Our love of jazz is leading us to support those around us.
Entertainment Cruise Productions
Our Take: From Cruise Season to Festival Season
Today marks the end of the 2019 jazz cruise season for Entertainment Cruise Productions, a bittersweet moment for us. On the one hand, we are thrilled, and more than a little relieved, that our four sailings went so well and were enjoyed by more than 8,000 guests. On the other hand, we love being at sea with our world-class musicians, great staff and crew, and, most of all, the most lovely, interesting and engaging guests in the world.

As you know, the 2020 sailings are in high gear. For The Smooth Jazz Cruise sailings, the lineups are complete and all of the staterooms have been reserved. The Jazz Cruise '20 lineup is also completed and over 70 percent of the staterooms are spoken for. Blue Note at Sea '20 has announced its amazing lineup of super headliners and stateroom reservations are at a record pace. Be on the lookout for our March 14 announcement of the balance of the Blue Note at Sea '20 lineup and some more information about the cruise.

The world of jazz for us, and for you, now revolves around special shows, events, festivals and concerts around the world. I know that I will be at St. Louis' Jazz at the Bistro on March 15 to catch Kurt Elling and will be headed to the Berks Jazz Fest in Reading, Pennsylvania in early April.

Berks Jazz Fest is produced by longtime cruiser and ECP friend, John Ernesto. John and his staff put on an amazing show that spans two full weekends and the week in the middle. I will be attending the events of the first weekend, which include a Brian Culbertson show. Berks Jazz Fest is one of the very few annual events that present performers that bridge all of our cruise programs. If you like jazz, you will find your favorite type of music at the Berks Jazz Fest.

Later in April is the Seabreeze Jazz Festival in Panama City, Florida. This event grows larger every year and primarily presents smooth jazz performers. We were actively involved with this program for a few years, and we continue to support the event through advertising.
Once we hit Memorial Day, our efforts will be visible in many parts of the country supporting jazz programs of all types, sizes and markets. Though our main goal is to present the jazz cruise programs of Entertainment Cruise Productions to as many jazz fans as possible, we also try to support other jazz events for the sake of the genre. We will talk about this more during the year, but we want to share our growth and success by supporting others who love jazz, too.

I indicated in past notes that my personal efforts at Entertainment Cruise Productions are now solely concentrated in our jazz programs. Having ECP – Jazz take a more significant profile in the broader world of jazz is part of that plan. Normally, I ask our readers to comment on questions and issues that I address. Here, I am looking for ideas about how ECP – Jazz can participate in other jazz events throughout the world. We cannot honor every request or completely fulfill every wish, but we will seriously look at any idea our followers may suggest.

After all, we love the music and we love being a part of the jazz community.

Our Take is written by Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of Entertainment Cruise Productions. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at michael@ecpcruises.com.
Sarasota Jazz Festival Turns 39
Our friends at the Jazz Club of Sarasota, led by its new president, Ed Linehan, are producing another stellar festival there in Florida. Guided by their music director Ken Peplowski, the Sarasota Jazz Festival kicks off its 39th anniversary on March 6 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and features the theme "Generations of Jazz."

Headliners include many favorites from The Jazz Cruise, including Shelly Berg, Randy Brecker, Dick Hyman, Bill Charlap, Houston Person and Mary Stallings, as well as emerging artists like Roxy Coss and Aaron Johnson.

We urge our jazz patrons to visit this amazing event and share in the wonderful music and camaraderie.
Jennifer Wharton Releases Debut Album
Jennifer Wharton's Bonegasm
Guests of The Jazz Cruise are very familiar with Jennifer Wharton, who has been a part of the Anita Berry Big Band for many years. Jennifer, who plays the bass trombone, has just released her debut album that features four — yes, four — trombonists in a unique celebration of that often maligned instrument.

The album, Bonegasm, was produced by her husband and fellow trombonist John Fedchock for Sunnyside Records. It's a remarkably melodic and engaging recording that we highly recommend.