay, which is downtown... lots of strolling area and the south entrance to Stanley Park.
You will want to check out Stanley Park, so don't forget to at least drive around that massive downtown park, accessible from a few different points. If you have a few hours you can walk all or part of the great seawall there. There are gardens and concessions and a waterpark, too. See pics.

Capilano Suspension Bridge is on North Shore of Vancouver (across the Lions Gate Bridge from Stanley Park downtown). Really great attraction. Also on the North Shore, near Cap Bridge is the Grouse Mtn Gondola, where you can see EVERYTHING. 

A free smaller version of Cap Bridge is nearby: Lynn Canyon Park. After that (you'd be heading east now), and while still on the North Shore, you can drive all along the inlet to Deep Cove. There are two routes, take Dollarton Hwy (most scenic) or Mt Seymour Parkway. These routes  start near the Iron Worker's Bridge (Second Narrows). At the end of either drive is a small village with restaurants, etc., and stellar views of the Cove and mountains.

When you come back you can cross over the Second Narrows Bridge to the east side of the city, which is the border between Vancouver and Burnaby. As soon as you cross the bridge you are at The PNE, where there are fairgrounds, concerts, and rides.

There are lots of restaurants in Vancouver, but if you want a generous portion pasta meal not far from the PNE, is Anton's Pasta Bar.  Good sized portions and always popular. 5 or 6 pm arrival will beat the line up. There are SO MANY restaurants everywhere, and some adventurous dining experiences in Chinatown, at the east and north end of Downtown.

Further east about 10 minutes is Burnaby Mtn, a scenic drive up a full fledged mountain, with totem poles and a university at the top. There are a few great restaurants there like Horizons...

Once off the mtn, you could take another scenic drive east along the Barnet Highway, with Marine Park along the way, but no major destination at the end, except nice communities called Port Moody,Coquitlam, and Port Coquitlam.

Well that's my quick Travel Guide. I am sure I left out lots of great stuff, but this is the Coles Notes version!

 Hope you have a great visit.....

best regards,


Great new review of Kissed By The Sun!

Gabriel Mark Hasselbach    -    Kissed By The Sun   5/3

O's Notes: Gabriel is back with another funky contemporary jazz album, collaboration with Jeff Lorber (keys, g, b). In addition Brian Bromberg (b), Chuck Loeb (g), Rock Hendricks (sax) and Rob Tardik (g) all make guest appearances. Hasselbach plays trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone and flute. He soars, soothes and keeps the melodies crisp. They waste no time getting down to business with the opener "King James", the first of ten cuts that sizzle. Gabriel and company are energized and when you plug this one in you too will be Kissed By The Sun!

D. Oscar  Groomes 
O's Place Jazz Magazine
P.O. Box 38430
Charlotte, NC 28278

Smooth Groove Phoenix radio station

I am doing an interview right now with Ron Halloway (his show is 'The Vibe') and Michael Lyles (his show is Smooth Jazz On The Rocks). Both are with Smooth Groove Phoenix Radio (KSGR-DB). 
Got to be good buds over drinks and a pool party last week, and after the studio session winds up today we are hitting the Jazz Clubs together....
Check out the station on your internet station tuner, or on your phone radio streamer...

l-r:  Ron, me, Michael

Foodies and bar hoppers! This also addresses why jazz clubs have become extinct...

I am sharing this because I am a foodie of sorts, and tend to eat out on all levels... from street tacos in Mexico to high end hotels. I tend to be more frugal when heading out, but the equation is still includes quality, quantity, location, price, service, and ambience. It is fun to go to every corner of that hex now and then, but the taste buds and stomach don't lie! When it comes to restaurants, the correlation between price and enjoyment can seem low to non-existent. For every great meal that justifies a splurge, how many other restaurants serve up food that can't beat a favorite deli or regular takeout place? My wife's cooking beats most restaurants I have ever been, so staying home is an attractive option, too.

