We are excited to welcome Brian Culbertson, Grace Kelly and Eric Darius to our hometown this weekend!
Entertainment Cruise Productions
Our Take: Brian & Grace & Eric ... Oh My!
Famously, Dorothy told Toto that "we are not in Kansas anymore." Well, Missouri is the next state over and today, the "smooth jazz" version of the fable, which we are calling The Smooth Jazz Cruise on Land in St. Louis, is about to take place in a sold out amphitheater in suburban St. Louis. The excitement in the local "smooth jazz" community is palpable as shows of this quality and depth are rare in St. Louis. The event also includes performances by two local favorites, Erin Bode and Tim Cunningham, who clearly add luster to the evening.

But I want to take a moment to talk about our headliners, each of whom can sing, dance and command the stage in much the same way that Dorothy and her team took over Emerald City. Each, in his or her own way, has found that music is where "the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true."

Eric Darius has been a member of The Smooth Jazz Cruise lineups for years. He is always one of the most talked about performers on the cruise and one of the first to volunteer for guest events. Quick with a smile and a kind word, you can count on Eric to perform brilliantly and to make the audience happy and entertained. Combining musicianship and high energy is not easy, but Eric brings that quality with every show. His dream is to be a star on stage and each time the lights shine on him, he shines even brighter in return.

Grace Kelly transcends various music genres. As a graduate of the Vail Jazz program, justifiably, Grace can claim "straight ahead" jazz chops. I have seen her perform with Steve Tyrell who featured her as part of his Great American Songbook show. Grace sings, plays saxophone, plays blues and can rock out as she has done on Stephen Colbert's shows. She is also the 2018 Grand Prize Winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest (country genre). You name it, she can do it. Actually, you name it, she has done it ... time and time again. Whatever she dreams about will most certainly happen.

Finally, there is Brian Culbertson. Over the years, my respect for BC has continued to grow. In a genre where "playing the hits" is too often not only the meat, but the entire meal, of a show, he is constantly writing new songs, changing up the look and feel of his show, and adding new sounds to his repertoire. He seems to be fearless in his pursuit of excellence or perhaps he does have fear — the fear of standing still. In any event, we have supported various aspects of his career over the years, mainly from admiration of his spirit and drive. Identifying his dream is difficult, as he is a composite of performer, writer, arranger, business person and more. His dream may be to do it all!
As you can see, we have brought three powder kegs of talent and energy to St. Louis this afternoon and evening,
along with our local stars.
As you can see, we have brought three powder kegs of talent and energy to St. Louis this afternoon and evening, along with our local stars. The end result will be a show that the Wizard of Oz himself would be proud to produce.

Ah, yes, the Wizard of Oz. That wonderfully bizarre man who stands behind the screen creating images and entertainment for all. Not unlike Entertainment Cruise Productions. Never the show, but always there to make sure that the show is of great quality, with top-notch sound and lights, starting on time and ending as promised.

A truly great jazz show requires the services of those out front as well as those behind the scenes, much like Dorothy and the gang interacted with the Wizard. In the end, the final product is amazing, fabulous, even enchanting. But, unlike the fable, there are no wicked witches, magic spells or special shoes. Instead, our shows are the byproduct of talent, hard work, dedication and the love of jazz!

Well, it is time to get over to the amphitheater and help produce our show. Do not worry, they do not let me touch anything that requires power or could break. My presence is basically symbolic. Symbolic of what is up for debate, but I know that I will have a great time tonight thanks to Brian, Grace, Eric and our team of Wizards.

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 michael@ecpcruises.com.

Blue Note at Sea Is Your Ticket to a Sensational Jazz Vacation in 2020!

Entertainment Cruise Productions' venerable jazz cruise programs, The Jazz Cruise and The Smooth Jazz Cruise, are fully subscribed for 2020, filling up faster than ever!

If you want to experience another of our amazing jazz programs, check out Blue Note at Sea '20, which sails Jan. 25 – Feb. 1, 2020 (the week after The Smooth Jazz Cruise '20.1 and the week before The Jazz Cruise '20, also on Celebrity Infinity).

In its fourth season, Blue Note at Sea is a hot ticket as well with more than 80% of the staterooms reserved, so booking soon is advised. Performers on Blue Note at Sea '20 have won over 30 Grammy Awards and this cruise will absolutely fill your soul with the music you've always loved.
Listen: Jazz Cruise Conversations!
Keyboardists Talk with Robert Glasper:
Podcast 20:
Keyboardists Talk with Robert Glasper

In this week's installment of Jazz Cruise Conversations, the podcast series from Entertainment Cruise Productions, we present to you a lively discussion hosted by Robert Glasper with five super-talented fellow keyboardists who performed on Blue Note at Sea earlier this year.

The keyboardists talked about their beginnings, influences and current direction. You get to hear from Geoffrey Keezer, Terrace Martin, Taylor McFerrin, Lawrence Fields and Kandace Springs. Plus, Robert sits in as part of the all keyboard "band" on this one!

Every Jazz Cruise Conversations podcast is available on our website at: bluenoteatsea.com/podcast and thejazzcruise.com/podcast. You can also find Jazz Cruise Conversations on your preferred podcast platform, including iTunes and Spotify.
Where's Alonzo?
Go see Alonzo!
Raise your hand if you could use a little more Alonzo Bodden in you life. We sure could.

For our readers who live in the Kansas City area, Alonzo will be at The Comedy Club Kansas City for two shows tonight (7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. September 7) and one show tomorrow night (7:00 p.m. September 8).

Alonzo loves when the cruisers come to his show, so if he is near you, take in the show and let him know you are in the audience.

NEXT SHOWS: September 7 and 8
CITY: Kansas City
LOCATION: The Comedy Club
Meet Us in Monterey!
The Monterey Jazz Festival, the longest continuously running jazz festival in the world, takes place September 27–29 at the Monterey Fairgrounds in Northern California.

Among the headliners this year at this prestigious event are Diana Krall, Chris Botti, Christian McBride, Snarky Puppy, Eliane Elias, Jazzmeia Horn, Kenny Barron & Dave Holland, Double Vision Revisited with Marcus Miller, David Sanborn and Bob James, plus many more.

Entertainment Cruise Productions will be on-site along with our friends from Blue Note Records at the Blue Note at Sea Tent, featuring special conversations, signings and presentations.