When Jazz and Sports Intersect. 
Entertainment Cruise Productions
Our Take: Take Note of The Note

After more than 50 years of trying, the St. Louis Blues have won the Stanley Cup. At present, I am not an avid hockey fan, but my association with the Blues, at least twice in my life, was more involved.

When the Blues entered the NHL for the 1967-8 season, I was a senior in high school. It just so happened that the father and son who were to be the owners of the team lived across the street from us. And, the son of the new general manager was attending my high school and would be the tight end on our football team. The hockey season began slowly, but, in the end, the Blues made the playoffs and won the Western Division. The six teams in that division were all expansion teams and the prize that the Blues won by winning the Western Division was a Stanley Cup Finals date with the Montreal Canadiens.

The Blues lost all four games in the finals, a feat that they would repeat for the next two seasons. Evidently, going 0-12 in the Stanley Cup Finals was difficult to handle, for it took almost 50 years for the Blues to return. 

In 1983, my association with the Blues took on a more serious path. I was the attorney for Harry Ornest, the Harold Hill of hockey, who came to St. Louis at a time when there was trouble right here in River City. A group from Saskatoon was trying to buy the Blues and then owner Ralston Purina was all too eager to let that happen. Harry wooed many of the local businesses to assist him with an alternative offer, which would keep the Blue in St. Louis. This created the strangest association I have ever seen, that being Harry as the leader and Fortune 500 companies acting as investors. They were successful and completed the purchase of the Blues.

For those eager to see how this story connects to jazz, your wait is over. Obviously, the name St. Louis Blues was a play on the popular song by W. C. Handy (1914). According to authorities, it was one of the first blues songs to succeed as a pop song and remains a fundamental part of jazz musicians' repertoire. Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Bessie Smith, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, and the Boston Pops Orchestra are among the artists who have recorded it. The song has been called "the jazzman's Hamlet."

The song was a massive and enduring success. At the time of his death in 1958, Handy was earning royalties of upwards of US$25,000 annually for the song (equivalent to $217,000 in today's dollars). The original published sheet music is available online from the United States Library of Congress in a searchable database of African-American music from Brown University, my alma mater.

The original uniforms of the Blues featured a large blue "musical note" on the front of the jersey. The "blue note" became the symbol of the team and its lasting trademark. Well, except for when Ruth Ornest, Harry’s wife and a trained designer, wanted to remove the "blue note" in favor of the St. Louis Arch. She was adamant that the "blue note" was not masculine enough and in no way brought fear to the opponent. Why she thought that The St. Louis Gateway Arch would engender anything other than the desire for a cheeseburger and fries, I will never know.

Needless to say, the furor over the proposed change was huge. First, "change" is not a concept easily absorbed in St. Louis. The city hosted the World's Fair and the Summer Olympics in 1904 and most consider those contributions to be sufficient for the near future. Resting on our laurels is a never-ending pastime here.

Eventually, the "blue note" reappeared in all its grandeur, never to be minimized again. The city of Miles Davis, Clark Terry, David Sanborn and so many other great musicians wanted its hockey team to wear the "blue note". A week or so ago, when the Blues clinched the Stanley Cup, that note never looked more regal and the song, St. Louis Blues never sounded so good. And, sorry Ruth, but that note did strike fear in the hearts and minds of the other NHL teams. Let’s Go Blues!

Beverage Packages Now Available
Pre-book your beverage packages.
From now until August 31, 2019, we are offering special prices on select beverage packages for all 4 of our 2020 jazz programs. Packages start at less than $100 and can be added to your cruise payment plan. Don't wait until you are onboard, you can pay in full for the Premium Drink Package, giving you an all-inclusive package of cabin and drinks that will cover the full 7-days of the cruise! Cheers!

For Blue Note at Sea Click Here. 
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For The Smooth Jazz Cruise Click Here.
Ken Peplowski on The Jazz Cruise
Podcast 9: A Conversation with Ken Peplowski
In this week's installment of Jazz Cruise Conversations, the podcast series from Entertainment Cruise Productions, we present to you Eulis Cathey interviewing Ken Peplowski.

Clarinetist and saxophonist Ken Peplowskihas been an important part of The Jazz Cruise family for many years. Widely considered one of the greatest living jazz clarinetists, the very witty musician has served as programmer, music director and host for the cruise.

During The Jazz Cruise '19, Peplowski sat down with Sirius/XM host Eulis Cathey to talk about his roots in Cleveland and his storied life as a jazz musician. 

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.
Veronica Swift and Emmet Cohen Trio
Return to Birdland

The gifted young vocalist Veronica Swift has been a favorite of The Jazz Cruise audiences for the last few years. When she made her debut on the ship in 2018, we had to move her shows to larger rooms to accommodate the impassioned response from our guests. Veronica is also a favorite performer of audiences at Birdland in New York City where she appears regularly. Catch Veronica along with another emerging star of The Jazz CruiseEmmet Cohen, performing there for five nights: July 2-6.
New Album From Akiko/Hamilton/Dechter
Equal Time Album Cover

Guests of The Jazz Cruise are very familiar with the work of drummer Jeff Hamilton and guitarist Graham Dechter. But any serious jazz fan is sure to enjoy Equal Time, a new album they recorded with the organist Akiko Tsuruga for Capri Records.

The organ trio performs a burning set of originals, along with some standards such as “Moment’s Notice,” “I Remember You,” and “This Could Be the Start of Something Big.” In addition, the group performs at the Tri-C Jazz Festival in Cleveland on June 28.