Often we pay higher prices at a restaurant for the experience. Or to eat in a venue appropriately "nice" for the occasion. But if you're just interested in getting the best food for your money, it helps to think about the economics of the restaurant biz from the owners' perspective. 

Drinks focused or food focused?

The best profit margins in the restaurant industry come from drinks. Beverages offer 80%profit margins or more in a business where 4% or lower margins are common. That's why they represent, on average, 30% of restaurants' revenues.

Dunkin Donuts recently relabelled itself a "beverages company," acknowledging that revenue-wise, it is actually in the coffee business. Without admitting it, many restaurants are an overpriced drinks company in disguise. While restaurants could use profits from drinks to subsidize great food (or live music), you need to be on the lookout for restaurants that lavish their time and money on bartenders, unique drink menus, and a venue that makes you feel okay about spending $12 for a cocktail, unless it supports live entertainment, which trumps all the little reasons we go the high road....

Are you paying for the food or the location?

When a restaurateur opens up on a prominent street corner, they are paying much higher rent in exchange for the regular stream of foot traffic that they expect to wander into their restaurant. A restaurant out in the boonies is betting that their dishes are delicious enough to lure in customers. Which do you think offers a better deal?

As we covered in our 4,000 word epic on food trucks, this explains why food trucks often offer great deals and more creative dishes: their lack of rent both allows and forces them to experiment and create unique offerings. As pointed out by economist Tyler Cowen in The Atlantic, this is also why strip malls are actually a great place to look for exceptional food, although exceptional is so darn subjective. I'll aim for succulent food, great ambience and timely service, and LIVE MUSIC any day...

Eat where the foodies live

Investors in restaurants caution each other that "Demographics is destiny in the restaurant business." So, a restaurant should fit the type of customers who live or work nearby. Drawing from the drinks principle, that means you should avoid downtown and any office-laden area, as those restaurants will tend to cater to the after work drink crowd. It also means that residential neighborhoods, and not trendy areas full of bars, are your friend, at least for getting the best deal on your food.

Unsurprisingly, this also means that restaurants usually match the style of the neighborhood. Don't go to the crunchy-granola part of town for a steak, and, if you want authentic ethnic food, seek out the areas where recent immigrants from those places live.

There are many more ways to apply economics to being a foodie. In the course of writing this post, this author discovered that the aforementioned Tyler Cowen has many of them covered. Check out his "frugal economist does foodie" rules here.

This post was appended by me, but written by Alex Mayyasi. Follow him on Twitter here or Google Plus

The bright stars begin to fade....

When musicians / performers start out, it is such a thrill to get that fan base aligned, and they come from a place of gratitude.

But when they get big, they think they're 'all that' and start treating fans like doormats, with needlessly late shows and general B.S. Here is some abusive crap from Rihanna on a recent show. WTF?


Count your blessings musicians! Keep it humble and in gratitude.

Spectacle vs Substance

At one time personal and intrinsic skills were highly valued and in demand. Once, 'handmade' was a positive term...

In industry, those higher values have been relegated to cheap knockoffs, sweatshops, high profit margins, and the use of machines to mass 'emulate' artisan skills.....

In the movie industry, thoughtful and arguably important 'small' productions are usually trampled by tentpole blockbusters valued by the number of explosions, blood spills, and sex scenes. Exceptional writing, acting and cinematography are often overshadowed by a billion anonymous keystrokes in a cgi lab.

In the music world or any of the arts fields, hard earned and impassioned personal skills seem to only gain wide public attention if wrapped in a swath of hoopla, fireworks, light shows, hit producers, or in a bevy of hot dancers. The truest artistry is often lost or under exposed to the point of extinction, mostly because appreciation skills are never taught and because the 'bottom line' has become the deciding factor in which skillful nuance will live to see the light of day (read: can be mass marketed).

As much as artists and supporters hope against hope that society will save the day, it's not much to hang one's hat on.

Only a groundswell of proactive believers with a true sense of value could ever possibly turn this around......

Are you one?