I’ve never been on a cruise, but I now have one to look forward to in 2019 with the promise of joy afloat on the debut STOMPTIME adventure.
I like things as much as the next person, but I am also a collector of experiences, which are much more durable even though often intangible. And I believe strongly that we need to seize the day — life, as we know it, has that annoying finite quality — and, in this case, seven days in the Eastern Caribbean to a jazz and ragtime and blues soundtrack — much more alive than Spotify or a pair of earbuds.
A digression: I don’t advertise events or objects (discs, concerts, festivals) on this blog that I wouldn’t listen to or go to, and I pay my way unless some promoter begs me to keep my wallet shut or a musician sends me her CD. So I am going to be on this cruise, and not for free in return for an endorsement. Just in case you were wondering.
Here’s one soundtrack for you to enjoy as you read:
That’s not a well-known record, so here’s some data: Red Nichols, Tommy Thunen, Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Babe Russin, Adrian Rollini, Jack Russin, Wes Vaughan, Gene Krupa, January 1930.
What, I hear you asking, is STOMPTIME? To give it its full name, it is Stomptime Musical Adventure’s 2019 Inaugural Jazz Cruise. It will mosey around ports and islands in the Eastern Caribbean, on the Celebrity Equinox leaving from Miami. Space is limited to 250 guests, and special offers are available to those who (like me) book early.
Here is the cruise itinerary.
With all deference to the beaches and vistas, the little towns and ethnic cuisines, I have signed up for this cruise because it will be a seriously romping jazz extravaganza, seven nights of music with several performances each day. Who’s playing and singing?
Evan Arntzen – reeds / vocals; Clint Baker – trumpet / trombone; Jeff Barnhart – piano / vocals; Pat Bergeson – guitar / harmonica; BIG B.A.D. Rhythm; Marc Caparone – cornet / vocals; Danny Coots – drums; Frederick Hodges – piano / vocals; Brian Holland – piano; Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet; Nate Ketner – reeds; Carl Sonny Leyland – piano / vocals; Dick Maley – drums; Steve Pikal – upright bass; Andy Reiss – guitar; Sam Rocha – upright bass / vocals
Stephanie Trick & Paolo Alderighi – piano duo.
Even though that list ends with the necessary phrase, “Performers subject to change,” it’s an impressive roster.
Here’s a six-minute romp for dancers by the Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet, whom I follow on dry land and on sea, that I recorded on June 1, 2018, at the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival:
Of course you’d like to know how much a week of pleasure costs: details here. An interior cabin will cost $1548.13 per person, and there is an additional VIP package for $250. If this seems a great deal of money, just start repeating to yourself: “A week of lodging, adventure, food, and music,” and do the math. Feels better, doesn’t it? My cruise-loving friends tell me that Celebrity is well-regarded — a cruise line catering to adults rather than children, with good food and reassuring amenities.
“Amortize, you cats!” as Tricky Sam Nanton used to say.
Two other points that bear repeating.
The great festivals of the past twenty years are finding it more difficult to survive: because they are beautiful panoplies of music, they are massive endeavors that require audience participation. I am a newcomer to this world, having been part of a jazz weekend for the first time in 2004, but I could make myself sad by reciting the names of those that have gone away. And they don’t return.
Enterprises need support to — shall we say — float? I know many good-hearted practical people who say, “Wow, I’d love to do that. Maybe in a few years,” and I can’t argue with the facts of income and expenses. But we’ve seen that not everything can last until patrons of the arts are ready to support it. Ultimately, not everything delightful is for free, and one must occasionally be prepared to get out of one’s chair and tell the nice person on the other end of the line one’s three-digit security number on the back of the card. Be bold. Have an experience.
I hope you can make this one.
Postscript, just in (July 23) from my nautical-maritime-jazz expert, Sir Robert Cox: “You have picked you ship well as Celebrity Equinox is a Solstice-class cruise ship built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. Celebrity Equinox is the second of the five Solstice-class vessels, owned and operated by Celebrity Cruises.”
May your happiness increase!