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THE LINEUP YOU SELECTED
for this very special Cruise!
For 15 years and 20 sailings, The Smooth Jazz cruise has been home to the brightest stars in the genre. In 2018, we have given the honor of selecting our headliners to the people who know and love them best...our past guests. This best-of-the-best lineup will truly make this a cruise to remember!
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Featured Artists And Musicians
To be added soon!
Marcus Miller, winner of two Grammy® Awards, the 2013 Edison Award for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz (Holland), the 2010 Victoire du Jazz (France) and appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2013, is not only an exceptional musician – a multi-instrumentalist and world-renowned bassist – but also a highly gifted composer and producer. The legendary album “Tutu,” written and produced for Miles Davis, sealed his international fame when Marcus was only 25. Over the course of his career, has collaborated with artists as varied and talented as Eric Clapton, George Benson, Luther Vandross, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, George Duke, Wayne Shorter, Lalah Hathaway and Herbie Hancock. He also has produced his own genre-defying albums, among them The Sun Don’t Lie, Tales, M2, Silver Rain, Free, A Night in Monte Carlo (with the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra), and Renaissance. Along with international tours, Marcus Miller hosts a weekly program on SiriusXM radio show, “Miller Time.”
Since his 1992 debut album Trust, multi-platinum selling sax-man Boney James has racked up sales of more than 3 million records, four RIAA gold albums, four GRAMMY nominations, a Soul Train Award, nominations for two NAACP Image Awards and 10 CD’s atop the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. In 2009 Billboard Magazine named him the #3 Contemporary Jazz Artist Of The Decade (trailing just Kenny G and Norah Jones). Born James Oppenheim and nicknamed “Boney” in his mid–20’s when a meager touring per diem saw him growing thinner, he became seriously interested in music in the mid 70’s, a very vibrant and freewheeling period for popular music. “You could hear different genres all over the radio. Contemporary jazz was everywhere – people like Grover Washington Jr., Herbie Hancock and George Benson were stars,” he marvels. “Artists like Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire were incorporating jazz into what they were doing, and the jazz guys were mixing R&B into their sound. It was a great time to be a young musician.” James continues his artistic evolution with the dynamic Futuresoul, another genre-bending work following on the heels of his 2014 GRAMMY nominated album The Beat. “When people ask me what category my music falls under,” he says, “I always say, ‘It’s Boney James music’.”
Season 3 winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Alonzo Bodden keeps the boat rolling—in laughter, rest assured—as comedian-in-residence for The Smooth Jazz Cruise. With a resumé that includes numerous appearances on the late-night circuit (The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan O' Brien Show, The Late Show with Craig Kilborn, The Keenan Ivory Wayans Show, and Comedy Central among others), television hosting gigs, voice-over roles and film credits, Alonzo entertains an audience masterfully. His talent has earned him international acclaim and presented the New York native with opportunities to perform in Canada, Ireland, Australia and the U.K., along with stops in Iraq and other places around the world where U.S. troops are stationed.
Dane Butcher has been the Director of Cruise Operations and Programming for Entertainment Cruise Productions for over 10 years. Born in Australia, Dane has been in the entertainment industry since age 15. He began working in Australia on Television Shows and was featured in numerous commercials as well. He made the transition to cruise ships in the late ‘90’s and cemented himself as one of the lead Entertainment Directors which took him to the Great Barrier Reef as the Entertainment Manager at Brampton Island Resort. After returning to ships for some years he then decided to become land-based and joined forces with ECP and his combination of cruise and entertainment experience, coupled with his irresistible personality is a hit with guests, musicians and crew.
As musical repertoires go, it doesn’t get much more varied than that of Brian Culbertson. Adept at the piano, drums, trombone and bass, Brian Culbertson’s career has taken him beyond writing, recording, producing and touring and into the advertising arena to compose jingles for the likes of United Airlines, Coors and McDonald’s. The acclaimed musician also founded the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a 5-day celebration of wine, food, art and music that draws big entertainers and devoted fans year after year. Brian Culbertson has 15 albums under his belt and counts Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, Larry Graham, Michael McDonald, Chris Botti, Musiq Soulchild, Ledisi, Barry Manilow, Herb Alpert, Natalie Cole, Chuck Brown, and Bootsy Collins among his collaborators.
