The SuperCruise 2017 (Did Four Hit the High Score?)

Greetings my fellow music lovers! I hope 2018 is bringing you good health, vibes, and an abundance of prosperity for your life’s longevity!

Here is my round-up of the 11th SuperCruise, and my fourth cruise with Capital Jazz. As usual, I had an exhilarating time! With all of the anticipation of seeing artists I love, I was truly excited for my friends whose first experience it would be for this intoxicating, fun-filled musical water ride!

While the 2017 hurricanes devastated parts of the US and the Caribbean, remnants of them were still at sea for the two days on our way to Bermuda which made for a swaying and rocky ride.

Capital Jazz made up for last year’s fiasco (Capital Jazz SuperCruise X – 2016) so the answer is yes, they did hit the high score for this year’s cruise event. Sidebar: The 2019 cruise has been sold out for a few months already which says they still got it! One lil bump on the water didn’t stop their show.

The Capital Jazz organization listened to their patrons and took heed to their complaints/suggestions. Instead of reserving shows on board like we did in 2016, cruisers were assigned a Theatre Seating Code which determined which day and time they could see shows in the main theatre; there was open seating for the rest of the venues. This definitely helped although some may say they missed something or another which is typical for this sort of themed cruising.

Lines, lines, and more lines! People, they are inevitable! How much of our lives do we spend on them? Whenever there’s open seating for any event, “the early bird gets worm” therefore, the early bird gets a seat and a good one!

We’ll “sea” how things fare on the next cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. Here’s a tour of the ship where the tour guide suggests (6:07) getting to the main theatre at least 20-30 minutes ahead of showtime to secure a good seat. Therefore, SuperCruisers you know whatcha gotta do, be on that line at least an hour ahead of the doors opening like you do anyway! The good thing is, the main theatre on the Independence of the Seas holds 1,300 in comparison to Norwegian’s 700 so.

If you’ve been following me on the past three SuperCruise reviews you know my rundown by now…
Mix and Mingle
Saturday, September 23, 2017
(the day before sailing)

Day 1
Sail Off
Sunday, September 24, 2017

New York City
(my hometown)

After traveling three times to other locations to meet the ship for the CJ cruise, leaving out of New York this fourth time was pure bliss. Not having to reserve a hotel room to be in town the day before sail off was a blessing! What a beautiful thing to hop on the subway to the host hotel for the mix and mingle, and then share a car ride with my neighbors to go home was even better!

No planes, no trains, just an automobile that took approximately 20 minutes to get to the pier! The check-in was fast, smooth as butter—no complaints—at all!! The weather was insane at 90 degrees, bright and sunny—folks were ready with bathing suits in carry-on like it was Florida!

Sunday Football on the giant screen, they were ready!

Our early morning rise and daytime partying knocked us out around 6ish. We thought we’d take a quick nap and fell into a deep sleep; we missed The Luther Re-Lives Tribute Show but heard it was excellent!

Mike Phillips
Didn’t wake up till after midnight and missed the first few minutes of Mike Phillips’ show, who is one of my favorite Horn Blowers. HOWEVER, I did catch ALL this…

This the way you party the first night at sea!


Day 2
Monday, September 25, 2017
Fun Day at Sea

We woke up like this!

We were scheduled for a photo shoot in these fabulous shirts but some of us were missing. See day 7 for follow-up shenanigans!

El Gee brought the jump rope and hosted an old-school double dutch soiree–it was ON after that!

I call them the Double Dutch Bunch

Linda, Vanessa, and her daughter Leanna, great friends and fam! And, newbies who had a wonderful time cruisin’ with music!

The ladies showed out so good, he had to get some!

Meanwhile, back at the Atrium…

DJ Frances Jaye’s set, then Q&A with Eric Roberson hosted by Jodine Dorce

Conversation with Eric Roberson

About to see Dave Hollister do his thing!

Vanessa, her daughter Leanna and me

Dave Hollister

Turned up and then poured his soul out. The audience hung right in there with him as it got emotional for a minute.

Ran into Dave Hollister and had to grab him for this shot

Dave Hollister interview with New York’s own Lenny Green of the Quiet Storm

Midnight Soul with the Hamiltones
Well, the Atrium was lit with cruisers and as the saying goes, you slow, you blow–a good seat or even a standing room only spot was not in the cards for me to capture anything this night!
The Hamiltone’s interview with Jodine Dorce


Day 3
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Fun Day at Sea

The Mr. Sexy Leg contest was supposed to take place the day before, but the weather was a little “under the weather”. Here it is, in all of its hilarity!

