This is your call to action: Share Jazz Appreciation Month with others.
Entertainment Cruise Productions
Our Take: Share JAM With Others
As we said in earlier notes, April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) and we are going to spend the entire month providing you with as much current and interesting jazz news as possible. But, before doing so, I want to take a moment to share my recent experiences with folks who are not celebrating JAM!
I spent some time last weekend with a large number of folks in the travel industry. Actually, it was a two-day cruise. I will share more about that cruise in the upcoming months. The event included folks who produce all types of charter cruise programs, some quite extraordinary.
Among this group, we were the most senior in terms of both years in the industry and number of cruises produced. In that role, we were asked a lot of questions and many sought advice. Almost to a person, those we met indicated that they had no idea how a jazz-oriented cruise program could be as popular as our cruises and could continue for 20 years like The Jazz Cruise and 17 years like The Smooth Jazz Cruise. Invariably, they would offer that they do not like jazz.
After the third person doing so, I became more than a little curious. So, I spent 24 hours doing my own polling on the issue of "why do you not like jazz?" None of us will like what I learned, but in a weird way it is encouraging.
"If jazz is to retain its place in the world as the most inclusive and open music genre, then we should work harder to make jazz neophytes or those with limited jazz exposure more comfortable."
Overwhelmingly, people said that their main objection to jazz was not the music but the attitude and arrogance of the jazz fan. There was a plethora of "they think they are better than others," "they make fun of me when I don't know stuff" and similar refrains. Yes, there were some jabs at scatting and the fact that we only revere musicians who have died. But, mainly, they do not like us.
Do we care? Are they right? Frankly, I understand what they are saying. Within our own ranks, folks try to create hierarchies of jazz fandom. I would suggest that who the sidemen were on a particular 1964 recording is closer to trivia than to true love of music. If jazz is to retain its place in the world as the most inclusive and open music genre, then we should work harder to make jazz neophytes and those with limited jazz exposure more comfortable.
This effort starts on the bandstand. Musicians need to explain their tunes: Who wrote the tune? Who arranged the tune? What is the significance of the tune in the spectrum of the music? The more information coming to the audience, the more the audience will appreciate the music.
But we, the audience, need to do a better job of engaging others, encouraging those with an interest in jazz to experience a vast array of music, and to take the time to impart true knowledge to them. I have advocated some of this before, including a "Take A Friend to a Jazz Show" plea. I'm not sure that we can emphasize this enough. 
This is your call to action: Share Jazz Appreciation Month with others. Too often we think of the month as a time for jazz fans to enjoy jazz. Instead, or in addition, take time to share your love of jazz, share your passion and share your knowledge. Help others appreciate why we really love jazz. If we behave more like ambassadors and less like hoarders of the music, we may be able to turn folks, like those I met last weekend, around and join us.

By the way, there is no reason to tell people who were the sidemen on a particular 1964 recording. Save that for the folks on the cruises.

Our Take is written by Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director – Jazz at Entertainment Cruise Productions. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at
We'd Like to Hear From You

Jazz Appreciation Month officially begins on Monday, April 1, but we would like to start celebrating the incredible heritage and history of jazz right now.

In each Weekender newsletter from now through the end of April, we will pose a question or ask you to share stories with us so we can better understand your connection to and appreciation of jazz. With your permission, we plan to include some of your stories (and photos) in a future Weekender.

IT'S JAM TIME: Please click here to share with us a specific moment in your history with jazz that deepened your appreciation for the music? If possible, include details of the experience — like the artist, venue, song and date.
The Smooth Jazz Cruise: Ashore in St. Louis
As part of our Jazz Appreciation Month celebration (are you sensing a theme here?!), we are confirming the date/times/place/lineup for our first ever smooth jazz cruise festival! Tickets will go on sale shortly, and, as a fan of ours, you will have a priority right to secure the best seats … and join in the special Meet & Greet post-show party.

Here is the important information we promised, so start to make your plans to "cruise" on land with The Smooth Jazz Cruise:
  • Festival: The Smooth Jazz Cruise: Ashore in St. Louis, starring Brian Culbertson and featuring Grace Kelly and Eric Darius, with St. Louis’ own Erin Bode and Tim Cunningham.

  • Date: Saturday, September 7, 2019

  • Time: 3:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

  • Place: Chesterfield Amphitheater (St. Louis)
The location is in the western suburbs of St. Louis, about 15 minutes from the airport. There is ample hotel space adjacent to the location. We will have more information in the coming weeks, but we promise a great lineup, special prices and seating for our cruise family.

Not to confuse you, this show is in addition to the Double Vision (Bob James, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller) concert we are hosting in St. Louis at The Sheldon Theater on Tuesday, August 13, 2019. Yes, we are producing both shows!
A Response … By George
Not often do we receive a response from an Our Take honoree, so it was a real treat to receive a note from George Wein the other day. As I wrote, however, he never misses the opportunity to do something special. We decided to share his thoughts with you … By George!

Dear Michael:

Thanks for the nice words.

The truth is, I would be on your jazz cruise every year except I just don't enjoy flying to Fort Lauderdale. It takes a lot out of me, before we even get to the ship.

I'm very impressed with the talent you are getting now. Congratulations, you seem to have made a great success out of your hard work.

All I can do in return is acknowledge you in one of my Wein Machine notes, which I am happy to do. And if I am the Greatest Jazz Producer, then you are the Greatest Jazz Producer at Sea.

All the best, 
Come See Us at Berks Jazz Fest
The Berks Jazz Fest in Reading, Pa. kicks off next weekend and runs through April 15. We'll be there, as sponsors of shows at the Club ECP venue (at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading) and simply as fans of the music.

Among the festival's 50 performances is a special show featuring The Jazz Cruise All-Stars led by Eric Marienthal and Randy Brecker, with special guest Terell Stafford. Add to that set musical salutes to Al Jarreau, Chuck Loeb and Weather Report, plus a bevy of incredible headliners, and you can understand why this festival is a must-attend for us. And we'll help to celebrate the 30th Anniversary Edition of the Festival, which will feature Marcus Miller along with a special offer for Blue Note at Sea guests.
Robert Glasper Touring City Winery Venues
Robert Glasper
Blue Note at Sea host Robert Glasper is doing a tour of City Winery venues with his trio of Derrick Hodge and Chris Dave, along with special guest DJ Jahi Sundance.

They started in Chicago on Thursday and proceeded on to Nashville last night, but the City Winery tour continues in Atlanta (tomorrow night, March 31), New York (April 10), Boston (April 11) and Washington, DC (April 12).

Check them out and tell them ECP sent you!