The SuperCruise XII: Five on the Cool Hand Side – Day 4

Day 4
Fun Day At Sea

Sea days should be relaxing since we’re at sea, right? Wrong!!

Decisions, decisions! What to do with a plethora of activities that appeal to any palate? “You can get with this or you can get with that, the choice is yours”! Artists Q&A, panel discussions, daytime concerts, card game tournaments, outdoor sports games, $2 mimosas, wine tasting with African American Wineries, African Ancestry presentations, workshops, or why not sleep in?!

First up, the Business of Music panel discussion. It was refreshing to learn that Capital Jazz invited these highly-regarded soul Website representatives and esteemed musicians to share their perspectives on the topic. On the panel, SoulTracks’ L. Michael Gipson, SoulBounce’s Kimberly Hines, saxophonist, Mike Phillips, and singer/songwriter and host, Eric Roberson. I was excited about the entire SuperCruise experience that awaited L. Michael and Kimberly since it was their first time attending.

Like SoulBounce and SoulTracks, but on a slightly different scale, my former company, ONUTSS all had a common goal, and that was to shine a light on indie artists. ONUTSS proudly supported them by hosting listening parties where most of the time, the artists were in attendance and performed a song or two. This was the perfect panel for L. Micheal and Kimberly to sit at the table and share their thoughts/opinions.

The discussion was captivating; everyone in attendance was engaged and prepared with relevant questions to follow up on towards the end (although there were plenty of distractions from other cruisers anticipating the NFC football game) 🙂

The Player Makers Bar and Arcade were brimmed to the walls’ edges with New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams fans!

On the way to my cabin, I passed by Raul Midon’s Q&A at The Schooner bar and stopped long enough to hear Bluey offer to collaborate with Raul in the near future; stay tuned for this music lovers; I’m sure it will be a stunner!!

Getting ready for the big event as I used the light from my photography equipment and the garbage can for the mirror to apply my makeup🤗

I PREDICTED THE BLACK PANTHER THEME!

Since Capital Jazz’s usual travel time of the year was switched to January, they needed a theme where folks would keep their creative juices flowing. In the past, we traveled around Halloween so you can imagine the costumes that cruisers showed up and out wearing at that time!

My Crusin Cousins!

The Judges: Reggie Reg, Stepp Steward, Ingrid B., and Michael Colyar

Scenes from the competition for best costume

I was thrilled for Down to the Bone’s appearance despite the fact that I’ve seen them perform more times than I can count… I don’t think the main theatre was suited for their performance although it was good if the majority of the audience were not familiar with them. DTTB was begging people to get up and dance to their funky jazz grooves, but no one was having it! They were waiting for Incognito! My experience with DTTB is that they’ve always provided a party atmosphere, mostly on NYC cruises around the city where their fans know how they roll! They don’t need to request real fans to shake a leg because their happy feet are already thumping on the dancefloor!

Chantae Cann was a guest on the 2013 SuperCruise and like Jarrod Lawson, I’d never heard of her. They were both on the Soul Session stage and that’s where I discovered their brilliant gifts. I was disappointed I missed their shows that year but happy as hell I got the chance to redeem myself!

As I continued to follow Chantae, I stumbled upon her video with Snarky Puppy from their Family Dinner album, featuring her song

Free Your Dreams. I fell in love with it and the whole video vibe! check it out here.

I can’t help myself! I love them!

Incognito is one of my favorite bands, and I have seen their show countless times, yet I debated on whether I should see it one more time. Well, that debate was short lived. I always enjoy them each and every time!

Their album catalog spans over 40 years and I need to understand, in general, why artists don’t vary their setlist more. Will somebody kindly explain this to me🤔 There are so many great songs I want to hear live but then again, I’m only one person…

By now, it must be evident that The Soul Session hosted by Eric Roberson is one of my favorite SuperCruise musical experiences! You never know which artist will participate or what ERRO might say or do, and you damned sure don’t want to miss this! Solo artists as well as group members of featured bands, etc., take the stage and perform their favorite cover song. All the artist needs to do is tell the Jerry Brooks band what to play and it’s a done deal!