First timers, Ralph and Lavern–longtime childhood friends and neighbors

Margarita Tasting

We made it just in time for the Margarita tasting after the sexy leg contest. This was a day at sea so everyone needed something to do 😉

Name That Tune with Reggie Reg at the Atrium

New York violinist, Damien Escober, a passionate performer burst onto the stage with a fiery and energetic performance that the audience was well in tune with and could have rocked with him all night long!

Conversation with Damien Escobar

Special CJSC guest 1970’s actress, Pam Grier

Didn’t hang here too long; had to catch the Underground Lounge with Eric Roberson featuring Nao, Julie Dexter, Sol Elder, and Jazmin Ghent.

The Underground Lounge Hang

This year was a little different in terms of venue space. Usually, this segment of shows is held in one of the smaller clubs, two artists per show. The Soul Lounge was held in the main theatre, with all four artists on the same night and stage. I missed the intimacy of the smaller venue, nevertheless, the artists’ performances were stellar! It was also Eric Roberson’s birthday and what would the show be without him taking word suggestions from the audience to make up a song on the spot, particularly about his special day.

And this band right here ❤ ❤ ❤


Day 4
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Bermuda Day 1

On our way to the Crystal Cave with our driver Mr. Earl who was a phenomenal tour guide and remarkably knowledgeable about the island!

The day started out cloudy, the sun eventually came out and lingered around for the duration of the day. As mentioned earlier, remnants of hurricane season was still in the air.

On the way to Crystal Cave

Outside the cave entrance

This was a fascinating experience and I’m happy I went on this excursion although I missed my beach time.

This aquarium and zoo were awful! The water was dirty and cloudy: the seal and turtles were sick and infected, however, I did get a few good shots. Poor things…

On the way to the ferry, I was reminded of home with the BX license plate

Mindy Abair is “Pretty Good for a Girl!” She came ready to kick her heels up and get the party started with Girl Power! Mindy spread her message and slogan to “celebrate women, appreciate excellence in each other, support each other’s endeavors, and motivate each other toward greatness.”

Late night at the Atrium with R.C. & the Gritz. I didn’t stay here too long; had to catch Soul Sessions with Eric Roberson cause you never know who’s going to grace the stage!

The Soul Session Hosted by Eric Roberson
I love this part of the lineup as you can probably tell. Featured performers, as well as those in the background, get to show off their chops, front and center! The Jerry Brook’s band can play any requested song you’d think was the original! This year’s Soul Lounge lineup included Chrisette Michele, Jeff Bradshaw, Nao, Jazmin, Dave Hollister, Vanessa Williams and a lady whose name I didn’t get, sang the stank out of Jill Scott’s The Way.

All About Norma – enjoying her very own photo shoot till some unknown, welcomed visitor came over and interrupted our flow. Can you tell which visitation it was?

Day 5
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Bermuda Day 2

Another cloudy day on tap and while trying to get a little shopping done, the sky opened up and drenched us. It didn’t take long for us to hit a few stores and then on to the ferry to take us back to the ship.

Before the rain

One of the suggested themed nights was Red Cool and Haute, cruisers wore an article of red clothing of which just about everyone indulged!

Caught up with Julie Dexter on the left, that’s Reggie at the top, in the middle is Norma and Laverne at the end.

I’ve been waiting to see Will Downing for a long time and he did not disappoint! I was hoping Carol Riddick would have joined him; she usually sings “Never Felt Like This” with him and then Capital Jazz would have given her a show with the Underground Lounge–my wishful thinking 🙂 However, Ms. Tracy Hamlin was sensual, sultry, and sophisticated; her voice strong, yet smooth and sweet! Tracy gave that song her absolute ALL, leaving me wanting more!

