Albeit different from most years, we are approaching Award Season. The Grammy Awards, Oscars and more fill television time during the first weeks and months of the year. Known and beloved more for the pageantry than the resolution of the contested categories, these shows attract large audiences and can make or break a career, particularly that of the host.
From our vantage point, the Grammys are the most interesting. The plight of jazz in the Grammys has been fascinating to watch. The 1st Annual Grammy Awards, held on May 4, 1959, recognized 28 categories and 9 were won by who we would call today, jazz folks. Henry Mancini’s The Music from Peter Gunn won two, as did Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie. The other three winners were Billy May’s Big Fat Brass, Keely Smith and Louis Prima’s That Old Black Magic and Frank Sinatra’s Only The Lonely.
Before us jazz fans get too proud, guess who won the most Grammys that year with three? Hint: Not only were they not jazz players, they were not even human beings. The answer is at the very bottom of this edition of The Weekender!
Perhaps this was an omen, for jazz cats continued to dominate the awards for years. Miles, Herbie, Chick, Duke, Moody, Stan, Wes, Dee Dee, Kurt, Cannonball, Oscar … and other one-name standouts, along with Bill Evans, Gary Burton, Michael Brecker, Phil Woods and so many others dominated the ceremonies for many years. In 2014, jazz scribe and raconteur Neil Tesser won a Grammy for Best Liner Notes — now that is a category that has gone the way of the dodo bird and pay phones.
The 2021 Grammys, now scheduled for March 14, will present only 5 Jazz categories, just one more than Rap! Our cruise family is well represented with Kurt Elling, Christian Scott, Gerald Clayton, Regina Carter, Chick Corea, Joshua Redman, John Pizzarelli, Robert Glasper and Christian McBride all gathering nominations. Sadly, the jazz awards are seldom, if ever, shown during the televised broadcast, a relegation that further diminishes our ability to share our jazz world with others. Every so often — Herbie Hancock (Album of the Year in 2008) and Esperanza Spalding (Best New Artist in 2011) — a jazz performer takes home a major award. Too often the noteworthy aspect of the feat is its rareness or shock. After all, Esperanza beat out Justin Bieber! A crowning example of the exception proving the rule.
Just because jazz is not likely to be a part of the network television broadcast on CBS doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy that part of the awards ceremony. A few years ago, the Recording Academy upgraded the production of the pre-telecast ceremony to make it more like a real TV show, albeit one that is streamed online at grammy.com. Many of our favorite jazz artists — including Kurt Elling, Esperanza Spalding, René Marie and Bobby McFerrin — have hosted that ceremony that features jazz alongside classical, blues, folk, gospel and other niche music genres. The Grammy Awards ceremony is on March 14 and that pre-telecast version usually starts around 2 p.m. ET. We’ll be sure to share more details when they’re announced.
But, regardless of what category our favorite musicians are in or whether or not they receive their award on camera, winning a Grammy is a big deal. I cannot remember the last time I heard a Grammy winner, particularly a multi-Grammy winner, being announced or introduced other than as so and so number Grammy winner or a so and so number Grammy nominee. It is a title that bestows acceptance, confirms worth and separates the recipient from those still seeking to join the club.
Like all awards, there are some flukes, one song wonders or flat out mistakes. The lists of Heisman Trophy winners, PGA Championship winners and even MLB Most Valuable Players have some clunkers and a few “how did they win” folks. But once you have won one, you are a Grammy winner for life.
So who won those three Grammy Awards in the first ceremony back in 1959? Remember, this prolific trio took home more trophies that night than Henry Mancini, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie. You will find out at the very bottom of this email!
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.
Setting Our Sights on 4 Weeks at Sea in ’22
As we set out with high hopes for the New Year, we are excited to be back in the office working on the programming for what will be an amazing 4 weeks of jazz at sea in 2022. Since we are approaching the one-year mark before we sail again, we thought it would be a good time to provide a comprehensive rundown on each program, all sailing on the fully renovated Celebrity Summit:
The Jazz Cruise ’22 » Jan. 17 – 24, 2022
» Sailing to Aruba and Curacao
» Featuring 100+ musicians, including 4 NEA Jazz Masters
» More than 80% reserved, but some Balcony Staterooms remain available
The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’22: Back to Sea » Jan. 24 – 31, 2022
» Sailing to Costa Maya, Cozumel and Nassau
» Featuring Special Guests George Benson & David Sanborn
» 75% reserved, but some Balcony Staterooms remain available
Historically, once a cruise program reaches these levels of reservations, they proceed to “sell out” very quickly. Here are a couple additional reasons why now is the time to complete your reservation:
Reminder to Past Guests — The Special Past Guest Pricing & Benefits you have earned expire on January 31. Just give us a call for all the details.
Reminder for Everyone — Our No Deposit, No Interest Payment Plans also expire at the end of this month. You may select the 10-month schedule beginning February 1; or quarterly schedule with your 4 equal payments beginning on February 15.
Click here or call us at 888.852.9987 for all the details about The Jazz Cruise ’22, including the incredible lineup of more than 100 of the world’s very best straight-ahead jazz musicians, pricing and additional cruise details.
Click here or call us at 844.616.6279 for all the details about the 3 Sailings of The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’22, including the star-studded lineups featuring the largest number of Artists ever, pricing and additional cruise details.
Health & Safety Requirements for Sailing in ’22
Some guests with reservations on our 2022 jazz programs have asked what will be expected of them in terms of Health & Safety Requirements to be able to board their cruises when they sail in January or February of next year. Suffice it to say, all our cruises and guests will be required to fully comply with any and all requirements imposed by the cruise line or any governmental agency or entity that has jurisdiction.
Clearly, it is too early to definitively outline the procedures for boarding. Information will be shared as received, but we do believe that proof of vaccination will very likely be a requirement for cruising. Doing so would seem to be prudent for everyone.
The Jazz Cruise: Conversations LIVE
After a short holiday hiatus, The Jazz Cruise: Conversations LIVE will return on Wednesday, January 13, with an interview of Christian McBride by Alonzo Bodden.
This series of live online jazz chats will continue every other week with the following stars:
Jan. 27: Paquito D’Rivera with Ken Peplowski
Feb. 10: Niki Haris with Ann Hampton Callaway
Feb. 24: Bria Skonberg with Jennifer Wharton
You can see all of The Jazz Cruise: Conversations Live interviews on our YouTube page or you can listen to them as podcasts on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
We hope you tune in at 8pm ET on Wednesday for Christian McBride LIVE on The Jazz Cruise’sFacebook and YouTube pages!
Ken Peplowski & Rossano Sportiello
Play the Music of Lady Day
Tonight The Jazz Cruise’s own Ken Peplowski travels to the Keystone Korner Baltimore to perform music associated with Billie Holiday in a duo with pianist Rossano Sportiello.
The show, titled “The Song Is You,” will be streamed at 7 p.m. ET tonight, January 9, and will be available on demand for 72 hours afterward.