Category Archives: Uncategorized

I am trying to stay positive but…

Prepare yourself for negative Jen. Here is a giant fluffy bunny to counteract any negativity.

I am struggling after hearing the news that The Jazz Standard, one of the best jazz clubs in NYC, is closing.

I’m asked a lot by friends how I’m doing. How I’m surviving. “Can’t you teach?” I’m expected to keep my chops up and be ready for…..what exactly?

Musicians are a hearty bunch. We weather all sorts of storms. We pivot when we must but always drop anything for a gig. We are constantly chasing success… and the happiness is in the chase. The hang. Even the slog. When you’re on you’re fourth Radio City show of the day or the first show of the week or the 10:30 set at the Django, the familiar faces and prospect of making music is enough to get us through most situations.

COVID has robbed us of our chase. And now it’s robbing us of our space. The Jazz Standard closing felt like a gut punch that you knew was coming but still couldn’t brace for. I heard so much music there, played so much music there, ate so many meats there.

Imagine something taking your career away and having to watch while pieces are slowly dismantled and destroyed.

It’s death by a thousand cuts.

Last night, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting was on TV. I wanted to scream. How dare they pretend like ANYTHING is normal? How dare they stand there without masks on? How dare they live like my world isn’t on fire?

I know. The entertainment industry will survive in some form. As the Broadway League of Producers salivate over being able to chip away at our contracts next year, I’m sure we won’t be on the winning side.

As you all consider what you want to spend money on this year, think about where your life would be without music. If you had no Spotify or Apple Music or Amazon to stream. What would you think about in that silence?

BUY MUSIC. If you have a job, BUY MUSIC. And if you buy music already, please support causes that are helping live music venues and artists right now.

My industry is dying and the only people that can save it are the fans.

Read Emily Olcott’s love letter to The Jazz Standard here on
Read NPR’s article about the club closing

Here are some worthy causes to donate to:
LOGO Save NYC Musicians #1.pngSmallsLIVE Foundation logo

Here are some projects you can support:
Andrew Gutauskas Look Out! | Andrew Gutauskas (
Artemis Artemis – Artemis – Artemis – Music
Uptown Jazz Tentet Uptown Jazz Tentet – Store
South Florida Jazz Orchestra South Florida Jazz Orchestra – Cheap Thrills: The Music Of Rick Margitza – Music
Black Art Jazz Collective BLACK ART JAZZ COLLECTIVE – Ascension – Music
Marshall Gilkes CDs and Downloads (

Destructive Tendencies in Playing and Practicing

I am guilty. I confess. Most days, I hate how I play. It’s been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember. I have realized that it isn’t a healthy attitude and though it does occasionally rear it’s ugly head, I thought I might share how I learned to deal with it. 



We can all recognize that negative self talk is detrimental to progress. The first step to surviving and moving past these thoughts is compartmentalizing them. Take the negative thought when it occurs and put it away – you are going to revisit it later. Continue through your practice/rehearsal/gig as normal. You don’t want to be that person on a live gig who screws up and then draws attention to yourself further with a look on your face or a gesture of frustration. 
When you are done, examine these thoughts. Your initial reaction might have been negative but what can you learn from your mistake(s)?  I can now make mistakes and move on pretty unscathed on live gigs but I’m still working on this while practicing. 

Continue reading Destructive Tendencies in Playing and Practicing

Stress Ball!

When I was young, Christmas was a big deal in my house. And when it was all over, my Dad would get really down. You know, you had this huge event with an enormous build up and then it’s just….over.

I never really  understood what was going on until I experienced it firsthand. Whenever I have done a big event in music or Triathlon, I get pretty down afterwards. The stress of getting ready for an important performance (or an Ironman!) has to go somewhere after the gig. For me, it turns into aches and pains and the blues. Continue reading Stress Ball!

Try To Fail

I am a stubborn person but I’m never as stubborn as when people tell me I can’t do something. That’s how I became a professional trombonist – my whole family told me I couldn’t and I did it just to prove them wrong. I did an Ironman triathlon (140.6 miles) a year after having hip surgery just because someone said I might want to consider not running anymore. That’s how freaking stubborn I am. 

Continue reading Try To Fail