Where are the great male jazz singers? Plus, your chance to win $1,000 in onboard credit!
Entertainment Cruise Productions
 
Our Take: Why Aren't There More Male Jazz Singers?
This may be the shortest Our Take on record, as my honest answer to the question above is “I have no idea!” It is the time of the year that we are finalizing the lineups for our 2019 jazz cruises and the paucity of male jazz singers continues to mystify me. I am too old to raise children again, but, if had another son, I would teach him to sing jazz or be a left-handed relief pitcher. Though the disciplines are quite different, they share the same degree of scarcity and, therefore, high value.

The field of female jazz singers is strong and ever so often a new name pops up that provides a shot in the arm to the genre as well. A seemingly endless string of great voices, sultry and lovely presentations and amazing talents can be found with ease. In reviewing the lineups for our most recent sailings of Blue Note at Sea and The Jazz Cruise, you had your choice of Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lalah Hathaway, Nnenna Freelon, Niki Haris, Roberta Gambarini, Ann Hampton Callaway among others. For 2019, the lineups include Cecile McLorin Salvant, Eliane Elias, Cyrille Aimee, together with newcomer Veronica Swift and a few voices to be named later.

No such variety exists for male jazz vocalists. Which is not to say that there is not quality, for Kurt Elling has starred on our jazz cruise programs for years. Freddy ColeAndy Bey, the late Kevin Mahogany and others have also entertained our guests. In recent years, Clint Holmes and Steve Tyrell have been huge fan favorites with their repertoire of standards and great music. The Four Freshmen, Manhattan Transfer, Take 6 and New York Voices have also featured strong male voices.

Among the most popular on the cruise have been those men who sing and play an instrument, most notably John Pizzarelli and Byron Stripling. That is a tradition as old as jazz itself and is still beloved today. Especially by me, particularly when the player is accomplished at both the instrument and the vocals. John and Byron are geniuses.

Okay, I have gone four paragraphs and have not even come close to answering the question posed in the title. Again, I have no answer, but would love to hear what YOU think. In a music genre filled with amazing female vocalists, why aren’t there more male jazz singers? The theories should be fun to read.

Our Take is written by Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of Entertainment Cruise Productions. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at michael@ecpcruises.com.
 
One More Quiz - The Jazz Cruise Hall of Fame '19
The Board of Directors of The Jazz Cruise Hall of Fame have met and have selected two musicians, one male and one female, to be inducted into The Jazz Cruise Hall of Fame during The Jazz Cruise ’19. Can you guess who they are? You may guess as many times as you wish, but each guess must have two names and two names only. The first correct answer receives $1,000 in onboard credit for the jazz cruise of their choice. Send your responses to TJCHOF@ecpcruises.com.
 
Dee Dee Bridgewater, Maceo Parker will join
Kirk Whalum for special Berks Jazz Fest show

Special collaborations by artists have become a mainstay of the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest.
 
“Our goal each year is to work with artists to create unique performances that only can be seen at the Berks Jazz Fest,” said John Ernesto, festival general manager. “We are fortunate to have special relationships with artists who are willing to take on the challenge of putting together these ensembles. “This year, we are blessed to have several stellar collaborations scheduled during the 10-day fest.”
 
One of those featured ensembles is “The Heart & Soul of Sax” scheduled for Friday, April 13, 7 p.m., at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in West Reading.
 
Saxophonist Kirk Whalum is the mastermind behind the project that also features saxophonist Everette Harp and very special guests Maceo Parker, the soul & R&B saxophone icon; Dee Dee Bridgewater, legendary jazz vocalist; and The Berks Horns.
 
“When we came up with the concept for the show, I never thought it would be possible to have Maceo and Dee Dee be part of this soulful night of music,” said Whalum. “The Berks team did an amazing job working with Maceo and Dee Dee to make this dream ensemble a reality.
“I am so looking forward to this concert. It is going to be a special night of music.” For more information, click here.