We are open for suggestions 24/7 and love to hear from you.
Our Take: Polls, Surveys & Opinions
Public opinion is calculated and learned in many ways. With this being an election year, there is a poll for just about anything. Some people live or die by polls. Others look for more tangible ways of measuring opinion.
I am in the latter group. Polling and surveying, in my opinion, are highly unreliable if they are based solely upon asking the respondent to tell you what they are thinking. Some respondents are too shy to respond, some wish to tell you what they think you want to hear and some just plain lie for whatever reason.
I mention this because a number of guests have asked whether or not we send out questionnaires about our cruises. Most of these notes to us are followed by paragraphs about the good, the bad and the ugly from the most recent sailings. It’s almost as if they have guessed that we do not send prepared questions, but prefer spontaneous notes, real time observations and exchanges with guests on the ship.
For those who know me well, I am always asking guests questions about various issues. Seating procedures and length of performances were my hot topics this year. I learned a lot and am working on some new ideas on these topics for next year. My informal surveys wind up including folks who may not be inclined to sit down and write answers. Doing so requires a certain mindset which also skews the findings. Not in a bad way, but in a disproportionately biased way.
Probably the most common write-in topic are discussions about talent. Those come in three different tranches. First are guests who are swinging for the moon. That would include requests for Norah Jones, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, etc. Then there are those who rifle shot for their favorite performer. Particularly upsetting to them is when their guy or gal was on the recent cruise but not on the next cruise. I hate it when they ask why a particular performer was “not invited back” as if they had committed a crime or made a mistake. Simply stated, performers need to rotate. We need some stability, but only if it is essential to the programming. There are many great players and they should all be invited one time or another.
The last tranche is the most difficult. The note usually begins with “you may not have heard of _____ ________, but he/she is the #1 jazz musician in Nottobefound, Alaska.” Once in a while someone is ahead of the curve on a particular performer and their input is meaningful, but it is more likely that the person in question is not a star or an up-and-coming star. Finding the right words to explain that we have a limited number of openings and we need to choose wisely is often difficult. And, of course, we have been totally wrong on several occasions and either missed someone good or fell for the tale and hired someone whom we should not have. Both results are bad.
As you will see below, my email address is provided in every edition of The Weekender. We are open for suggestions 24/7 and love to hear from you. Be candid. Be informative. Tell us what is on your mind. The cruises belong to you!
Our Take is written by Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director – Jazz of Entertainment Cruise Productions. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking of Feedback …
Since we returned from three weeks at sea on The Smooth Jazz Cruise ‘20.1, Blue Note at Sea and The Jazz Cruise, we have received numerous notes from guests about their experiences on our cruises. As stated above, the feedback runs the gamut, but we want to share a few thoughts that mean the world to us.
From Blue Note at Sea:
I was most taken by the experience. Upon reflection during the week, it appeared to me that the cruise was very much more than listening to great music in a tropical setting. The Blue Note cruise seemed to be a microcosm of what America should be. It was geographically, racially and culturally diverse, just like America. However, in this era of polarization, regardless of where we were from, our race or our culture background, everyone got along and had our love of jazz in common. The Blue Note citizens were governed by the musicians who performed together in perfect harmony. Music was the law! The musicians and the Blue Note citizens honored and respected the music. That love and respect of the music spilled over to how everyone treated each other with the same love, respect and collegiality.
This Blue Note cruise was SO GOOD (‘Great Music Is the Only Rule’ Mission fulfilled) that I decided to TRUST you as a talent scout, and TRUST the TREND of each Blue Note getting better, so we did renew for 2021. Besides the stars that fit well on either The Jazz Cruise or Blue Note (like Cyrille Aimée, Joey DeFrancesco, Sullivan Fortner, Christian McBride, Niki Haris, Wycliffe Gordon, Emmet Cohen, Gerald Clayton), you brought on board about a dozen young artists (under 50 is young to me) with great chops and taste — who could also fit on The Jazz Cruise. I’m opening my ears to funkier styles in my old age.
From The Jazz Cruise:
I was so overwhelmed by the sensations both emotionally and intellectually from the joy of listening to such unbelievable music, that I could barely contain my enthusiasm. My husband and I could not get over how much we loved every moment on board. We loved everything about this experience so much that we did something very uncharacteristic of us, we booked it for next year!
This, after all, is why we do what we do.
West Coast Premiere of Cecile McLorin Salvant’s “The Ogress”
Three-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, who wowed guests on Blue Note at Sea in 2019 and is set to sail with us next year on The Jazz Cruise, will perform the West Coast premiere of “The Ogress,” the dramatic and original song cycle that she created in collaboration with noted arranger and conductor Darcy James Argue, on March 11 at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, Calif.
Presented by the SFJAZZ organization, this creative work combines Cécile’s interests in musical theater, mythology and visual art, and tells the story of a devilish monster-woman who falls in love with a man. Backed by a 13-piece jazz ensemble conducted by Argue, the multi-faceted Cécile is certain to captivate the audience for this one-of-a-kind show.