Admiring the world's best jazz venues and the people who make those venues special.
Entertainment Cruise Productions
Our Take:
How Do You Get To...?

I love the apocryphal story about the man walking in Manhattan who stops a learned looking person to ask, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" As the joke goes, the wise man says, "Practice, man, practice!" Only one level is that story a joke. On several levels, it is the best advice that anyone could give or receive.

A teacher once told me that the difference between "talent" and "greatness" is the amount of work and practice you are willing to invest. True greatness is awesome and inspiring. I love tennis, something that is not a secret among those who know me. Last Sunday, I was mesmerized by the finals of the Gentlemen's Championship at Wimbledon. Both players (Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer) are immensely talented, but their 5-hour match, a record for the final of that event, was more than a test of talent. It was a display of greatness. No matter how talented one might be, only players with immense commitment, astounding fitness and deep resolve could have performed as they did. Their mental and physical skills have been honed over years of hard work, practice and experience.

You could easily modify the opening joke by substituting "London" for "Manhattan" and "Wimbledon" for "Carnegie Hall." There are countless other cities and venues that would work in a similar manner. Hard work, when combined with talent, produces greatness and greatness is best presented in the cathedrals of our world.
“Hard work, when combined with talent, produces greatness and greatness is best presented in the cathedrals of our world.”
So what are the cathedrals of jazz? Village Vanguard? Blue Note Jazz Club? Birdland? Ronnie Scott's? Playboy Jazz Festival? Monterey Jazz Festival? Newport Jazz Festival? Montreux? I am sure that there are more examples to consider and I am certain that the Our Take fact check police will be sending them to me in droves. I will share their responses with you next time.

In determining what venues or events qualify as a "jazz cathedral," several qualities are required. First, the name must be known without further explanation. That is why Ronnie Scott's is a cathedral and Pizza Express is not. Then, the venue has to have been around for at least 40 years, perhaps longer. The venue has to have a colorful, even ribald, history. Finally, to qualify, the venue's current lineup of events and shows must reflect both the history and the now of jazz!

As a producer of jazz shows for 20 years, I admire the venues and the people who make those venues special. You can earn a living doing so, but, for the most part, producing jazz events has to be both a passion and fun for it to work for anyone. And, of course, there is the thrill of making people happy and spending time with jazz fans who are among the most generous, inclusive and open-minded people in the world. They draw hard lines sometimes in terms of the music they like, but their hearts are always open to new people and those in need. Jazz fans are kind people.

We are very proud to be a part of the world of jazz. It is an honor to present top musicians in a professional, comfortable and exciting manner. That is our goal, cruise after cruise. Who knows, maybe one day there will be a person walking in a harbor who stops a wise looking man and asks, "How do I sail on The Jazz Cruise or Blue Note at Sea or The Smooth Jazz Cruise?" We all know the funny answer for musicians. The yet unspoken answer for our guests is, "With good friends, great musicians and wonderful surroundings."

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
The Smooth Jazz Cruise '21.1 & '21.2
Cruise Details To Be Announced Tuesday

For those chomping at the bit to learn the details for The Smooth Jazz Cruise '21.1 & '21.2, your wait is almost over. Check your inbox on Tuesday (July 23) and all of your questions will be answered, including who is performing, where is the cruise going and how to reserve a stateroom.

The 2021 sailings of The Smooth Jazz Cruise will be the ultimate cruise experience, bringing together an amazing lineup, new ports of call, exciting news about our ship, the Celebrity Infinity, and a pricing surprise that you will love.

Now that we have teased you mercilessly, mark you calendar — Tuesday, July 23 — you will love it.
Jets & Jazz: A High-Flying Weekend in STL
Your Ticket for Jets & Jazz
The St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield will be the destination for all things Jets & Jazz on September 7-8, 2019, when the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show and The Smooth Jazz Cruise On Land in St. Louis share the same airspace.

Entertainment Cruise Productions is bringing The Greatest Party at Sea to land, in our hometown, for an incredible weekend of smooth jazz. And when you take in our 1st Annual Music Festival at the Chesterfield Amphitheater, you can also swing by the nearby Spirit of St. Louis Airport. The Air Show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, September 7-8. The smooth jazz festival is your encore, with shows all afternoon into the evening on September 7, leading up to the grand finale at 8:30 p.m., featuring one of the genre’s most popular stars, Brian Culbertson.
It will be an action-packed weekend in Chesterfield with two world-class events! Click here for more information and tickets for The Smooth Jazz Cruise On Land in St. Louis and click here for more information about the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & Stem Expo!
Catch Russell & Pizzarelli in NYC
The dynamic vocalist Catherine Russell will be doing a special series of shows later this week at Jazz at Lincoln Center, performing July 25-28 with the same group that will sail with her on The Jazz Cruise in 2020. Catherine will also celebrate the release of her most recent album Alone Together on vinyl. Click here for more information about Catherine's shows.

John Pizzarelli returns for another 2-week stand at Birdland in NYC, starting on July 23 with the Swing 7 and the next week in a tribute to Benny Goodman with Special Guest Ken Peplowski, a fellow standout on The Jazz Cruise. John’s wife Jessica Molaskey joins John for select shows. Click here for more information.
Listen to Steve Tyrell on KJAZZ 
Did you know that vocalist and The Jazz Cruise favorite Steve Tyrell hosts a radio show on KJAZZ in Long Beach, California? His show airs Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Pacific Time. You don't have to be in Southern California to listen in because you can hear a live stream of the show online by clicking here. And join Steve on The Jazz Cruise in 2020!