August 1 celebrations are quite boring, but perhaps we can “jazz” those up.
Our Take: Jazzing Up August
Happy August 1. Often, the first of each month has significance. New Year’s Day, April Fool’s Day, May Day, etc. all fall on the 1st day of the month. So, I took it upon myself to see what significant events had an August 1 stamp on them. It turns out to be pretty weak.
August 1 is the day for “DOGust 1st: Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs,” “National Girlfriend Day,” “National Mustard Day,” and last, and certainly least, “Spider-Man Day.” Though I am not a dog lover, I do feel for shelter dogs. Clearly during my life “Girlfriend Day” would have been cause for celebration. And, I love mustard … all kinds. Had there not been so many different actors portraying Spider-Man over the years, I might have connected, but the images are too diffused at this time. I would argue that the proliferation of “James Bond” portrayals has had the same negative effect. There’s only one “Rocky.” Only one “Jason Bourne.” Only one “Kenny G” … okay, that was a bridge too far.
… the art of reconstructing the familiar
is called “jazzing it up.”
I know what you are thinking, but the path from here to jazz is a lot shorter than you might guess. Simply substitute another take on a tune for another actor’s portrayal and you will see where we are headed for the next few paragraphs.
Do all renditions of “My Favorite Things” sound the same? Hardly. When you hear the title of that song, do you automatically hear Julie Andrews or John Coltrane? “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” … The Platters version or Miles Davis’ version? “Grazing in the Grass” sounds wonderful and amazing when Boney James is playing and, of course, no one can touch the original by Hugh Masekela. But, there have been so many other versions offered that are praised only because of the familiarity of the tune and not the musicianship of the particular recording.
That is one of the fascinating aspects of jazz: Listening to a great artist take a tune that we all know, taking it apart and putting it back together in a way that we never imagined. As referenced above, it doesn’t always work, but in the hands of the right musician, it is very special. It’s similar to a chef taking a dish that you know well and reconstructing it in a way that provides a whole new experience. Check out Steve Tyrell’s take on this very subject during his interview aboard The Jazz Cruise ’20. It is right on the money.
The security of familiarity infused with the excitement of surprise is a deadly combination. It applies to music, remakes of movies, relationships, fashion and more. Some call this keeping it fresh, keeping it new. But, more often than not, the art of reconstructing the familiar is called “jazzing it up.” I wonder where that terminology came from?
Circling back to the boredom of our August 1 celebrations, perhaps we can “jazz” those up as well. Our shelter dogs could be pictured with their new owners and a prize could be awarded to the cutest couple. Jazzing up “National Girlfriend Day” is too easy and the really good responses are outside the good taste of this note. Though many would argue that good taste and this note have never been an item. “National Mustard Day” is also easy as this condiment can now be found in hundreds of forms and flavors. Personally, I can slather mustard on just about anything and be happy. That leaves our old friend Spider-Man. I have no answer for this one. First, I know very little about Spider-Man and, apparently, I do not have the drive to learn. Every time I type Spider-Man in a Google search, my hand freezes before I can initiate the inquiry.
In the end, it would seem that August 1 is less than august. In fact, August 1 is most memorable to me as the beginning of the hay fever season, the middle of the most humid days of the summer and when most people take a vacation. Today’s world has modified this somewhat, but it is still a very boring time of year.
Jazzing up August starts today — with each of us playing the lead in shaping our next 31 days. Whatever path you choose, be original, be you, be jazzy.
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.
What’s New in Las Vegas?
Exciting Updates for Live Jazz Events!
As you know, waiting until we sail in 2022 to see our great guests and enjoy our music was too much for us. That’s why The Jazz Cruise and The Smooth Jazz Cruise are “docking” in the desert in late February 2021 at the ultra-luxurious Encore Resort and Theater. When you join us in Las Vegas, you will be treated to 5 Days, 5 Nights and 50+ Hours of programming with the jazz stars you love!
We are exciting to share some updates and new details about each event PLUS some delicious food for thought that applies to both!
Clint is There! What better venue for Clint Holmes’ return to The Jazz Cruise bandstand than a stint in Las Vegas. Clint has been holding up the jazz banner in Vegas for years amidst the pageantry of all other forms of entertainment. We are bringing in reinforcements, at least for 5 days, and Clint will be there to sing, emcee and add that special panache that only he can provide.
Morning Jazz! If you look carefully, The Weekender banner includes a cup of coffee signifying our hope that you will start your Saturday with a cup of joe and a good read of our weekly musings. We are taking that idea to Nevada. Monday through Thursday morning, we will serve you breakfast and chat about jazz. Two words seldom uttered by a jazz musician are “Good Morning,” but we will have many of them ready to share ideas every day. How are we going to get them there? Another two words… “wake-up call.”
Hosted by our Music Director, Eric Marienthal, you are invited to ask questions during the event on both Facebook Live and YouTube. We’ll cover Mindi’s return to smooth jazz, touring with Aerosmith, playing with the Boneshakers with Sweet Pea Atkinson, her many passions and much more! Mindi has also confirmed she will play live! Click here to save the date!
Additional Artists! A few of our “usual suspects” were unable to commit to the Las Vegas event at this time due to prior obligations in Las Vegas. We are working on ways to include them in the shows and will be announcing more in the days to come.
NEW FOR BOTH EVENTS!
Dinner at The Buffet at Wynn: Dinner at The Buffet at Wynn is included in your Event Package. You pay the tip, tax and beverages, and enjoy as much as you want of the nearly 100 outstanding food options available to you. (Special Note: As an additional safety precaution, The Buffet at Wynn is currently operating as a bottomless dining experience with tableside service. Guests are provided a top-notch buffet-style menu and may order unlimited quantities served to you by staff.)
Artist Hosted Dinners: We are arranging Artist Hosted Dinner experiences at the Fine Dining restaurants on site as well. Guests will be able to purchase seating for these very intimate and enjoyable dining experiences very shortly.
As a jazz fan, we love our music and we admire the talent and the skill of the musicians we are able to see and hear on The Jazz Cruise. But learning more about them as people, about their insights into the music and about their professional journey, both in the past and what they hope to do in the future, enhances tenfold our appreciation of what they do on the bandstand.
Since its inception, more than 20 years ago, The Jazz Cruise has brought that level of intimacy to our cruise guests. From the early days of “Conversation with the Stars” to our recent “Spotlight Series,” The Jazz Cruise has featured carefully crafted interviews and forums for discussions. More than 50 of our interviews are available right now in our podcast archives by clicking here. Our latest round of amazing interviews will be delivered directly to you under the banner of Jazz Cruise Conversations LIVE!
Jazz Cruise Conversations LIVE will stream on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on The Jazz Cruise’s Facebook page. The series kicks off on August 12 with a conversation with Cyrille Aimée, followed on subsequent weeks with live online events with Kurt Elling, John Clayton and John Pizzarelli. Join us LIVE on Wednesday nights and submit your questions for these awesome guests. We hope that you will enjoy these very special talks.