We’re making new musical memories during Saturday Night with Marcus Miller & Friends.
Our Take: The Magic of Memories
Al Jarreau, Natalie Cole, George Duke, Eddie Higgins, Jeff Golub, Red Holloway, Bucky Pizzarelli, Freddy Cole, Wayman Tisdale and more. These are great jazz musicians who have sailed on our cruises over the years and are no longer living. There are others. Too many others. Each of these names conjures up an image and a story. Those are the elements of memories.
Memories are tricky. They can energize, enrich and encourage. Or, they can depress, destroy and debilitate. As we age, our memories become selective, susceptible to being forgotten and stubbornly controlling. But, they can also be sweet, seductive and sustaining.
Al Jarreau sailed on several cruises of ours and died soon after cancelling his next scheduled appearance on The Jazz Cruise. His smile combined with his polite and gentle manner are indelible in my mind and those who met him. Natalie Cole performed on The Smooth Jazz Cruise just before she died. She was ailing at the time of the cruise, but her professionalism and courage enabled her to perform a great show. I had met her many years before. I was her driver for a fundraiser. This was in her heyday and she was a handful back then, for sure. I have spoken about George Duke before. His talents were surpassed only by his spirit. I loved this man. I loved his wife. He was the first legendary jazz star who endorsed The Smooth Jazz Cruise for us. Without him, we may be still wandering in the desert.
Eddie Higgins also holds an important role in the history of our cruises. He was instrumental in helping my mother gather the musicians for The Jazz Cruise after Norwegian Cruise Line cancelled their program. His support of my mother’s efforts will never be forgotten, nor will I forget his steadfast efforts to make sure that he had time for dinner each night on the ship. No Lido Deck dining for Eddie. Jeff Golub was my Eddie Higgins. After the first sailing of The Smooth Jazz Cruise, there was a split up from the original promoter. Jeff was the guy who told every musician to hang with me and Warren Hill. Jeff and I became friends. One night each cruise was dedicated to drinking with each other. My fondest memory with Jeff centered on us having an Artist Dinner with about 14 people. We waited for them to leave and then drank all the remaining wine. Had we stopped with what was left in the bottles, we might have been fine, but we went guest glass by guest glass making sure that no liquid remained.
Red Holloway, Bucky Pizzarelli and Freddy Cole were legends when they sailed on The Jazz Cruise. My vivid memory of each of them was the way in which all the other musicians treated them. They were always approached with reverence and respect. It was as if a musician was being afforded an audience or a special meeting. Jazz royalty. No doubt.
I have written about Wayman Tisdale on several occasions. I would give anything to be able to talk to him right now, to share a laugh, to ask him about professional basketball today and to hear him speak about racial injustice in the world. I tear up even now when I see his face or hear his name.
Tennis is a passion of mine. I love playing the game itself, but I don’t follow the players, despite their greatness. Baseball and jazz hold my heart. In recent weeks, Tom Seaver, Whitey Ford, Joe Morgan and hometown heroes Bob Gibson and Lou Brock died. I never knew or met any of them, but they were part of my life, for sure. Their names trigger memories in my life at the time that they played. Music does the same thing. You remember the tune, of course, but what you really remember is what was going on in your life when that tune was playing.
Isn’t that one of the beautiful aspects of music? It takes you back in your life. It takes you to places and ideas that are new and exciting. There are many musicians that I idolize in the same way that I idolize baseball players. Not just because of their skill and talents, but what memories they trigger.
Now, sometimes it works the other way. Meaning, you dislike someone just because of the memories they evoke. I dislike Mickey Lolich. He led the 1968 Detroit Tigers past the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. As for the musical equivalent, I guess anyone singing with a cowboy hat on upsets me. It conjures up evenings lost having to listen to what I call “hayride” music.
Musicians and baseball players. Perhaps I love them because I wanted to be one of them. Now that elicits some sad 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.
SATURDAY NIGHT WITH MARCUS MILLER & FRIENDS: Don’t Miss a Spectacular Show Featuring Gregory Porter!
If You Don’t Love This Weekend’s Show, It Is On Us!
One of the greatest voices of our generation, two-time Grammy Award-winning singing sensation Gregory Porter has released his long-awaited sixth studio album ALL RISE and you have an opportunity to hear him sing some of those new songs this weekend! Gregory is the Special Guest on the new episode of Saturday Night with Marcus Miller & Friends, joining Marcus and the Saturday Night Band in studio for a can’t-miss concert event.
