From sports to jazz, we’re all working in uncharted waters to return to some semblance of “normal.”
Our Take: How Do We Get Live Jazz Back on Track?
Watching the MLB, NFL, NBA and PGA trying to conduct some semblance of seasons is fascinating, excruciating and scary. Their plans are different. Their risks are different. Their levels of success are also very different.
Please note that I am not addressing NCAA football. Quite frankly, there is nothing to discuss. It is unconscionable to require undergrads to report for training camps at colleges where no students, teachers or administrators are on campus. The notion that it is safe to play football, but not to go to class, is so ridiculous and nakedly greedy, that it does not deserve conversation. Hypocrisy has become an accepted norm in our society.
The professional leagues have a different argument. Their players, or more accurately, their employees, are professionals earning a living. Professional players are paid to assume the risk of injury and other maladies, which, I guess, includes combatting a pandemic. Money is the driving force here as well, but the issue is straight forward and candidly presented. Players can opt out risking loss of income, but they aren’t risking loss of scholarships and the chance to complete their education. After all, we know that NCAA football is all about education, right. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Right now, we are digging in hard to transfer our know-how and efforts into creating the best jazz shows ever held in Las Vegas.
Now for the truly important discussion. How do we get live jazz back on track? Whether it is our jazz clubs, festivals or great summertime shows, the path to reopening, absent a vaccine, is difficult to discern. Unlike professional sports or even high-level collegiate sports, there is very little money to be made in doing so, as the market for televised jazz shows with no audiences is very limited. It will be a while before ABC announces “The Wide World of Jazz” as a weekly program. Imagine a pre-concert show called “Jazz Today” featuring jazz aficionados sitting around a big desk exchanging ideas about jazz, showing film of past jazz shows, and predicting the outcomes of the next jazz sets. I can hear it now: “I think that David Sanborn is ready for another amazing performance. I heard him warming up just a few minutes ago and he is ready to go!” I am not saying that it would not be cool for this to happen, but it just won’t.
Concerns for jazz clubs are significant. Located in densely populated areas where rents are high, these clubs have serious financial challenges to remaining viable. Pop-up events such as festivals and, yes, cruises, do not have the burdens of maintaining a location or a building, but they must maintain staff during times of no income. There are additional costs to retaining the ability to produce events when that time comes. They may also be carrying rental and charter contracts, artist and musician fees, and other costs that add up.
We are all working in uncharted waters right now. For the most part, the word “normally” has been eliminated from our conversations. It is safe to say that “Normal” has left the building .. and will reappear whenever, if ever.
As you have seen or heard, we are “docking” our cruises in Las Vegas for two events in 2021. The reaction has been wonderful. Fans are eager to see their favorite performers and the musicians are more than eager to perform. This venture is more of a lark than a business expansion, but it has allowed us to divert our energy and be creative in the period of time between now and our ’22 sailings. It feels great to be programming jazz shows, speaking to the musicians and fielding questions from our guests. Even dealing with the agents of the musicians is rosier. Well, maybe a little less aggravating!
I am reminded that Freud was fond of saying that “you are what you do.” At Entertainment Cruise Productions, we produce the best jazz programs in the world. Our unique ability is doing so on a cruise ship. No one does that better. Right now, we are digging in hard to transfer our know-how and efforts into creating the best jazz shows ever held in Las Vegas. And, as long as the pandemic subsides enough to give us ample space to work, we will do just that. After all, we have nothing else to divert us between now and the Vegas shows. All hands on deck … or, in this case, all hands on stage!
Our Take is written by Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of The Jazz Cruise, The Smooth Jazz Cruise, Blue Note at Sea and the Jazz In Vegas series. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Wynn-Win Limited Time Room Option
for Our 2 Jazz Events in Las Vegas
NEW HOTEL ROOM CATEGORY: Slightly Smaller Size, Much Lower Price
As we have presented, each room at the Encore Resort for Jazz: Live In Las Vegas and The Smooth Jazz Cruise: Live In Las Vegas is a 745-square-foot suite or even larger. While a limited number of suites remain available for both events, we are now able to offer a new hotel room category for those who reached out wondering if there could be an option with a slightly smaller room (and a lower price), but with the full Event Package.
We talked to Encore and they have provided a selection of Luxury Wynn Resort Rooms for our guests. Still large at 640 square feet, these rooms are located at Wynn, which is connected to all of the entertainment and dining venues we will be using. With the exact same Event Package as is included in the Encore Suite packages (your room, all shows, reserved seating and credit toward meals at any of the 18 restaurants at the resort), you can reserve a Luxury Wynn Resort Room for $2,250/person, saving a couple $1,000.
There is a limited number of Event Packages featuring the Luxury Wynn Resort Room for both events. Act now. This category will sell out shortly.
JAZZ CRUISE CONVERSATIONS LIVE! Wednesday Nights Belong to Us (and You)
As you may have read last week, starting on August 19 we’re hosting a series of interactive online events with the stars of Jazz: Live In Las Vegas and The Jazz Cruise. Streamed on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on Facebook and YouTube, Jazz Cruise Conversations LIVE will feature a 40-minute, 1-on-1 interview, plus a short Q&A with questions submitted by the audience.
We kick off the series with a conversation with Kurt Elling, hosted by Shelly Berg. Guests of The Jazz Cruise have seen Shelly host interviews, the star-studded Keyboard Capers shows, and sets with a collection of the singers performing on the cruise, so you know that we have the right man for this assignment. You can either send us your questions for Kurt during the conversation via Facebook or send them in advance to email@example.com. Either way, click here to save the date by marking yourself as interested.
Appearing in future episodes of Jazz Cruise Conversations Live are: John Clayton with Alonzo Bodden; John Pizzarelli on the legacy of his father, jazz guitar great Bucky Pizzarelli; Cyrille Aimee; Randy Brecker & Ada Rovatti; and a Before & After listening session with Ken Peplowski.
While we look forward to August 19 with Kurt and Shelly, more than 50 interviews conducted on our jazz cruises are available right now by clicking here for our full podcast archives.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Our Stars Aligned Earlier This Week!
In a sneak preview of what’s on deck when we “dock” in Las Vegas next year, two of the stars set to perform at Jazz: Live In Las Vegas and two on the bill for The Smooth Jazz Cruise: Live In Las Vegas got together for some wildly entertaining online shows earlier this week.
Emmet Cohen welcomed Cyrille Aimée to his Live at Emmet’s Place online series last Monday night for some upbeat music and conversation. On Tuesday, saxophonists Mindi Abair and Eric Marienthal linked up for a lively interview and performance.