As of tomorrow, January 17, we are exactly one year from our return to sailing.
Our Take: Seasons of Love
When I am not listening to jazz, I am probably listening to either R&B or my favorite Broadway musicals. My Broadway musical palate is extensive and very eclectic. I value that music not only for the brilliant melodies, but, very often, it is the lyrics that capture my imagination.
Les Miserables’ “Bring Him Home,” Carousel’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” Chorus Line’s “What I Did For Love” and Phantom of the Opera’s “The Music of the Night” are among my favorites. There are literally “scores” more of such tunes, but, with tomorrow being the beginning of the one-year countdown to the sailing of The Jazz Cruise ’22, “Seasons of Love” from Rent, dominates my thoughts. Check out these lyrics and listen to the song here:
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure? Measure a year?
In cups of coffee,
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in a life?
The song crystalizes the notion that the musical is about the yearlong events in the lives of a group of people trying to survive in a tough part of town. They are squatters in a building that is to be condemned and they fight each day for their safety, their health and their various professions. Some do better than others, but all of them are hoping for a better day, seeking a richer life and fighting for each other.
As it happens, tomorrow we are 525,600 minutes from the sailing of The Jazz Cruise ’22 and 535,680 minutes from the first of our three sailings in ’22 of The Smooth Jazz Cruise. How should we spend those minutes and how will we measure that time?
Our Artists and Musicians will be measuring the time in lost opportunities to perform in front of live audiences. Hopefully, the various vaccines will become readily available and easily administered. Though accounts vary from day to day, most industry folks believe that there will be significant shows and openings before the end of the 2nd Quarter of 2021. In our more simple lexicon, that means sometime before July 4th. For those of you who bother to recall my past predictions, “before July 4th” was my first estimate as to when live music would return. Of course, I was referring to 2020, not 2021. In keeping with the musical theme of this note, I was only 525,600 minutes off. A mere rounding error.
At Entertainment Cruise Productions, we feel as if we are back on schedule, preparing for cruises that are about a year from now. It feels good to be working on performance schedules, parties, special events and talking to guests about their upcoming sailings. That is our jam. It is not working through the malaise of issues related to rescheduling programs. I believe that we did that unfortunate role very well and I thank our staff and our wonderful guests for working with us during that time.
Most of our guests have carried their reservations forward. We have been able to accommodate those who wished to upgrade their stateroom selection, move to a different program or add a program. For those who chose not to move forward, our Refund Program operated fairly and efficiently, other than the vagaries of mail delivery. Most rewarding was the amazing influx of reservations from either new guests or past guests who were not booked for any of the rescheduled ’21 sailings. Excitement has never been greater.
For those of you with reservations for one of our ’22 Sailings, the next 525,600 minutes will be filled with anticipation and information. We are beefing up the monthly editions of Jazz Notes (monthly newsletter for The Jazz Cruise) and Smooth News (monthly newsletter for The Smooth Jazz Cruise). The most recent Jazz Notes went out on January 13 and Smooth News is scheduled to go out next on January 20. Once issued, copies of each monthly notice are available on the websites of each cruise under the heading of “Explore.” We will keep you apprised of the latest developments not only for our cruise programs, but up to date information about any health and safety issues that may arise. As always, your safety and comfort are job #1. Candor and transparency will continue to be our hallmark.
For all jazz fans, we hope that you will use some of the 525,600 minutes to support our musicians, attend shows and events once they become available, purchase recordings and support our music in any way possible. If sailing on one of our jazz cruises in ’22 is something you are considering, now is the time to take a few of these minutes to complete a reservation. Very few staterooms remain on The Smooth Jazz Cruise ‘22.1 or on The Smooth Jazz Cruise ‘22.2 and though there are more staterooms available for The Jazz Cruise ’22 and The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’22: Back to Sea Sailing, the level of inventories is the lowest it has ever been with, you guessed it, 525,600 minutes before sailing.
Finally, we ask each of you to spend some of those minutes wearing a mask, socially distancing, washing your hands and helping others. The final words of “Seasons of Love” are as follows:
How about love?
Measure in love…
Seasons of love…
A great message for all.
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.
LOADING THE BASSES: Did You Catch Our Special Surprise Episode of Jazz Cruise Conversations Live?!
This past week we kicked off a new season of Jazz Cruise Conversations Live, a bi-weekly series of talks with Artists from our jazz cruises, with a very special episode featuring Christian McBride and Alonzo Bodden. The two talked about social issues, sports, comedy, jazz and, of course, bass. That last topic was enhanced by the surprise drop-in appearance of John Clayton and Marcus Miller, two of Christian’s friends and heroes.
The trio, whom Alonzo suggested would be at least three of the faces on the Mount Rushmore of Jazz Bass, shared the downsides of playing the acoustic bass (like fitting in a cab with their massive instrument in tow), as well as what they’ve been doing during their downtime over the last year.
REED CAREFULLY: Next Up? A Clarinet Confab
Followed by 2 Amazing Ladies’ Nights!
The next episode of Jazz Cruise Conversations Live will feature two more affable stars of The Jazz Cruise – Paquito D’Rivera and Ken Peplowski – who share both a keen sense of humor and a notable facility with the clarinet (and saxophone). Tune in on Wednesday, January 27, at 8 p.m. ET for what is sure to be another entertaining conversation.
This series of live online jazz chats will continue every other week with the following stars:
Feb. 10: Niki Haris with Ann Hampton Callaway
Feb. 24: Bria Skonberg with Jennifer Wharton
March 10: Monty Alexander with John Clayton
You can catch all of the Jazz Cruise Conversations Live interviews on our YouTube and Facebook pages or you can listen to them as podcasts on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
2 New Albums from Arlington Jones!
Pianist Arlington Jones didn’t just release one new awesome album last month, he released two!
Featuring his soulful style, lush harmonies and impeccable groove, we encourage you to check out the new albums: Olé with a dynamic band and High & Mighty (The Soul Gent, Vol. 2),Arlington’s third solo album and eighth record of his career.
Speaking of staying busy, we are excited to note that Arlington will be performing on all 3 sailings of The Smooth Jazz Cruise in ’22!