Eric Roberson also has a song called Lyrics of Pleasure, a duet with Will Downing on his Fire EP I was hoping they’d do but again, my wishful thinking got the best of me! 😦


Conversation with Will Downing

I rushed from Will’s show to catch what was left of Vivian Green‘s show. She debuted her funky, reggae-flavored track “I Don’t Know” and folks were feeling those catchy lyrics. Nineties rapper/producer, and now Vivian’s manager, Kwame joined her on stage and set it ablaze! I heard a few folks were mad at him for taking up a bit of her performance time. It didn’t bother me, he was hyped!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCGm9jDaNbA

Late Night at the Atrium with Lakecia Benjamin and Soul Squad
I was pleased to see girl power in full effect this year. Capital Jazz presented women in jazz with Lakecia Benjamin and Chelsea Greene and the Green Project (more on her later) and they performed ebullient sets that had the audiences at the Atrium in awe! Melodie Ray was the lead singer with Lakecia and her band. I was pleasantly surprised to spot her walking by me earlier in the week. I’d seen Melodie perform with a couple of other indie soul artists around New York like RaRe Valverde and Trina Broussard, who both sing with Rahsaan Patterson–all whom I adore as great singers and performers!


Day 6
Friday, September 29
Bermuda Day 3

This was a half day in Bermuda and it didn’t make sense to go out after oversleeping so we just chilled on the ship. It was a beautiful sunny day where I could have had just a little beach time, but oh well. Again that damned early bird…

The Motown Tribute
Since I’ve been traveling with the Captial Jazz cruise they have produced tribute shows, commemorating two artists I’ve always admired; Donald Byrd, and James Brown. In 2016 they skipped it, but 2017 was another story! I should have seen this coming; I was blindsided! Capital Jazz took everybody by surprise with this one. Jonathan Butler, The Hamiltones, Tracy Hamlin, Eric Roberson, DMo Macklin, Mindy Abair and Jazmin Ghent participated in this all-star tribute. It was a blast, but Eric Roberson dropped the bomb when he bombarded the stage as Rick James! I should have expected something like this from Eric; the audience was busting guts they laughed so hard.

This was oh soooo good!!

The Timeless, Lady Gladys Knight
Classic Soul at its best! Still beautiful and lovely as ever, Lady Knight thrilled us and had the audience singing right along with her! I love that Capital Jazz incorporates many genres of music we all know and love–not just jazz…

Conversation with Gladys Knight

Jonathan Butler
The Manhattan Room Jonathan performed in was the dinner show. A good seat was definitely in order! I was able to get a few nice shots instead of a little video footage. I tried… I love the life stories artists share with their audience and Jonathan has a helluva story to tell! I enjoyed his performance and his high energy.

Chelsey Green and The Green Project
The other thing I like about Capital Jazz is that I’ve discovered so many artists I hadn’t heard of before. Chelsey and her band were just awesome! Too bad the little video footage I had was ruined so I had to scrap it.


Day 7
Saturday, September 30
Last Day of Fun at Sea

It was a bright sunny day but started out rather cool. I’m spoiled. I expect 80-95 degree weather when I cruise but on this trip, the weather did not cooperate. No tan for me this time around.

Today is also the continuation of day 2 of the bikini t-shirt photo shoot. These shirts were a big hit! Looks, stares, double-takes, laughs, smiles, were all reactions to our painted-on body beautiful shirts!

Lady El Gee brought the rope out again and this time I tested my skill to see if it was still the way my mind remembered how to jump double dutch. Yes! I’m right on point!

Us trying to get tanned up in this piece! Not happenin!

After the T-shirt shoot, the Ice Bar. We needed to wrap up in these coats and gloves; two drinks included with the cover. We had to drink fast cause it was NYC below-zero winter in there!

Daley
Since I’d had Daley’s music from the beginning, it was a delight to see him perform live!

Late Night at the Atrium was a blast on this last night! I think most of the artists were off, partied and played with ERRO at the Open Mic Night.

Got a second chance at getting a few shots of the Hamiltones!

Took advantage of my Selfie moment with every artist I could… Peep my party light glasses 🙂

After Capital Jazz posted the 2017 pictures on their FaceBook page and viewing this highlight video let me know I missed a lot even though I share all of this! Nothing unusual since so much is going on you just can’t see and do everything! You gotta find time for eating and sleep–somewhere in there!

Here’s a fun look back!

Overall, I had a fantastic time hanging out on The SuperCruise with such cool people and all these fabulous artists!!

And to all, a good cruise! Until next time…

Conversations with a few of the featured artists!

Soul Talk with RC and the Gritz

Soul Talk with the Hamiltones

Conversation with Chrisette Michele

Conversation with Nao Yoshioka

Conversation with Rare Essence
Conversation with Robert Glasper
Conversation with Kirk Franklin

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