To all the Dads out there and to those who are no longer with us, Happy Father’s Day.
Our Take: Father’s Day in Jazz
Tomorrow is Father’s Day. Yes, you still have time to buy your father a gift or remind his children that the big day is almost here. In most households, the day is marked by a brunch or a BBQ, some “off-the-wall” gifts and more than a few stories of what your father was like when you were young and how your sons are faring in the fine art of being a Dad.
I have shared in the past that my father played saxophone and did some singing. He was talented, dedicated and totally in love with his instrument and the Great American Songbook. Had any of his three sons possessed any of his talents, I would have highlighted that in today’s note, but I was the closest to being a musician and I have chronicled many times my limitations as a drummer. For those who do not know, cannot remember or enjoy laughing at me, I have no rhythm and no ability to use my feet and my hands at the same time. Other than that, I was one very cool drummer!
The number of fathers, sons and daughters in the jazz world is extensive. It would seem that the family that plays together, makes it pay together. Some of the most popular and successful jazz musicians passed that baton to their offspring in one way or another. Since the list is lengthy, this note will present only those pairings where one or more of the musicians performed on one of our cruises. Amidst the joy of sharing these pairings, there is sadness, as you will see.
“To all the Dads out there and to those who are
no longer with us, Happy Father’s Day.”
Our first example is Dewey and Joshua Redman. Dewey famously played tenor saxophone with Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett. Joshua’s accomplishments are astounding. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Putting off Yale Law School for what was supposed to be one year, he moved to New York and flourished in the local jazz community. His musical mates included friends of his father as well as such Turks as Brad Mehldau, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride and Pat Metheny. And, he recorded two albums with his Dad. The rest is history. The world lost a great lawyer, but gained an even greater jazz musician. A very good swap indeed.
Next is the famous Marsalis family. Father Ellis and sons Wynton and Branford are each legendary in their own right. Their main mission is to uphold the great traditions of jazz, though jazz education and support for communities that do not have the wherewithal to provide musical instruction and instruments for their youth is a strong part of their program as well. Wynton and The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra joined us on Blue Note at Sea ’19, clearly one of the Top 10 events in the history of our jazz cruises. Watching longtime cruise favorite Wycliffe Gordon jump in to the orchestra at the last minute to reprise a role from his past was very cool. Father Ellis died in April from coronavirus. He was 85 years old.
The Smooth Jazz Cruise is proud to be able to include Natalie Cole as one if its guests of honor. Granted, this performance occurred not long before her death, but she availed herself well on stage and displayed courage and professionalism despite the challenges she was facing. Her famous father, Nat King Cole, who died at 45 of lung cancer in 1965, just two weeks after his own father died, never sailed with us, but his brother, Natalie’s uncle, Freddy Cole, was a mainstay of The Jazz Cruise for more than 15 years. Freddy’s wife, Annie, loved the cruise so much that one of her last wishes was to sail again on The Jazz Cruise. As fate would have it, she died within weeks of that sailing.
Finally, we salute Bucky and John Pizzarelli, both of whom have sailed on The Jazz Cruise, with John becoming an event host, Hall of Fame inductee and part of the close-knit group of musicians who are the heart and soul of the cruise. It is difficult to imagine two more outgoing, fun-loving and charming personalities as a father and son. And, of course, bassist Martin Pizzarelli, Bucky’s son and John’s brother, has also sailed with us many times. Both Bucky and his wife died recently, within days of each other, from coronavirus. They were in their 90s, still the shock and sorrow of losing both parents in such a short time and from a disease that has conquered the world, must have been very difficult.
Whether it is Fathers and Sons or Fathers and Daughters, there is always a story, typically one that is filled with joy, accomplishment, sadness and death. The cycle of life is just that much more poignant on a day like Father’s Day. Everyone is touched by the holiday in a very special way. To all the Dads out there and to those who are no longer with us, Happy Father’s Day. Thanks for the memories.
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.
Your Jazz — Live In Las Vegas!