One of the biggest stars of R&B, contemporary and straight-ahead jazz, Gerald Albright has earned his reputation as a “musician’s musician.” He has sold over a million albums in the U.S. alone and has appeared on nearly 200 albums by other artists and was selected to be one of 10 saxophonists to play at President Clinton’s inauguration ceremony. During the ’80s, Albright became a highly requested session musician, playing on albums by a wide variety of artists – including Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Lola Folana, Atlantic Starr, Olivia Newton-John, the Temptations and Maurice White. He also toured extensively with Les McCann, Jeff Lorber, Teena Marie, the Winans, Marlena Shaw, Quincy Jones, and Whitney Houston, among many others. Albright also went on to record numerous successful solo albums for Atlantic Records. Two albums hit the number one slot on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Chart, and were nominated for GRAMMY® Awards in 1989 and 1990. Phil Collins asked him to front a Big Band in 1998, and they toured together. Albums include the 2008 GRAMMY® nominated New Beginnings, and the 2009 GRAMMY® nominated, Sax for Stax; both in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album. His 2014 release Slam Dunk received a GRAMMY® nomination in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category.
GRAMMY® Award winner Norman Brown is on close intimate terms with his audience. For almost two decades, it has been an engaging, mutually rewarding relationship, with the multitalented guitarist, composer and singer offering tasty sonic tidbits of classic R&B and contemporary jazz and his fans melting into satisfied aural bliss with every succulent, jazz inflected note. Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, Brown first picked up a guitar at the age of 8. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix‟s mind-bending rock sounds, Brown soon discovered his father's favorite artist, Wes Montgomery, and found his stylistic holy grail. He delivered his debut album, Just Between Us, in 1992, and followed with the gold- certified After The Storm and 1996's Better Days Ahead. 2003's Just Chillin', earned Brown much-deserved recognition with a GRAMMY® Award in the best pop instrumental category. That project was followed by his 2005 release West Coast Coolin', where Brown successfully tested out his skills as a vocalist. In addition to success as a musician and producer, Brown has launched a successful career as an on-air personality, hosting this own weekend radio show on Broadcast Architecture‟s Smooth Jazz Network.
Rick Braun has not only crafted his own definitive hits that have been radio staples since the ‘90s, but he’s produced No. 1 hits for David Benoit, Marc Antoine and former Rod Stewart band sidekick Jeff Golub. He’s achieved collaborative success on massive hits with Boney James, as a member of RnR with saxman Richard Elliot and with BWB, a powerhouse trio completed by Grammy® winners Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown. His enthusiasm for collaborating carries over to his concert schedule. Not only is he a popular headliner on his own, but Braun regularly shares the spotlight touring as part of top drawer packages such as Jazz Attack, comprised of the trumpeter along with Peter White and Euge Groove. He co-wrote the Top 20 pop hit “Here With Me” for REO Speedwagon, and the gifted horn player became a highly-respected sideman touring and recording with Rod Stewart, Sade, Tina Turner, Natalie Cole and Tom Petty. Although his horn work has been his signature voice establishing him as a preeminent player and genre icon, Braun realized another dream when he took to the microphone to croon jazz standards on his releases, Sings With Strings and Swingin’ In The Snow.
Having toured the world over and collaborated with some of the biggest names in music (think Prince, Van Morrison, Lionel Richie and Beyonce), Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer brings her worldly musical perspective to The Smooth Jazz Cruise. With solo album sales exceeding the 2.5 million mark, the staple on the large festival circuit performs for sold-out crowds throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, Russia, the Baltic states and South America. Candy Dulfer’s hit, “Finsbury Park, Café 67,” ranked the most popular smooth jazz number on U.S. radio for a period in 2003, and the 1990 solo debut album she recorded at just 19, “Saxuality,” sold more than a million copies worldwide and earned a Grammy® nod.
