Tonight, actually early tomorrow morning, we will move our clocks forward one hour signaling the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. I imagine that most people look forward to this occurrence as it allows for more outdoor activities after the normal workday, making twilight golf and tennis, concerts, barbecues, and baseball games more available. Yet, I have been told that Daylight Savings Time can cause or exacerbate various forms of mental illnesses.

Certainly some of the angst is due to the change itself. Face it, some people react poorly to anything that upsets their routine, but, apparently, the loss of an hour’s sleep, if only for one night, can trigger depression and anxiety. Unbelievably, auto accidents rise dramatically in the first few weeks of Daylight Savings Time. In the face of pending displacement due to the loss of an hour and in fear of the ramifications of extra afternoon and evening daylight, what steps should we take to fight these dangers.

Listen to more jazz, of course. You knew that was coming, right?

Studies throughout the world conclude that listening to music releases chemicals in the brain that regulate mood. There are famous studies that show how music settles the brain waves of animals, improves the growth of plants, and allows babies to sleep better. Not all music triggers the part of the brain that results in becoming more relaxed, but jazz is consistently mentioned as being particularly soothing as well as improving intelligence and mental abilities. You should feel calmer and smarter already!

Ready to delve further into our self-congratulatory view of jazz? The New York Jazz Workshop quotes a Johns Hopkins University study claiming that the syncopated nature of jazz heightens the theta brain waves which are critical to creativity. And jazz also increases the alpha waves where the brain adapts to and matches the rhythm. Which came first, the intelligence to enjoy jazz or the spawning of intelligence from listening to jazz?

Miraculously, these findings are dead on to a story that music icon Sting shared at a recent benefit for Jazz House KiDS. Melissa Walker and Christian McBride presented Sting as the special guest at a fundraiser held in the Pucci Gallery in New York City on February 28. As previously mentioned, Paula and I were fortunate enough to attend. In the interview portion of the evening, Christian asked Sting if jazz had an influence on his music and his career. His response was telling.

Sting said that as a young teenager, he would play guitar during recess. A musician approached him one day, told him that he was a great player, but that he needed to listen to some jazz. The next day, the musician returned to the playground and gave Sting an album. He told him that he would not appreciate, perhaps not even like, the music off the bat, but that he should continue to listen to it. Sting did just that and after many hours of listening found the music to stimulate and excite him. The album was a classic recording by Thelonius Monk.

Sting went on to say that most pop music was presented in the 3rd and the 5th notes of a scale, where jazz was played in the 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of a scale. Sting offered that playing jazz required a much greater commitment of concentration and creativity. In short, jazz makes you think and work harder to make music.

The great and gifted jazz musicians do the thinking automatically. Call that “chops”. Call that “virtuosity”. Call that “talent”. It does not matter what you call it. To be a great jazz musician you either have this or you don’t.

By the way, after decades of being a jazz fan, only for this article did I look up the origin of “chops”. The etymology was more predictable than surprising. Trumpet players need strong jaws and mouths to be great. “Chops” is a common slang for that part of the body. So the next time someone tells you to “brush your choppers”, you will think of jazz!

Since you are reading this note on a Saturday morning holding a cup of coffee in your Jazz Cruises mug, you probably do not need prodding to think of jazz! You do need to remember, Fall Back… Spring Forward, otherwise you will be late for your Sunday morning appointments.

By Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of The Jazz Cruise, The Smooth Jazz Cruise, Chris Botti at Sea, The McDonald & LaBelle Cruise and Journey of Jazz. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at [email protected].


Shelly Berg has been a part of The Jazz Cruise family since the beginning as music director, artistic director and host. Leaning on his experience as an educator, radio host and entertainer, his JazzU sessions have become a favorite of our guests. The pianist has a very special project from his trio, with bassist Carlitos Del Puerto and drummer Dafnis Prieto, coming out in June from ArtistShare. The album Alegría features a jubilant set of feel-good originals including the title track, along with “Bliss,” “Home with You,” “The Joy,” “Marina Sunset,” and “At Last,” plus the timeless standards “I’ll Follow the Sun” by Lennon and McCartney and “Somewhere” from West Side Story. Tenor saxophonist Melvin Butler joins as a special guest on “Meatballs and Apple Pie” and “Red Rocks, Tall Cactus.”


The cruise sails in just over one month and there are fewer than 35 staterooms, all Inside staterooms, remaining.

We are extending the Jazz Cruises Pop Up sale for all Inside Staterooms until March 18, 2024. Your Cruise Fare will be only $875/person(*)! Call the office and tell them that you want the Pop Up price! If you complete your reservation online, POPUP will be your promo code.

(*) The POPUP offer is for new reservations only and may not be combined with any other offer or discounts. Pricing is per person based on double occupancy and does not include pass through charges.


The Jazz Cruise ’25
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary

The Jazz Cruise ’25 is 87% reserved and is currently in “Open Booking,” where anyone may reserve any available stateroom. You may view current stateroom availability and start your reservation on the website now.

The Smooth Jazz Cruise ‘25.1 & ‘25.2
Starting its 3rd Decade

With both sailings being fully reserved, guests wishing to sail on a ’25 sailing of The Smooth Jazz Cruise should JOIN WAITLIST now. Cancellations will be filled exclusively from the WAITLIST.

Botti at Sea II
Every Night is a Night on the Town

Botti at Sea II is in the Open Booking stage and is over 60% reserved. Anyone may reserve any available stateroom either by calling the office during regular business hours or doing so online. It was this time last year that there was a “run” on staterooms, so act now! 

Journey of Jazz ’25
Jazz Life at Sea & On Land 

Jazz Cruises’ newest program, Journey of Jazz ’25, hosted by Marcus Miller & Gregory Porter, has completed the Pre-Sale process and began Open Booking on April 30, 2024. Like a race care, this program as gone from 0 – 60(%) sold in the blink of an eye. 


Naomi – Pennsylvania
Sparky – Texas

Each guest on our cruises received The Weekender mug, which we hope you will use with your Saturday morning coffee while you read the latest edition. Please share a picture of yourself & your mug with us so that we can include it for the 100,000+ folks who receive The Weekender each Saturday.

Tag us @thejazzcruise @bottiatsea @thesmoothjazzcruise #jazzcruises and #theweekender. Email your photo to [email protected].

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