Interacting with jazz folks provides a bubble to feel safe, invigorated and, most importantly, hopeful.
Our Take: The Jazz World Is Our Bubble
The NBA has a bubble. It seems to work. The PGA has a bubble. There, too, it is working. Major League Baseball has rules and regulations, but no bubble. Their experience varies from “just okay” to “not okay.” Colleges are trying to open classes following the MLB format with lots of rules, no bubble and spotty results.
Is there a bubble for us? If so, does it include jazz? As we have mentioned before, the return to live jazz physically in front of a live audience is not here as yet. Perhaps “streaming” serves as our bubble, our way of enjoying our music as we await a return to something closer to the pre-pandemic jazz world? Certainly the quality and the ingenuity of the various streaming programs are vastly improving on a daily basis. And, there is the benefit of being able to see and hear the shows live or watch later on YouTube or elsewhere online.
These conveniences are nice, but they do not overcome the loss of live music. For those of us who thrive on being “in the room,” taking in the whole experience of a jazz club or live concert, YouTube and the like are at best stop gap remedies. If this is how we are to receive our music for the near term, then we have fast-forwarded into a futuristic world often depicted in movies, where food has no shape or dimensions, clothing is uniform without style and automation of all kinds rules the day.
Yes, in that world, we would be safer from pandemics, but more likely to contract maladies of equal or even greater concern. At some point, absent live interaction with people or the thrill of live music, we would fall prey to numbness, the loss of emotion and the inability to express ourselves. At last count, more than 5.85 million Americans have contracted COVID-19 and over 180,000 have died. Those numbers are awful. But, the pandemic’s toll on our mental health is also a significant concern. Isolation impacts our zest for life, our ability to feel emotions and, most importantly, our hope for something better.
The pandemic has impaired our ability to “exercise our jazz muscles,” so we need to find a way to produce jazz endorphins under these conditions.
So, what are we, as jazz fans, to do? I think that we have spent too much time and effort worrying about how we can continue to “receive” our music and not enough time worrying about how we can continue to “feel” the pleasure that our music provides. They say exercise produces endorphins, which make you happy. The pandemic has impaired our ability to “exercise our jazz muscles,” so we need to find a way to produce jazz endorphins under these conditions.
I believe that I have found, at least for me, a way to produce jazz endorphins while we wait for the return of live music. My spirits rise and fall based upon how often I encounter, in any way, people who love jazz! Interacting with jazz folks provides me with a bubble of sorts where I can feel safe, invigorated and, most importantly, hopeful. Simply stated, the jazz world is my bubble.
My jazz bubble has three components. First, I have a steady flow of jazz friends (cruisers) who email me on a regular basis just about jazz. There is almost an unwritten rule that the main thrust of any note sent must be about music. To all of them (Paul, Mark, Hal, Harry, Alan, Josephine, Neal, Brenda, Gene, Lee, etc.), I say thank you so much for keeping my eye on the ball and for your candid and direct responses to my questions.
My jazz bubble also includes our wonderful musicians. They do those highly entertaining videos for us, participate in live online interviews and concerts, and offer their services in support of our cruises and other events. At the risk of missing one or more, I thank Shelly, Kurt, Eric, Marcus, Alonzo, Emmet, Brian, Boney, Candy, Niki, Randy, John C., John P., Ken and so many others. When I speak to them or even when I am reading their notes, I can see them and hear them performing in my head. Doing so allows me to experience them fully and enjoy a good moment, which leads to a flow of jazz endorphins.
The bubble would not be complete without our amazing Entertainment Cruise Productions staff. After all, someone has to run the bubble! That is certainly not me. They do not allow me to open any file of importance, participate in any discussion regarding technical decisions or direct any of the operations. Basically, I choose the color of the T-shirts and try not to interfere, interrupt or intervene. I need to work on that a bit as I do not want to be kicked out of the bubble. I would have no place to go!
Yes, the jazz world can be our bubble. Entry is available to anyone who can tap their feet or snap their fingers. Though not a requirement, a nice smile is appreciated.
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 email@example.com.
SAVE THE DATE: WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 2 John Pizzarelli and Ken Peplowski LIVE!
The work weeks seem to fly by when Wednesday nights are filled with our friends and our music. Jazz Cruise Conversations LIVE has been a wonderful mid-week diversion, with lively conversations between Kurt Elling and Shelly Berg, John Clayton and Alonzo Bodden, a few exciting tunes and engaging questions from our cruise guests and fans.
The third episode goes LIVE at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday (Sept. 2) when John Pizzarelli appears in your living room alongside Ken Peplowski, two of our favorites from The Jazz Cruise.
Creative, imaginative, talented, well-dressed and renowned interpreter of the Great American Songbook, John is an event host, Hall of Fame inductee and part of the close-knit group of musicians who are the heart and soul of The Jazz Cruise. On Wednesday night, John will certainly talk about the legacy of his father, the late jazz guitar great Bucky Pizzarelli.
If you have a question you’d like to ask John or Ken, please send them in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can ask them during the conversation via Facebook.
Same Time! Same Place! More Stars!
Featuring the stars of The Jazz Cruise and Jazz: Live In Las Vegas, Jazz Cruise Conversations LIVE airs at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT every Wednesday evening, streaming direct to you on The Jazz Cruise’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
Click here to save the date and watch on The Jazz Cruise’sFacebook page.
Click here to set a reminder and watch on The Jazz Cruise’sYouTube channel.
Here is the schedule through the end of September:
Sept. 9: Paul Lowden (about tradition of jazz in Las Vegas) with Ken Peplowski
Sept. 16: Randy Brecker & Ada Rovatti
Sept. 23: Cyrille Aimée with Emmet Cohen
Sept. 30: Before & After Listening Session with Ken Peplowski, hosted by Shelly Berg
Detroit Jazz Festival Goes Virtual
The Detroit Jazz Festival is another great event going virtual this year with live performances streamed on Facebook Live and Instagram over Labor Day weekend. The lineup features René Marie, Robert Glasper, Joey Alexander, Pharoah Sanders and additional artists showcasing Detroit’s jazz talent.
The Festival begins on Friday (Sept. 4) and runs through Monday (Sept. 7) with all performances streamed live from three sound stages at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Each stage will mimic the size, sound, lighting, crew and gear of Detroit’s traditional Festival stages and the video will be shot with three cameras in HD audio/video.
Don’t Miss the Jazz Experience You Love … Live In Las Vegas!
The Jazz Cruise Hits The Strip The Jazz Cruise has sailed the Caribbean, cruised the Pacific, journeyed the Atlantic and even traversed the Mississippi River on its way to New Orleans. But it has never stopped in Las Vegas … until now. The very best “straight-ahead” jazz musicians in the world are heading to Las Vegas for 5 Days and 5 Nights at the Encore Resort and Theater … more than 50 hours of YOUR music.
The Smooth Jazz Cruise on Land
Just like The Jazz Cruise, The Smooth Jazz Cruise has traveled far and wide at sea bringing world-class music and out-of-this-world-fun to thousands of guests. Last summer, The Smooth Jazz Cruise appeared on land for the very first time, in its hometown of St. Louis. But that was a one-day event. In 2021, we’re “docking” for 5 Days and 5 Nights in the City of Lights, Las Vegas … Join us!