Did you know that nearly 70% of all tornadoes occur from March through May? Perhaps that is why I have always found this time of the year to be unsettling. There is a rhythm to the Winter Season and Summer plays out according to a plan as well. I think Fall is the best time of the year, so it is hard to be upset about anything, but Spring is a different animal altogether.

First, the coming of Daylight Savings Time takes a bit of adjustment. Nothing simple about suddenly you are driving home from work in the daylight. It has been weeks since the shift, but I am still working through that lost hour of sleep.

Spring is the time for both Easter and Passover. Though the holidays celebrate spiritual uplifting, they begin with stories of persecution and random death. That they are so intimately intertwined is sometimes difficult to grasp. Yes, the Last Supper was a Seder, but, from there, the stories move in their own direction with all types of unanswered questions about who the heroes were and who were to be blamed.

Spring signifies transition. People graduate and get married more so in the Spring than any other time of the year. The trees grow leaves, the flowers blossom and grasses turn green. If you are selling your home, they say Spring is the time to do so.

Most unsettling of all is that Spring is the season for the finals of the NBA and NHL playoffs, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament, The Masters, and the Kentucky Derby, as well as being the start of the Major League Baseball season. For even the most casual sports fan, that is a lot of ups, downs, wins, losses and more.

If you are someone who craves consistency and predictability, Spring is not your jam!

For the Norah Jones fans out there, a very large group indeed, I can hear her sing the lyrics of what should be the National Anthem of The Trouble with Spring, the song, “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most”….

Spring this year has got me feeling
Like a horse that never left the post
I lie in my room staring up at the ceiling.
Spring can really hang you up the most.

I have known this Norah Jones tune for years. What I learned only recently is that it was written by one of St. Louis’ most famous lyricists and poets, Fran Landesman and that the song was heavily influenced by T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land in which he declares April to be the cruelest month of the year, as it offers the hope of something new, but never delivers.

Though eventually becoming a British citizen and renouncing his American citizenship, Eliot was also raised in St. Louis. Detesting Spring may be a St. Louis thing, like toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake. Nonetheless, Eliot wrote glowingly about his early life in St. Louis. He would have been 16 when St. Louis hosted both a World’s Fair (the Meet Me in St. Louis World’s Fair) and the Summer Olympic Games. At that time, St. Louis was the 4th largest city in the United States.

Landesman’s family is a legend in this town. Her husband owned and operated the Crystal Palace, the #1 locale in the Gaslight Square area of St. Louis. Named after the distinctive gas lamps that adorned the streets, the area was an urban oasis for the arts, music, jazz in particular, comedy and more. My two favorite saxophonists would sneak into various jazz clubs in Gaslight Square with their horns hoping to play and be discovered.

One of the two, David Sanborn, succeeded in doing so. Ya’ think! The other, Harold Lazaroff, simply continued his day job of being a real estate manager and his night job of being my father. Neither vocation was terribly exciting, but I am eternally grateful for his efforts. You know, that is another reason to detest Spring. My Dad had the worst Spring allergies ever. He was sneezing and wheezing all day long.

Dad did teach me the trick of placing a finger under my nose to prevent a sneeze. That trick actually works. You cannot sneeze in that position, but you can nearly blow out your eardrums if the pressure gets too great. His wisdom did not stop there. The cure for not sleeping was to turn yourself around so that your head was now at the foot of the bed.

Later in life he taught me to whistle if I were nervous or anxious. He thought that was a cure for my stammer. In some respects, it worked, as no one asked my opinion about anything once I began to whistle! I cannot recall any remedies my Dad had for my uneasiness with Spring. He was probably too busy sneezing to notice.

Happy Easter to all. If you are wearing a new Easter bonnet, one with all the frills upon it (Easter Parade) check out the weather report. High winds are likely. Particularly if you live in the Midwest during Spring! If you doubt me, check out The Wizard of Oz, where Judy Garland, as Dorothy, after riding out a tornado and landing in Oz, tells her dog, Toto, “we are not in Kansas anymore!” Five years later, Judy was working over her father to stay in St. Louis “for the Fair” and not move to New York (Meet Me In St. Louis).

So ends my tale of twisters and Spring, my story of all things St. Louis and a quick list of some of Judy Garland’s best movies. I will understand if this article triples the number of readers who elect to unsubscribe going forward. No worries, we have a deep bench and are welcoming new readers every day!

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].


On April 17, Jazz at Lincoln Center will pay tribute to the legacy of the singular vocalist Tony Bennett in a special concert at its annual gala at the Rose Theater in NYC. The concert will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis accompanying a stellar and diverse lineup of guest vocalists including Rubén Blades, Kristin Chenoweth, Norm Lewis, Kurt Elling, Ekep Nkwelle, Robbie Lee and Bernadette Peters. The pianist Bill Charlap, who had a long association with Bennett, and the tap dancer Jared Grimes will also perform at this event which raises funds to support Jazz at Lincoln Center’s longtime mission to promote jazz to the world.


On May 9, the SFJAZZ Gala will honor Grammy® Award–winning singer and songwriter Patti Austin with the SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award and welcome trumpeter, composer, NEA Jazz Master, and seven-time Grammy-winner Terence Blanchard in his inaugural season as Executive Artistic Director of SFJAZZ. Hosted by Arthel Neville, the event includes the annual Gala Concert on the main stage in Miner Auditorium, featuring performances by artists such as Austin, Blanchard, Ledisi, PJ Morton, Brian Stokes Mitchell and the SFJAZZ Collective, as well as multiple cocktail receptions and a VIP dinner. The festivities continue into the night with the After Party, a dance extravaganza with multiple stages of musical entertainment, plus cocktails and late-night bites throughout the SFJAZZ Center.


2-Day Tickets are now available on Ticketmaster for STL JAZZ FEST. 1-Day Tickets will go on sale Friday, May 31. For details about the festival and how to purchase tickets, see below:

Produced by Jazz Cruises
The Factory – Chesterfield (St. Louis) Missouri

Eric Marienthal Quintet, featuring Niki Haris
The Comedy of Alonzo Bodden

Mindi Abair with Eric Marienthal & Friends
The Comedy of Alonzo Bodden
  Doors 6 pm / Showtime 7 pm


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. 


Vardit & Heldi – Israel
Rhonadalyn – Colorado

Guests on the ’24 jazz 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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