We’ve already taken a sneak peak at the show and we cannot recall Gregory sounding and looking better. Touching, dynamic and authentic. He killed it. In fact, we are so excited about this show, that we are offering the following guarantee:
OUR GUARANTEE: If you do not love the show, email our Executive Director, Michael Lazaroff, at email@example.com and he will personally send you a check for a full refund.
The show becomes available at 10 p.m. ET tonight, streaming online into your living room for 90 minutes of great music, conversation and comedy. The Studio Concert Event can be watched on your laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone or Smart TV in HD picture and sound. You have 48 Hours to watch the show On-Demand after it becomes available. Click here to buy your ticket.
We hope you join us this weekend and also check out Gregory’s new album, ALL RISE. from Blue Note Records. It’s available now in deluxe and standard vinyl, CD, and digital versions.
If you haven’t seen Saturday Night with Marcus Miller & Friends, we urge you to take in a show soon. As detailed above, we feature Gregory Porter tonight! Next Saturday Night (October 24) belongs to the Stars of The Smooth Jazz Cruise (Jonathan Butler, Keiko Matsui, Kirk Whalum and Peter White). For Halloween, the iconic band WAR will be featured.
For all of our “smooth jazz” fans, be sure to save the date for the Saturday of Thanksgiving Weekend (November 28)! We are excited and honored to announce that Saturday Night with Marcus Miller & Friends will present a full 2-hour Holiday Show! The lineup is nearly complete and we will share that with you shortly. Suffice it to say that fans of The Smooth Jazz Cruise will be very, very happy. The perfect way to kickoff the Holiday Season … great music, great laughs and great memories.
Each Studio Concert Event is hosted by the amazing Marcus Miller and features comic Alonzo Bodden and our Saturday Night Band (Patrice Rushen, Eric Marienthal, Mike Rocha, Nate Phillips, Alex Bailey and Munyungo Jackson). For more information and tickets, go to www.saturdaynightwithmarcusmiller.com.
From His Mouth to God’s Ears!
During an interview with CBS News on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, Dr. Tony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that a vaccine “will likely be [available] within the first quarter of 2021, by let’s say April of 2021.”
We are hopeful that the scientific community will achieve this to help us all stay healthy and usher in the return of “normal” life full of friends and family, travel and live music. In the meantime, please continue to stay safe and follow all CDC guidelines.
After all, a vaccine available in April 2021 would be more than 9 months ahead of our ’22 sailing dates. That is promising news!
Kurt Elling: Jazz, K-Pop and the Green Mill
Kurt Elling has been a very busy guy in recent weeks. First, he moved with his family back to his hometown of Chicago after more than 15 years in NYC. Last week, he was name-dropped by a K-Pop star, who said in an interview with Variety that he’d love to collaborate with Kurt at some point, causing Kurt’s social media pages to blow up (in a good way).
Kurt and his manager Bryan Farina have launched an online concert series commemorating the beginning of his recording career, called the 25th Anniversary Virtual Concert Tour. No, he’s not touring, but he will be performing live with his group at the Green Mill in Chicago, where it all started back in 1995. Streaming two shows every Friday at 3 p.m. CT and 8 p.m. CT, each week’s performance will have a theme, such as K-Pop (Kurt doing pop tunes), Here’s Romance (love songs, of course), and The Big Blind (adaptation of his radio-theater show). The Jazz Cruise is proud to be a sponsor of this exciting series.
Finally, if all that isn’t enough, Kurt will do his very best Barbara Walters or Terry Gross in a conversation with fellow The Jazz Cruise ’22 vocalist and songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway in this week’s episode of Jazz Cruise Conversations Live. Tune in on The Jazz Cruise’sFacebook or YouTube pages on Wednesday, October 21 at 8 p.m. ET!
By the Numbers … Quiz Update!
Last week we posed the following question to our readers:
Question: Over the past 20+ years, Entertainment Cruise Productions has produced several cruise programs that either have the word “jazz” in its title or presented “jazz” as its centerpiece. Can you name them all? Land-based events are not part of this quiz – just cruises!
Responses: There were several submissions that were close, but no one was “on the money.”
The Jazz Cruise
The Smooth Jazz Cruise
Blue Note at Sea Cruise
North Sea Jazz Cruise
Playboy Jazz Cruise
Signature Jazz Cruise
Since no one will be awarded the $100 prize, we are moving it to this week and offering a brand new quiz.
Question: Looking at the 6 jazz cruise programs that Entertainment Cruise Productions has produced, only two musicians have performed on each of them. Can you name the two?