I just got off the plane from St. Petersburg, Russia and the first thing on my agenda was to get to our blog and let you know the month Luba and I had. We moved at a feverish pace and in three and a half weeks were in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Finland and ended in Russia.
The first part of the trip was aboard the MS Rotterdam. Jazz Cruises LLC in partnership with Holland Amercia Cruise Lines hosted the first ever North Sea Jazz Cruise. Embarkation was in Copenhagen and for 10 days we cruised the North Sea and enjoyed daily and nightly concerts by Roy Hargrove, Marcus Miller (who also doubled as the host of the cruise), James Carter (who stole the show in every way), Dee Bridgewater, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner and David Sanborn. While the weather through the whole cruise was wet and rainy the music inside really kept the vibe going and made the lack of a good tan, pale in comparison to the exceptional 10 days of music.
Everyone at Jazz Cruises LLC and Holland America were incredible. It was a seamless trip and the staff emerged as true stars. I have been in the hospitality business for 18 years and I can tell you THEY made the trip what it was. From the room attendants, the bartenders, the salon staff, the gym staff, as well as the restaurant servers, they did everything possible to make you smile. 1700 people were on board but you felt sometimes when they remembered your name and past conversations at every turn, that you were the guest of honor.
Another interesting facet about the trip is that the disembarkation point was in Rotterdam at the North Sea Jazz Festival. At that time the ship becomes a hotel of sorts and guests come and go at their leisure to the festival, which is merely 3 metro stops away. This was my first time there and I really have never seen anything like it. Every day over the three day festival roughly 28,000 people enter what is a series of small venues and very large arenas. It's like a strip mall with venues, some that hold over 10,000 people, on either side. And lodged in between are kiosks selling everything from pancakes to posters, to guitars to gyros.
Luba and I attended some fabulous shows there as well. Most memorable was by far Al Green, the reverend Al Green I should say. If you ever have an opportunity to see him live just do it, and thank me later. Totally incredible to see so many people from countries all over the world spellbound by this man.
Luba and I took off on day 2 of the festival to get some non-jazz time (it was also our vacation and wanted to venture out.) We flew from Rotterdam to Helsinki, Finland and drove leisurely through the magnificent Finnish countryside and through to St. Petersburg Russia, where we spent our last 5 days.
There are countless memories I will always cherish from this trip. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to go. In a couple of weeks I will be speaking with our partners at Jazz Cruises LLC and hope to have some interesting news for you on our next collaboration. For everyone who joined us on this maiden journey, thank you!!!!! We certainly hope that more of you will join us on our next adventure, wherever in the world that may be!
If I can answer any questions about our travels and the cruise or the festival itself please feel free to contact me here on the blog or via my email at email@example.com.
Both Luba and I are so excited to be back and ready to commence our exceptional August lineup. So until my next entry, I'll see you at the show!
Dayla Arabella Santurri
Scullers Jazz Club
I am here at Logan waiting for my flight to Copenhagen to jump on the North Sea Cruise and thought I'd let you know how the Montreal Jazz Festival Trip went. In a word---TERRIFIC! I just love it there and I really think this year topped the fantastic trip we had last year.
Fred and I saw so many incredible shows. We had a chance to see Wayne Shorter's great show with Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade who was on fire. We caught Mina Agossi at Club Soda--boy is she exciting. I am very happy that she'll be on Scullers stage in just a few weeks (Aug 29). Roy Haynes was terrific as always but I must say the big highlight for me was Mike Stern's Invitational Concert. Nearly two hours packed with a riveting improv performance. This master guitarist is exhausting and mesmerizing to watch. He was joined by Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass and Dave Weckl on drums. All four exceptional performers whose artistry both complimented and challenged the others. I don't remember a show quite like that in a long time.
As for the trip itself, it was simply wonderful. At the Hyatt Regency you are right in the middle of the action, in fact all the performers stay there so at every corner, elevator and at breakfast you are always running into someone. We had an incredible behind the scenes look at the festival and our guide, who better than the Festival Founder Allain Simard! On the tour we also got to speak with Andre Ducros, the Operations Director for the Festival and in the press room we got to chat with Andre Menard, the Entertainment Director for the whole festival. Both he and Allain started this festival 28 years ago and they were so generous with their time as they went down memory lane and told us their inspiration for the festival and its progress through the years.
I have to board the plane so I have to go. I will touch base once Luba and I are on the ship. If you were at Montreal too, leave a comment here and let me know what were your highlights!
Best regards and happy fourth!
Dayla Arabella Santurri
Scullers General Manager
Scullers Jazz Club at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston 400 Soldiers Field Road Boston, MA 02134
For tickets and information: 617.562.4111 Email: Info@ScullersJazz.com Ticket purchases are non-refundable.