Count us in whenever or wherever there is a case to be presented in pursuit of gender equality.
Entertainment Cruise Productions
Our Take:
Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington

Over the July 4th holiday, I had some down time and chose to watch some old classic movies. When I am in that mood, Casablanca and Lawrence of Arabia are my first choices. Though I have never been to that part of the world, I find those movies to be exciting and memorable. The number of lines in those movies that I have cannibalized is embarrassing. From "round up the usual suspects" to "nothing is written," those movies have provided me with a large part of my vocabulary.

But, this time, I chose Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Frank Capra's not so subtle 1939 look at politics in Washington, D.C. Jimmy Stewart has the lead, of course, and like every movie he has ever been in, the character he is playing is some derivative of, well, Jimmy Stewart. But that is not what struck me when watching the movie, which, for the most part, works in today's world. What hit me in the face is the fact that the entire U.S. Senate was comprised of elderly white males. The movie is 80 years old and the rate of change in the makeup of the U.S. Senate over that period is modest at best, particularly when compared to most other professions and callings. Today there are only 25 female members of the U.S. Senate, whereas the number of female doctors, lawyers, corporate leaders and financial moguls is significant.
The issue is simple — women deserve the same rights and opportunities as men. The only discussion point is how we get there.
No, we are not going to discuss or debate the status of women in America in this piece. I do not believe that any debate is needed. The issue is simple — women deserve the same rights and opportunities as men. The only discussion point is how we get there. Again, that discussion is above my pay grade, but count me in whenever or wherever there is a case to be presented in pursuit of this cause.

As all notes in the space wind up, let's take a quick look at the "jazz" implications of this question. In 1939, except in the rarest of circumstances, and nowhere in the touring bands, you would only find women in jazz as vocalists. Fast forward to 2001, the first sailing of The Jazz Cruise. There again, the only women performers were vocalists. Occasionally for the next few years, we would present a female vocalist who played piano as well, but still no female musician. The first record we have of female musicians on The Jazz Cruise is our 2004 sailing. Virginia Mayhew, Kristin Korb, Renee Rosnes and Ingrid Jensen sailed and performed on that cruise.
Female Musicians on The Jazz Cruise '20:
The Jazz Cruise '20 features many female musicians and our first all-female band, Artemis. Artemis features Anat Cohen, who has sailed with us many times, and first time performers Melissa Aldana, Allison Miller and Noriko Ueda. Artemis is led by Renee Rosnes and also includes Ingrid Jensen — yes, the same two who led the way for female participation on The Jazz Cruise '04. Other female musicians on The Jazz Cruise '20 are bassist Nicki Parrott and trombonist Jennifer Wharton. The balance of our female performers are vocalists (Dianne Reeves, Catherine Russell, René Marie, Niki Haris and Veronica Swift). I would not nominate The Jazz Cruise as a crusader for gender equality, just yet, but we are keenly aware of the issue and are doing our best to present a representative lineup.

As Jefferson Smith (Stewart's character in the movie) offers, "Great principles don't get lost once they come to light." All lights are shining brightly on the issue of gender equality. We will not lose sight of our commitment to the cause.

Our Take is written by Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director – Jazz of Entertainment Cruise Productions. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at
Save the Date: July 23!
Announcement of The Smooth Jazz Cruise '21

You have waited long enough to learn about our amazing plans for the two sailings of The Smooth Jazz Cruise in 2021. Always first in lineup and talent, The Smooth Jazz Cruise '21 will offer new ports-of-call and exciting news about our ship, Celebrity Infinity.

Since you're receiving The Weekender, you are already in line to receive the announcement, so mark your calendar for Tuesday, July 23!
Podcast #10: Boney James with Alonzo Bodden
Podcast 10: Horn Talk From Blue Note at Sea
Podcast 11 is live!
In this week's installment of Jazz Cruise Conversations, the podcast series from Entertainment Cruise Productions, we present to you Horn Talk From Blue Note at Sea.

This panel discussion features saxophonists Candy Dulfer and Nubya Garcia as well as trumpeters Russell Gunn and Marquis Hill, recorded earlier this year onboard Blue Note at Sea '19. This conversation was moderated by SiriusXM’s Mark Ruffin and includes an interesting cross-section of players from very different backgrounds. They each talked about their early experiences and exposure to jazz, as well as about their work with artists as diverse as Solange, Prince, Van Morrison and Wynton Marsalis, who also performed on Blue Note at Sea '19.

Every Jazz Cruise Conversations podcast is available on our website at: and You can also find Jazz Cruise Conversations on your preferred podcast platform, including iTunes and Spotify.
Newport Jazz Festival to Feature All-Star Lineup
There aren't many jazz festivals that can rival our cruises as far as both star power and emerging talent in large volume, but the Newport Jazz Festival comes close. With Christian McBride as artistic director and Jay Sweet as executive producer under George Wein, the prestigious and historic festival has booked an impressive collection of artists who reflect the diversity of the jazz genre and many of whom have performed or are performing on our jazz cruises.

The A-list headliners for the August 2-4 weekend include Kamasi Washington, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, The Bad Plus, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Ravi Coltrane and Ron Carter. But, just like with our cruises, the experience is also about hearing new and younger artists, perhaps for the first time, such as Camila Meza, James Francies, Makaya McCraven, Sons of Kemet, Joel Ross and Laurin Talese.  

All in all, more than 100 artists will perform 60+ sets on four stages during the three days at Fort Adams State Park.