There was something deliciously symmetrical about how, in the Ocean Bar, rising star Selina Albright was taking her first tentative steps towards undoubted musical stardom while simultaneously, in a packed Vista Lounge, the tumultuous Tower Of Power were celebrating forty six years in the business.
still remain. It must have been noticed
by all those involved that, year on year, the smooth jazz fan base (and
especially those aboard the Westerdam this week) is becoming progressively
older. This is a trend that, if left
unchecked, would likely signal the extinction of the genre as we know it within
the next twenty or so years.
worrying (with only a few notable exceptions) is the distinct lack of original
new music. More and more ‘headline’
artists (you know who they are and they know who they are) are placing a
disproportionate reliance on regurgitated cover versions that are being
packaged together as ‘new’. This was
certainly in evidence during the Smooth Jazz Cruise West Coast Edition yet
while talented performers such as Brian Culbertson, Brian Simpson, Marcus
Miller and Boney James, artists who thrive on originality, continue to bring
new music, there will be hope.
instance a magical interlude in the small hours of Tuesday and Friday when the
incomparable Earl Klugh held a packed Vista Lounge entirely spellbound, or that
delightful set of original music from the always superb Brian Simpson delivered
to an inexplicably half full Queens Lounge.
things were hard to explain too. Why for
instance was A-List performer Euge Groove banished to the periphery of the
week’s proceedings and why was an Elton John tribute act (yes an Elton John
tribute act) allowed to perform during what could be described as ‘live music
probably never know yet in the final analysis there was no other place on earth
where in six days and seven nights so much music could be experienced. The event is unique and runs with the
precision one would expect from a team that has been cultivating the smooth
jazz cruise experience for almost ten years.
The January 2014 Smooth Jazz Cruise is already sold out and rumour is that 2015 is filling up fast. Perhaps after all, in the words of the song from Brian Simpson, ‘Its All Good’.
Do you have an opinion on the health of smooth jazz? If so join me at twitter @PooleJazz to make your voice heard.