For the past 10 years or more, the end of our summer has been marked by the Vail Jazz Party!
Entertainment Cruise Productions
Our Take: Great Jazz Helps Mark Time
When I was a kid, summer ended the day after Labor Day when I went back to school. Sleeping the night before the new school year was more difficult than on Christmas Eve. But, from the time I went to full-day kindergarten until graduating from college, summer always ended on Labor Day.

You could suggest that the Autumnal Equinox is more precisely the end of summer. That would be September 23. Actually, the only point of the equinox is that the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night are almost equal. Call me silly, but that has very little to do with the end of summer. By that date, pools and beaches are already closed (except in the southern portions of the country), all kids are back in school and most of us look even sillier in all white than we did in July. Our bow to science is over.

Today is the Saturday before Labor Day, the last hurrah of summer based upon my childhood, but many kids have been back in school for 2-3 weeks, the college football season is upon us and coffee houses are proudly serving pumpkin spice drinks. Actually, pumpkin spice is just about everywhere. I must have missed the memo on the importance of pumpkin spice being in your diet.

Each of us has their own calendar and ways to mark time. For the past 10 years or more, the end of summer was this weekend. Not because of Labor Day, but because it was the Vail Jazz Party! Each year we fly to Denver, rent a car, traverse the 2-hour drive through the mountains and wind up in Vail for the music. Hosts Howard and Cathy Stone do an amazing job with the event and, between the musicians and the guests, the weekend is almost a kickoff party for The Jazz Cruise.
Having spent time with our guests in Vail and listening to their
eager anticipation of the cruises is inspiring, humbling
and highly invigorating.
We'll drive down the mountain tomorrow with the goal of making the last flight out from Denver to St. Louis before Labor Day. During this annual drive from Vail to Denver, I always find myself rededicating my energies and commitment to our upcoming cruise season. Having spent time with our guests in Vail and listening to their eager anticipation of the cruises is inspiring, humbling and highly invigorating.

Yes, the close of the Vail Jazz Party is now the end of my summer, but in the back of my mind is the fact that, unlike a lot of other folks, it won't be long before I am back in shorts, wearing white and enjoying fun in the sun. Only then, it will be at sea with our amazing musicians and the most lovely guests in the world.

And, though some of our guests join us for all three of our different jazz programs, most choose either The Jazz Cruise, Blue Note at Sea or The Smooth Jazz Cruise as their domain, making the spirit and milieu of each cruise unique. For us at Entertainment Cruise Productions, that fact alone gives us three weeks of amazing vacation, four weeks when you count the second sailing of The Smooth Jazz Cruise.

Goodbye to summer ... fewer than 5 months to heaven.

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
Listen: Jazz Cruise Conversations!
Guitarists Talk With Marcus Miller:
Podcast 19: Guitarists Talk With Marcus Miller
In this week's installment of Jazz Cruise Conversations, the podcast series from Entertainment Cruise Productions, we present to you a remarkable roundtable discussion hosted by Marcus Miller with five stellar guitarists who performed on The Smooth Jazz Cruise earlier this year.

This fascinating conversation with Lee Ritenour, Raul Midón, Jonathan Butler, Nick Colionne and Steve Oliver covers the instrument and the music. Plus, the five jam and create at least one tune on the spot together, prodded by Marcus of course.

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.
Veronica Swift Releases "Confessions" Album
Ever since Veronica Swift first performed for us, initially in a pre-concert on land and then on The Jazz Cruise in 2018, the gifted young vocalist has been a hit with our guests. Veronica's new album "Confessions" featuring Benny Green, Emmet Cohen and other favorites from The Jazz Cruise comes out today on Mack Avenue.

The album includes her unique take on songs such as Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough's "I'm Hip," André and Dory Previn's "You're Gonna Hear From Me" and "Forget About the Boy," as well her own "I Hope She Makes You Happy." The 25-year-old phenom also sings an interesting medley of the Arthur Schwartz/Howard Dietz classic "Confession" and Jessie Mae Robinson and Nina Simone's "The Other Woman."

Learn for yourself why Veronica is now showing the jazz world what we've known for years.
Coming to St. Louis on September 7 for the
First Annual Presentation of

Yes, we are producing a festival in St. Louis on September 7. We are featuring two St. Louis favorites, Tim Cunningham and Erin Bode, as well as stars from The Smooth Jazz Cruise, Eric Darius, Grace Kelly and the one and only Brian Culbertson. If you have not made plans as yet, some lawn tickets remain available for sale on Ticketmaster.

If you are going to be there, so, too, are many folks from Entertainment Cruise Productions. Look for us — we will be in the same ECP Staff Shirts that we wear on the ship ... of course we will. We cannot wait to see you at this fun event. Not sure about this land thing ... maybe it will work out!