OUR TAKE: Jazz vs. Heat

To most people, this title would foreshadow a discussion of two rivals in the National Basketball Association. Though the name Miami Heat makes a lot of sense, Utah Jazz may be the most oxymoronic nickname in the world of sports. For those who are old enough to remember Pete Maravich, the Utah Jazz were originally in New Orleans, where the name “Jazz” is obvious. That they did not change the name as they headed in 1979 to the Bee Hive State, the epicenter of the Mormon faith, is bizarre.

Do you know why the owners did not change the name from “Jazz”? The move occurred so close to the beginning of the next season that a name change could not be accomplished in time per the rules of the league. They kept the name after that as few thought that the team would survive and then another name change would be required. As fate would have it, messiahs, in the form of John Stockton and Karl Malone, did appear for the team and they became a true success story. Now the name means something altogether different. It is a testament to succeeding when others think that you would fail.

There are several explanations for the history of the term “jazz.” Many trace the name to a slang term for energy, vitality and spirit: “jasm.” To have jasm meant that you had jass. That term was roundly used in New Orleans. Take, for instance, the “Original Dixieland Jass Band” which famously began recording jazz commercially as early as 1917. Now for the tale! That band claimed thatjass became jazz because kids would cross out the “j” on all their posters. If true, it is a great story. If not, then it is a great fib. I am good with either.

The real purpose of comparing Jazz and Heat today is to talk about the future of the great jazz festivals of the world that, for the most part, are in the Summer. I am not sure which is a greater threat to Jazz Festivals: the current trend of presenting so many different forms of music at a “jazz” festival or the impact of Global Warming. Granted, shows in Tanglewood, Monterey, Ravinia and perhaps even Newport are somewhat insulated from the Summer heat. But with temperatures moving up annually, perhaps the “season” may need to be shorter.

Here in St. Louis, we have an end of August “festival” that lasts two full days. One of our goals was to turn this very popular indoor venue event into a larger outdoor venue festival. If we were to do so, at that time of the year, an outdoor festival could save a lot of money on food sales. One could easily serve fried egg sandwiches without the necessity of a stove or any other apparatus. Just break the egg over the parking lot, toast the bun in the same manner and provide condiments and beer. Gold mine!

The vibe of outdoor festivals has changed as well. With the power of nostalgia, fading memories and cleaning up old, bad experiences, I long for the time when you could spread a blanket over a field of beautiful grass, sip wine, eat cheese and listen to great music. For most of us, the only way to reprise that amazing experience is to utilize our backyards or, better yet, one of our friend’s or neighbor’s backyard.

Public gardens and fields are often dangerous now and access has been limited in many cases. Imagine my amazement and horror to learn that some public gardens are closed to the public to stop “visitors” from stealing shrubs, trees and flowers. Heading to London shortly, I have a list of famous garden areas where the visiting times have been reduced sharply, where guards have been stationed and where admission may be charged.

Will Jazz Festivals be similarly impacted? Clearly, the trend is to move jazz events to venues with seats, controlled entrances and exits and other restraints. Such precautions cost money, so “free” events are becoming harder to find. Public events are further impacted by the high rise in all forms of insurance that one would need to prudently produce a large outdoor event.

There are fewer opportunities for folks to sample jazz without having to buy a ticket. When live music becomes available only to those who can afford to attend a show, by definition, our audiences will shrink, our reach will be impeded and our music will no longer be for everyone. We are pretty far from worrying about the Heat vs. Jazz or are we?

The world is changing every day, not all for the better, not all for the worse. But, the attractiveness of attending outdoor music shows is under scrutiny. I hope I am wrong…dead wrong. For this purpose, I want our Jazz to soundly defeat the Heat!

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

O’ Canada! Celebrate Canada Day!

Monday, July 1 is Canada Day. Originally called “Dominion Day,” Canada Day is the national day of Canada, commemorating the unification of the three North American British colonies into one confederation: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada (which was made up of parts of modern-day Ontario, Quebec and Labrador).

The holiday, just like July 4th, celebrates the independence of Canada from the United Kingdom, though what was accomplished with muskets and fighting in the United States was completed by negotiation in Canada. Again, similar to July 4th in the US, Canada Day is celebrated with firework displays, concerts, barbecues, patriotic parades and festivals. The Canadian flag (see above) flies high across the country. Many people paint their faces red and white, which are Canada’s national colors. There are often citizenship ceremonies as well.

Those who watched the thrilling Stanley Cup Finals, completed just a few days ago, were treated in both Edmonton and Miami to stirring renditions of Canada’s National Anthem. Here, too, the differences between “The Star Spangled Banner” and “O’ Canada” revolve around guns. The US Anthem was written in the middle of a battle and its lyrics laud the ability of our flag to survive the “rockets’ red glare and the bombs bursting in air.” “O’ Canada” is a call to honor and to “stand on guard” for our “native land.”

Both songs stir emotions and represent the highest ideals and emotions.