Forged from his Memphis, (TN) gospel roots and his 1980‘s initiation into the thriving Houston, TX nightclub scene, Kirk Whalum’s big, rich tenor sound is unmistakably his. The son of a Baptist preacher and himself an ordained minister, Kirk has earned a stellar reputation for his work in pop, R&B and smooth jazz. In the studio, he’s collaborated with Artists including Take 6, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones and, perhaps most memorable for both him and his listeners, with Whitney Houston on the sax solo for her rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” With more than 25 solo albums including the acclaimed Gospel According to Jazz series, two Stellar Awards, 11 Grammy® nominations and one Grammy® Award, Kirk’s made a name for himself as a preeminent entertainer with mass appeal and massive skill.
Imagine how the juices will flow on the high seas for saxophonist Richard Elliot, who says he gets much of his creative inspiration from behind the wheel of his car in L.A. traffic. The Scottish-born musician has been on the music scene for more than three decades and released his 17th solo album, “Lip Service,” in July 2014. The project features seven original compositions along with three covers of soul and pop hits from the 80s (“Shining Star” by The Manhattans), 90s (“Anytime” by Brian McKnight) and present day (“When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars). Richard Elliot got his start at age 19 with the Chapman Stick-based quartet Kittyhawk, played in soul band Tower of Power in the 80s and has continued topping the charts and touring the world as both solo artist and with innovative groups like Guitars & Saxes and, most recently, Summer Horns (comprised of Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Dave Koz).
In a career that spans nearly four decades, over a dozen solo recordings and countless performances, Peter White has maintained a reputation as one of the most versatile and prolific acoustic guitarists on the contemporary jazz landscape. Armed with an unparalleled combination of lyricism and energy, he combines elements of jazz, pop and classical guitar to create a sound that is singular and at the same time accessible to a broad audience. Barely a year after his first professional gig in England at 19 years old, he was invited to join Al Stewart’s band. In addition to opening for artists like Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel and Queen, White worked with Stewart in the studio on The Year of the Cat, which became a huge hit for Stewart in 1976. His twenty-year association with Stewart included co-writing Stewart’s 1978 hit, “Time Passages.” White launched his solo recording career with the 1990 release of Reveillez-Vous. On the road, he has participated in numerous “Guitars and Saxes” tours with players such as Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Jeff Golub, Lee Ritenour, Kirk Whalum, and Boney James, and has established an annual “Peter White Christmas Tour.”
“Fear and creativity can not live in the same room,” declares free-spirited and chart-topping saxophonist, composer, producer and radio host Euge Groove. The musical chameleon has been called upon for his musical prowess by everyone from Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Famer Tina Turner and balladeer Luther Vandross to UK Blues Rocker Joe Cocker, Richard Marx, Tower of Power and Huey Lewis and the News. In 1999 the saxophonist paved the way for his eventual solo stardom by recording some tracks of his own. Without a record label, Euge put his songs on the now-defunct MP3.com website, dubbing himself “Euge Groove.” Euge was soon topping the MP3.com Jazz chart. “Vinyl,” his first single from his self-titled Warner Bros. debut, set a record by spending 27 weeks on the R&R charts.
In Japan, it is said that if children begin music lessons on June 1 following their fifth birthday, they will keep studying for a long time. Pianist Keiko Matsui was taken to her first piano lesson on that very day when she was five and she hasn’t looked back since. After the release of her 1987 solo debut album Drop of Water, Keiko Matsui has become an icon of contemporary jazz, with nearly 1.2 million units sold in the U.S. alone and packed concert halls. Her elegant piano melodies and gentle jazz grooves have enormous appeal and never disappoint her loyal fanbase which Matsui has cultivated with over 20 albums and jaw-dropping live shows. No stranger to the upper reaches of the contemporary jazz album and airplay charts, Keiko was named Top Indie Contemporary Jazz Artist Of The Year by Billboard Magazine in 1996, among many other awards and honors.