“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”
Our Take: The Art of Patience
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” I have no idea who is the author of this bromide or how I first heard it, but when it comes to when we will be able to listen and see live music again, the saying is right on point. We have no choice but to wait, but how we go about the waiting will define us.
July 4th was my prediction. Back in March, around the time the World Heath Organization first declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic, I courageously, and foolishly, told everyone that we would be okay by July 4th. I did not know that the virus would impact Americans so severely. I thought that Independence Day 2020 would include Freedom from COVID-19. I was wrong.
The toll of lost American-based music festivals — including Berks Jazz Fest, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, SFJazz’s events and Monterey Jazz Festival — continues to mount as well. You see hints of optimism here and there. There is even a 20-plus-year jazz cruise company planning big shows in Las Vegas in late February and early March of 2021. That would be us!
Folks have asked us if we have a crystal ball or are we spitballing. As we have shared, we are very hopeful that we can present those programs, but we will do so if, and only if, it can be done safely and filled with great music. There will be no half measures.
Right now, our music plays on through streaming on Facebook Live, YouTube and other similar means. Most of these presentations have been very well done, very entertaining and a welcomed diversion. I remain certain, however, that everyone reading this note right now is sad and hungry to be back as part of an audience, standing on a bandstand or producing a show. For most of us, not doing these activities is unnatural to the point of being frightening.
We spend a great deal of time interacting with the various jazz festivals, organizations and clubs. We share notes about current musicians, trends in the genre and, of course, help each other with marketing opportunities. If you are a regular reader of this column, you will note that we tout many shows, both live on online, recording releases, festivals and almost any event in the world of jazz in The Weekender. We do not charge for that service and we welcome almost everyone with a story to tell. Our only filter is whether the music being lauded is within the four corners of jazz and of a quality commensurate with our other programming. In fact, if you know of an event, show or presentation seeking exposure, give us a call (euphemism for email) and we will seriously consider it for publication.
Have you guessed, as yet, what is the direction of this piece? I am testing you for your level of patience! Sadly, there is not a lot going on in our world of jazz right now, certainly nothing that grabbed my attention this week, so this is a good time to judge whether you can “keep a good attitude while waiting” for me to say something worthwhile. Some will argue that vigil began many editions ago. I accept that, and, if you are still reading my notes, then you must have a “good attitude while waiting!”
Actually, and honestly, the passing of July 4th has tested whether I have any patience at all. I know what we are supposed to be doing. I am following every guideline and restriction. We are planning for jazz programs on land in Las Vegas in 2021 and back to cruising in 2022. Somewhere between “knowing it will be okay” to “hoping it will be okay” is where I am right now. Watching the constant stream of reservations for our Las Vegas shows proves to me that whether jazz fans know or hope that better times are around the corner, they certainly are betting on it!
I would promise that this will be my last attempt at “Vegas” humor, but the cards are stacked against that. Deal with it.
Our Take is written by Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of The Jazz Cruise, The Smooth Jazz Cruise and Blue Note at Sea. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Booking Is Live! Reservations Are Exceeding Expectations!
As noted above, a constant stream of reservations has been coming in since Open Booking began this week for our two amazing jazz events in 2021 in Las Vegas! Hundreds of past cruise guests and an exciting number of folks who have never sailed with us have secured their Suites at the Encore Resort in Las Vegas.
For all of the details, including the special shows, event packages and our Health and Safety Plan, check out the newly launched website for your desired event:
Please know that our total capacity for each of the two events is 1,000 guests. When the reservations reach that mark, we must close the process.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Our decision to move forward with this program is predicated upon our ability to operate the program in a healthy and safe manner, while providing the type of jazz experience that our guests have come to expect. Since the program is about 8 months away, making that judgment now is very difficult. And, though we are optimistic as to the likelihood of making this work, it would be foolish not to recognize the risks. Please know that if, at any time, we believe that the program is not feasible, we will announce our decision not to go forward and guests will receive a full refund within three (3) days of the announcement.
Join Us Tonight for an Amazing Show
Two of the most accomplished, talented and respected artists in our cruise family are set to sail into your living room tonight for an amazing online concert. Hosted by Alonzo Bodden and presented by The Smooth Jazz Cruise, Jonathan Butler’s Nelson Mandela Birthday Tribute Concert will stream live from JB’s home in Los Angeles at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET at www.facebook.com/JonathanButlerMusic.
Honoring the legacy of Nelson Mandela, tonight’s musical journey will feature songs from Jonathan’s start as a child star in South Africa right up to the present. Jonathan will also reflect on his meetings with “Madiba” and how what he learned can help us improve the world today.
Jonathan and Alonzo are fixtures on all of our smooth jazz programs, and we can’t wait to see them together tonight. The next time you can see these two stars together (in person!) will be February 28 – March 5, 2021, when The Smooth Jazz Cruise “docks’ in Las Vegas for 5-Days and 5-Nights of fun.
We hope you join Jonathan and Alonzo tonight, in Vegas in 2021 and back at sea in 2022!
Want More Alonzo? Or Course You Do!
He’s Back Live Online Tomorrow Night
Just like musicians, comedians who also rely on touring for their living are finding fun ways to keep the creative juices flowing and the good times going. Our favorite comedian, Alonzo Bodden, is set for a live online show at 9 p.m. ET tomorrow, July 19, in the Nowhere Comedy Club.
In this online comedy club, Alonzo will deliver the jokes, but it will be on you to handle the food and drink service. Tickets start at $20 and give you access to the Zoom chat for the show. We’ll be there, just not in the front row.
Click here for more information and to get tickets.
Blue Note New York Announces
Live From Stage Series
Blue Note Entertainment Group is shifting its storied Greenwich Village venue in NYC into the “new normal” with a new series called, Blue Note Streaming Live. The series will feature renowned jazz artists performing live from the Blue Note New York stage, without a sitting audience.
Blue Note Streaming Live will launch with trumpeter Maurice “Mobetta” Brown as part of a six-piece band for a jazz set produced live from the Blue Note New York stage and streamed to audiences worldwide on July 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The all-star band will include Chelsea Baratz, James Francies, Joe Blaxx, Parker McAllister, and Nir Felder.
The series will be accessible at www.bluenotelive.com and tickets will be $10 each. Ticket holders will receive a personal stream link in their purchase confirmation, where they can access the stream at the time and date of the show.
Monterey Jazz Festival to Present
Virtual Festival in September
Our friends at the Monterey Jazz Festival are doing a little pivoting themselves by presenting a virtual festival featuring historic archival and exclusive new performances. The content will be streamed on the Monterey Jazz Festival YouTube channel starting at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET on September 25-27, which were the original dates for the 2020 festival.
The festival is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the streamed events to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and to the jazz artists featured at the virtual festival. The featured artists and performances will be announced beginning on Tuesday, July 21.