George Wein is the founder and creator of the jazz festival.
Entertainment Cruise Productions
Our Take: Thank You, George Wein
I was planning my jazz festival schedule this week which led me to think about George Wein, the founder and creator of the jazz festival and, without question, the most famous jazz producer ever. George is 93 and still has a hand in the direction of his most famous creation: the Newport Jazz Festival, created in 1954. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Playboy Jazz Festival were also produced by George through his famous Festival Productions company. The concept of corporate sponsorships for festivals of this type was his, which shows that George not only knew great music when he heard it, but he also knew that the programs had to work financially to be viable.
As many of you know, George has been a guest of ours on The Jazz Cruise and, in 2015, he was inducted into The Jazz Cruise Hall of Fame. That honor pales in comparison to the other honors George has earned, such as being named a "Jazz Master" by the National Endowment for the Arts (2005), being a lifetime Trustee of Carnegie Hall, or a host of other awards. George's autobiography — "Myself Among Others: A Life in Music — is a must-read by anyone who loves jazz and enjoys learning about the business side of the genre.
"Many of the most significant creations in life are simple ideas refined and honed by someone who understands the matter
and cares to do it right."
I have had the privilege of spending time with George on several occasions, though not as recently as I would like. For me, someone who on a much smaller scale and platform does what George does, it is an honor and a genuine delight to talk to him. Most of my discussions were under the watchful and loving eye of his longtime assistant, Deborah Ross, a delightful and very smart confidante and colleague of George's. In responding to her invitation to come to New York to speak to George one time, I countered with a quip that I have used for many years, that being "I would gladly come to New York just for a pastrami sandwich." Of course, when I arrived at George's very tony Upper East Side home, Deborah had a pastrami sandwich, complete with mustard and a pickle, ready for my lunch. How cool is that?
Providing a forum for multiple jazz acts, some simultaneously presented and some staggered on several platforms, seems so obvious now. That format is the basis of our jazz cruise programs as well. But creating that format and understanding how it would allow guests to graze through the music offerings and provide musicians with more money and more exposure than they would have earned doing a single show at a smaller venue was sheer genius. Many of the most significant creations in life are simple ideas refined and honed by someone who understands the matter and cares to do it right. I will always think of George as someone who stands for his pursuit of perfection and the drive to present the best: The best musicians, the best venues and the best guest experience.
George has set the standard. The rest of us are simply trying not to mess up what he created.

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
OMG! We Are Seeing Double Vision!
Clearly, Double Vision, featuring Bob James, David Sanborn and Marcus Miller, is one of the iconic jazz albums of all time. With tunes like "Maputo," "Moon Tune" and "Never Enough," and players like Steve Gadd on drums, Al Jarreau on vocals, and Paul Jackson Jr. and Eric Gale on guitar, this 1986 release has been a staple of jazz fans forever. Critics adored it as well and the album won a Grammy in 1987 for Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal or Instrumental.
Miraculously, there was never a live tour featuring the album and the three principals have only performed the album, cut by cut, once, and that took place on, you guessed it, The Smooth Jazz Cruise in 2013! Well, the good news is that they are getting the band back together! Yes, Bob, David and Marcus, along with a great band and vocalist Larry Braggs, are going to tour, however briefly, later this year performing Double Vision from start to finish!
Blue Note at Sea '20, which features both Marcus Miller and David Sanborn, will be presenting Double Vision in St. Louis on Tuesday, August 13, at The Sheldon Theater. We will provide more information in a few weeks, but guests who have sailed on any of our jazz cruise programs will have priority as to seating and pricing.

To sign up for more information about this amazing concert opportunity, email with subject line "Double Vision" or call Jamey at 314.726.7636.
Berks Jazz Fest
Berks Jazz Festival Hosts ECP
John Ernesto and our friends at the Berks Jazz Fest in Reading, Pa., are set for their 29th edition April 4-15 with more than 50 events featuring cruise favorites such as Eric Marienthal, Randy Brecker, Kirk Whalum, Brian Culbertson, José James, Take 6 and many others.

We'll be there April 5-7 as sponsors of the Club ECP Shows (at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading) and we hope to see you there. Stop by Club ECP and say hello.
Jazz Aspen Snowmass Announces Lineup
Our friends at Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) in Aspen, Colorado, have announced a new format for their June Experience, going from their longtime home at the Benedict Music Tent to a mix of six venues all in downtown Aspen. 

Taking place June 20-23, the JAS June Experience will feature performances by Taj Mahal, Patti Austin, Booker T. Jones, José James, Jacob Collier, Etienne Charles, Richard Bona, Bria Skonberg, and Wycliffe Gordon & Friends. In addition, Blue Note at Sea '20 headliner Gregory Porter will perform a special concert a week later on June 29 at the Benedict Music Tent.