Does Garth Brooks know something special about the pandemic?
Our Take: Party On, Garth!
As we try to gauge when we will be able to gather again for live music, we are searching for signs. Every day we check the latest news about therapeutics and vaccines. We see what types of activities are burgeoning in other countries. At times, we have resorted to reading tea leaves, having our palms read and gazing into a crystal ball. Anything to give us hope and insight.
Then, out of the blue, a sign appears. From God? From scientists? From our local, state or national governments? None of the above. This sign came from one of the most storied, wise and revered sources on earth … Garth Brooks. This week we received ticket information for a Garth Brooks concert rescheduled for February 27, 2021 at the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas! Can you imagine a more definitive signal that the coronavirus has disappeared than Garth Brooks performing in front of over 65,000 people in Las Vegas. That is a lot of “Friends in Low Places.” Well, that is our story and we are sticking to it.
On a serious note, which confirms the sarcastic tone of everything written thus far (in case there was doubt), the most interesting aspect of Garth’s announcement, at least to us, is that February 27, 2021 is right in the middle of The Jazz Cruise and The Smooth Jazz Cruise’s scheduled residencies at the Encore Resort in Las Vegas.
Here is to hoping that Garth knows pandemics! Or, perhaps, the magic here is the city of Las Vegas. For decades, David Copperfield and Siegfried & Roy have been making all kinds of things disappear there. People, animals, statues, then why not COVID-19! For those keeping score, we have gone through the looking glass back to the world of sarcasm for a moment.
… nothing would make me happier than to know that 65,000 people can gather safely on February 27, 2021.
As we all know, the pandemic is no laughing matter. Not even close. Forget issues like sports and trips being cancelled. On some level, albeit a very low level, they are important. The real issues are living or dying, working or not working, at school or home schooling, health care or no care, and believing in the future or fearing the future. No matter who you are, what you own or where you live, the pandemic is grinding us down. We try to laugh at some of it, hence the silly nature of the top of this note, but the realities are burdensome, ponderous and unrelenting.
From similar emotions and travails came jazz. In a world of oppression, difficult economic times and social unrest, jazz emerged as a voice for those who saw life differently from the mainstream. It was a way to express yourself, your individuality and your voice. No one has ever described jazz as light and breezy, certainly not the early tunes and expressions. Yes, some of the sounds are strident, display torment, even anger. Still, some make you want to dance. Two sides of the same coin actually. Isn’t that why we love jazz? It can evoke tears as easily as it evokes smiles. For that alone, we will be supporters of jazz in any way that we can for as long as we can. It is our duty and our honor to do so.
And, it is good to know that those of you coming to Jazz: Live in Las Vegas (February 21 – 26, 2021) or The Smooth Jazz Cruise: Live in Las Vegas (February 28 – March 5, 2021) will have the opportunity to stay over or arrive early and join the 65,000 or so who will be attending the Garth Brooks concert. After all, this event may signal the return to normalcy. Yep, more sarcasm.
My joking here is a true expression of gallows humor. The seriousness of the moment is overwhelming. Imagining this Garth Brooks concert is difficult to do, yet, nothing would make me happier than to know that 65,000 people can gather safely on February 27, 2021!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAVE THE DATE: WEDNESDAY, AUG. 19 Don’t Miss Kurt Elling and Shelly Berg LIVE!
On Wednesday night, August 19, we’ll be kicking off our new series of interactive online events with Kurt Elling and Shelly Berg. The premiere of Jazz Cruise Conversations LIVE is set for 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, streaming 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.
Each episode will feature a 40-minute, 1-on-1 interview, plus a short Q&A with questions submitted by the audience, just like the engaging interviews on the ship. You can either send us your questions for Kurt during the conversation via Facebook or send them in advance to email@example.com.
The show continues every Wednesday night with more stars of Jazz: Live In Las Vegas and The Jazz Cruise. Appearing in future episodes of Jazz Cruise Conversations Live are: John Clayton with Alonzo Bodden; John Pizzarelli on the legacy of his father, jazz guitar great Bucky Pizzarelli; Cyrille Aimée with Emmet Cohen; Randy Brecker & Ada Rovatti; and a Before & After listening session with Ken Peplowski.
TUNE IN: THURSDAY, AUG. 20 2020 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert
The National Endowment for the Arts, in collaboration with SFJAZZ, will present a special online-only concert in honor of the 2020 NEA Jazz Masters — Dorthaan Kirk, Bobby McFerrin, Roscoe Mitchell and Reggie Workman. NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater, a newly announced addition to The Jazz Cruise ’22, will host the virtual concert with drummer and composer Terri Lyne Carrington as the Music Director.
The free, online-only broadcast airs at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on Thursday, August 20, at www.SFJAZZ.org/NEA. The show will include performances by acclaimed jazz musicians — including the honorees — recorded from locations around the country.
In addition to the musician honorees, performers include Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Christian McBride, Ambrose Akinmusire, James Carter, Gerald Clayton, Vincent Davis, Lisa Fischer, Morgan Guerin, Oliver Lake, Jevon McFerrin, Madison McFerrin, Taylor McFerrin, Kanoa Mendenhall, Junius Paul, and Steve Turre, as well as the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars.
SiriusXMReal Jazz host Mark Ruffin has just published his first book and it’s available now on Amazon.
Bebop Fairy Tales is a collection of historical fiction stories that feature the intersection of jazz, baseball and race, set mostly in the 1950s and 60s. The book draws upon jazz and baseball’s parallel stations as great and uniquely American pastimes. The emphasis, however, is on jazz, as an art form and as both an expression and an arbiter of race in America.
“With Bebop Fairy Tales Mark Ruffin is uniting real people in imagined circumstances that fascinate and captivate the reader,” said NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater, who is sailing on The Jazz Cruise ’22.
Mark announced that he was writing Bebop Fairy Tales during an interview with Don Was on our Blue Note at Sea cruise earlier this year. Mark’s life is steeped in jazz and we look forward to reading his lifetime’s worth of jazz stories and memories in his new book.