We still have 6 days to get the most out of Jazz Appreciation Month.
Our Take: Staying Appreciative
As We Wait to Get Out of This JAM
If you had a birthday, anniversary or any special celebration in April, it is likely that the event was anywhere from disappointing to very sad. No going out to your favorite restaurant, joining friends for a drink or even shopping for a gift. Online shopping for a special occasion is tantamount to a typewritten thank you note. Yes, it conveys the message, but the coldness of the gesture becomes the real story.
Paula and I celebrated our 7th Wedding Anniversary last week. We picked up food at our favorite restaurant, enjoyed a nice bottle of wine, ate dinner in our dining room and then watched a movie. It was wonderful, except for the fact that this is precisely what we did the night before and the weekend before that. Had we watched Groundhog Day, our reality would have been complete.
The next day was lovely, so we sat outside and listened to music. It was then that I realized that I had missed most of Jazz Appreciation Month. For obvious reasons, that is one celebration that I take seriously. We usually go to our jazz club at least twice, enjoy replays of our cruises on SiriusXM’s Real Jazz and Watercolors channels and take in as many online or on-air JAM events as possible. Not this year. Yes, there were some events that we could have viewed or streamed, but there was “no joy” to be found.
That feeling has now passed. Through a long list of little efforts, contributions and acts of kindness, it was once again solidified that our jazz community should be the model for the country and the world in terms of attitude and commitment. Many musicians created videos or tributes to our cruise guests, SiriusXM Executive Trinity played our music from The Jazz Cruise on Real Jazz and hundreds of guests sent emails thanking us for keeping the music and good vibes going during these troubled times.
Even the sadness of several deaths of great jazz musicians was meaningful. By remembering them, we were able to delve into the deep history of jazz and, once again, allow the decades of great music to wash over us and invigorate our hearts and souls. The world looks a lot less evil and distraught when you accept that this same world produces such great music. The metaphor of the “bandstand” explains it all.
Everyone on the bandstand is capable of playing a solo and doing so is exciting for both the musician and the audience, but the solo is only significant when juxtaposed to the sound of the band playing together. Each has a place and each needs the other to flourish. In the midst of all the turmoil surrounding us, the interplay of the solo and the band — the sharing of the bandstand for the united purpose of creating music and the joy that each musician feels whether they are listening to another’s performance, joining in with the group or taking off on their own — constitutes the various aspects of our lives.
As alluded to above, this was almost the worst Jazz Appreciation Month I have ever experienced. But, thanks to the deeds of others, I was reminded that I was supposed to “appreciate” this month and that enjoying the wonders of “jazz” is the best conduit for doing so. Play on!
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.
Keep Tuning In to Great Music
Maysa’s Kitchen Karaoke
We’ve been very impressed with the creativity of artists in presenting their music and ideas from their homes and other sheltered places. One of our favorites is Maysa’s “Kitchen Karaoke” in which the magnificent vocalist sings along with a host of different soul and pop tunes, all from her kitchen with all that natural reverb.
The charismatic Maysa, who will be sailing on The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’21: All-Star Edition, is no ordinary singer, so we’re getting a stellar one-hour-plus concert every week on Facebook Live. You can tune in every Sunday at 7:30 p.m. EDT or you can catch the sets later on her Facebook page. We’re not alone in admiring Maysa’s talents. The last show has already had 75,000 views. Step aside, James Corden.
Bria Skonberg Live Online
We’re excited to have the dynamic trumpeter and singer Bria Skonberg sailing with us on The Jazz Cruise in 2021. You can experience her talent and charisma for yourself thanks to her Facebook Live Chats on Sundays at 11 a.m. EDT and Wednesdays at 4 p.m. EDT. She plays a little, talks a little and entertains a lot. We’re proud to share tomorrow’s chat-and-play by Bria with you.
SFJAZZ’s Fridays at Five
Rather than present shows by artists from their own homes, our friends at SFJAZZ have opted to present a webcast series of previous concerts at their venues. They call the series “Fridays at Five” and the concerts are free to members or for a small fee for non-members to enjoy the shows as well as to support SFJAZZ’s excellent education programs.
The next three shows are: Snarky Puppy (May 1); Joe Lovano: Trioism with Bill Frisell, Tyshawn Sorey, Marilyn Crispell & Carmen Castaldi (May 8); and Monsieur Periné (May 15). Learn more at sfjazz.org/watch.