Besides ice hockey and “O’ Canada,” two of Canada’s most prized assets will be sailing and performing on Botti at Sea ’25. Both David Foster and Diana Krall are proud Canadians who have supported their “native land” over the years in many ways. Want to hear each of them sing “O’ Canada”? Here you go!

https://secondhandsongs.com/performance/1164747 – David Foster
https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/audio/1.1523162 – Diana Krall

We doubt that they will play that song on Botti at Sea ’25, but if we can “jazz it up” a bit, we may have a chance to do so. In the old days, we would have asked Monty Hall to negotiate for us to make this happen. After all, he was the host of Let’s Make a Deal…and a Canadian!

Fun Fact: Actress Joanna Gleason is one of three children of Monty Hall. Are you old enough to remember Video Village…?

If you are looking for a duet of Krall/Foster, check out this version of “Desperado.”

New Music

Candid Records has just released two albums featuring artists who have performed on Jazz Cruises programs

Eliane Elias’ Time and Time Again

Singer and pianist Eliane Elias, who sailed on The Jazz Cruise earlier this year, has released her latest album, Time and Again, on Candid. Produced by Eliane with her long-standing team of Marc Johnson and Steve Rodby, Time and Again showcases Elias’ exceptional songwriting with eight original compositions. Featured musicians on the album include guitarists Conrado Goys, Marcus Teixeira and Daniel Santiago, along with Marc Johnson on acoustic bass, Marcelo Mariano on electric bass, and drummers Edu Ribeiro and Cuca Teixeira. Guest artists include vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, drummer Peter Erskine, guitarist Bill Frisell, percussionists Marivaldo dos Santos and Davi Vieira and the background vocals of Mark Kibble. Eliane first invited Kibble, the arranger for Take 6 on her 2015 GRAMMY®-winning album Made in Brazil.

“For Time and Again, Mark created background vocals on six of the eight songs,” Eliane explains. “I really feel we have a special affinity in the music and together, we’ve created a very unique sound.”

Chick Corea Elektric Band II’s Paint the World

It’s been 30 years since 27-time GRAMMY® winner, keyboard virtuoso Chick Corea unveiled his brand-new incarnation of the Elektric Band, the Elektric Band II. Paint the World, originally released in 1993, featured a brand-new lineup of guitarist Mike Miller, bassist Jimmy Earl, drummer Gary Novak and saxophonist (and Jazz Cruises music director) Eric Marienthal, who was the sole holdover from the original lineup. The thirteen-track album is being reissued by Candid Records on CD, all streaming outlets and for the first time ever as a two-disc vinyl LP.

Recorded at Mad Hatter Studios in Los Angeles and comprised primarily of first takes, Paint the World is marked by the usual proficiency, spontaneity, impeccable execution, and jaw-dropping displays of chops that had characterized Corea’s previous five Elektric Band albums. With these specific players in mind, the album is notable for its “less is more” approach to Corea’s particular style of genre-bending composition.

Mid-Summer Vacation July 4 – 14, 2024

The Jazz Cruises’ office will be closed starting at 2 PM ET on July 3 through July 14 for a mid-Summer Vacation. We will reopen at the usual time (10 AM ET) on Monday, July 15, 2024. During this time, guests may complete reservations online, check their Jazz Cruises account and submit questions to us at [email protected]. Responses may take a bit longer, but we will answer all questions submitted.

All of us at Jazz Cruises wish you and yours a happy, fun and safe July 4th holiday. Whether you spend it on the beach, at a pool, on the deck or just lounging, every holiday deserves a few hours of great jazz! Do not live without it!

1-Day Tickets to STL Jazz Fest Are On Sale Now!

1-Day tickets for STL Jazz Fest are now on sale! For details about the festival and information on 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

Jazz Cruises’ ’25 Programs

The Jazz Cruise ’25
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary
The Last 80 Staterooms…Act Now! 

The plans for the 25th Anniversary sailing of The Jazz Cruise ’25 are spectacular. The cruise is over 94% reserved and is currently in Open Booking, which means that anyone may reserve any available stateroom. The remaining inventory, totaling just over 80 staterooms, includes Veranda, Ocean View and Inside Staterooms.

The Smooth Jazz Cruise ‘25.1 & ‘25.2
Starting its 3rd Decade
Both Sailings Fully Reserved

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. WAITLIST guests qualify for special terms when reserving a stateroom on The Jazz Cruise ’25 or Botti at Sea II.

Botti at Sea II
Every Night is a Night on the Town
New Performer – Diana Krall! 

Botti at Sea ’25 is over 65% reserved. Anyone may reserve an available stateroom 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! Diana Krall has just been added to the lineup! 

Journey of Jazz ’25
Jazz Life at Sea & On Land 
Reserve Now – Land Events Menu Soon

Jazz Cruises’ newest program, Journey of Jazz, hosted by Marcus Miller & Gregory Porter, is in Open Booking. Though not sailing for 15 months, the cruise is more than 65% reserved. Menu of land-based events in Victoria and San Francisco to be announced in late July! Reserve your stateroom now to be eligible for events at that time.

Mug Shots of the Week

Darlene M.
Lucille & James

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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