Normally, we wait until all the pieces of our programs are set in stone before sharing the information with our guests, but, as we know, “normal” is on vacation with little sign of returning home soon. So, in terms of our Las Vegas events, you are learning the details in real time! Though this gives you the inside scoop, please know that it also means that you should be prepared for some changes along the way.
Nonetheless, here are the details that we have locked down for 5 days and 5 nights of The Jazz Cruise followed by 5 days and 5 nights of The Smooth Jazz Cruise:Live in Las Vegas:
The Jazz Cruise: Live in Las Vegas
Dates: February 21 – 26, 2021 — The Welcome Show sets the stage on Sunday night with our Final Jam on Thursday night. Departures will be set up for Friday morning.
Shows: 50 hours of music, all in the Encore Theater
Lineup:Marcus Miller and Eric Marienthal are putting together an All-Star lineup of some of your favorite performers from The Smooth Jazz Cruise. The final lineup will be announced soon!
We chose the Encore Resort because it is the perfect combination of luxury and professionalism for our guests. Encore (also called Encore at Wynn Las Vegas) is a luxury resort, casino and hotel located on the Las Vegas Strip. The resort is connected to its sister resort, Wynn Las Vegas, and both are owned by Wynn Resorts on the site of the old Desert Inn Resort. The property includes Wynn Plaza, a 76,000-square-foot retail area bordering Las Vegas Boulevard.
Encore and Wynn Las Vegas collectively hold more Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awards than any other resort and casino in the world. Encore has also earned the AAA Five Diamond Award every year since opening. The Tower Suites at Encore and The Spa have both received the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award. The entire Wynn complex has a total of 4,748 rooms, making it the world’s seventh-largest hotel. Every room for our guests will be one of the suites in the Encore Tower.
Using the Encore Theater for all shows allows us to control our environment, monitor ingress and egress, check for fever and ensures we comply with whatever social distancing rules are in effect 8 months from now in Las Vegas. The theater has a wonderful lobby area where we will provide drinks and food during the shows as well as other guest comforts. Plans for Reserved Seating are being established as we speak.
Hopefully, all details will be completed by July 6 or so and we will be able to take reservations at that time. Again, to be sure to be one of the first guests to receive Reservation Information, notify us at ECPINVEGAS@ecpcruises.com. Reservations will be limited to the first 1,000 guests for each week of programming.
New Podcast: Marcus Miller Interviews Ramsey Lewis on The Smooth Jazz Cruise
The legendary pianist Ramsey Lewis had announced his retirement from touring, but before he walked off the stage for the final time, he joined us on The Smooth Jazz Cruise ‘20.1 for performances and events that we will remember forever.
In the latest Jazz Cruise Conversations podcast episode, an engaging interview recorded aboard The Smooth Jazz Cruise earlier this year, Ramsey sat down with bassist and cruise host Marcus Miller to talk about his storied career, from his early years recording jazz hits with his trio, to his later years as a radio and TV broadcaster.
All 48 episodes of Jazz Cruise Conversations are available on iTunes, Spotify or wherever your get your podcasts.
Did You Catch Brian Culbertson
With Boney James Last Night?
Two of the biggest stars in The Smooth Jazz Cruise world aligned last night for an awesome evening of music and conversation. Boney James joined Brian Culbertson’s weekly online event, The Hang, to talk about his new album, SOLID, plus there’s a special performance you must see as well!
We are proud to sponsor The Hang and encourage you to check out BC’s Facebook page for last night’s video and announcements of future online shows!
New Album: Get Ready to Groove!
The new album from chart-topping saxophonist, composer and producer Euge Groove will be released Friday, June 26!
The 11-track album, Sing My Song, started to take shape 2.5 years ago, but Euge’s extended time at home this year inspired the finished product, which features several of his friends from The Smooth Jazz Cruise, including Maysa and Peter White.
“These times have unleashed a creativity in me that I haven’t felt in years. I think it’s been a time of self-reevaluation. A cleaning of the house so to speak,” Euge said.
We’ll be downloading the album June 26 and looking forward to seeing him play live during 3 sailings of The Smooth Jazz Cruise in ’22.