If you viewed the video below just in case you were wondering, Kenny Lattimore hit the hell out that high note at the end of EWF’s Reasons! And dammit I missed it on camera; I thought it was still recording…

Claude McKnight sang El DeBarge’s All This Love and admitted he was terrible with lyrics. Check out his background singers, assisting him and snickering at the same time😁

I didn’t get his name, however, a singer from the Secret Society band saaaang Luther’s A House is Not a Home. I didn’t get the woman’s name who sang Gladys Knight’s Neither One of Us either; however, you can hear Eric say it at the end of the song, I just couldn’t make out what he said.

Spur of the Moment, resident Capital Jazz band finally had their own show. Although I missed it, I was happy for them. I was however corrected when I mentioned it to one of the band members, who said they always have their own show when they do the tribute shows, that didn’t take place this year. I always look forward to them…

A quick look back!

Intro/Review

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Stay tuned for Day 5

The Capital Jazz SuperCruise 2021 cause 2020 is sold out!

Capital Jazz Facebook Page

The SuperCruise XII: Five on the Cool Hand Side – Day 3

Day 3
Labadee Haiti
Saturday, January 19

In the months prior to the cruise, Capital Jazz solicited donations from cruisers to contribute school supplies for Haiti’s children. The response was overwhelmingly beautiful! Whoever didn’t make efforts to bring supplies from home made sure they stopped by a store in Ft. Lauderdale to purchase them. I contributed extra pencils and markers from my coloring collection and it felt good knowing the supplies Capital Jazz collected were going to help those children in need.

The Artisans Market huts were crammed with clothing, carved wood items, jewelry, canes/sticks, purses, boxes, and plenty of vibrant, organically created music-themed paintings on canvas. It was phenomenal to see so many transactions taking place with folks enjoying their exchange.

These guys were incredible!

You may be familiar with Will Downing’s song, Don’t Talk to Me Like That; well, meet the man who wrote it and sings it at his shows as well. Then you’ll relate their baritones and realize why Will was the perfect match to record it.

“I love the potential we have to introduce Gourmet artists to fast-food buyers” Vinx

Kenny Lattimore, the dapper don with his sangin self, knows he can breathe life into a song and WOW an audience! The backing vocalists are no joke either; look at Jason Morales’ face, lol!

 

I surprised myself by breezing through Studio B to see The Floacist; as usual, every night is filled with shows. I only sat in on a couple of songs and thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent soaking it all in…

The Floacist speaking nothing but truths!

I discovered while chatting with someone that Citrus Sun is actually the brainchild of founder/frontman, Bluey of Incognito, and they’ve been on the scene for more than 20 years. Had I not received this info, I would have missed their jam-session styled performance. Bluey and the gang, mostly members of Incognito were busy bodies on this cruise! They also performed as Incognito, one of my favorite bands!

 

A quick look back!

Intro/Review

Day 1

Day 2

Day 4

The Capital Jazz SuperCruise 2021 cause 2020 is sold out!

Capital Jazz Facebook Page

 

The SuperCruise XII: Five on the Cool Hand Side – Day 2

Day 2
Friday, January 18, 2019
Fun day at Sea

One of the things I really love about capital jazz in comparison to other musical themed cruises is that there is more than just jazz.  Since I am familiar with the Indie Soul Movement via my co-founding of One Nation Under The Soul Shack, affectionately known as ONUTSS, many of the Soul Lounge artists I am either familiar with or have hosted their listening parties in New York.

Hence, when Capital Jazz presents artists I am unacquainted with, like Secret Society, Black Violin, Jarrod Lawson, Chante Cann, Moonchild, Butterscotch, and Matthew Whitaker, just to name a few; it broadens my horizon and allows me to share excellent talent with my readers. These artists’ music you won’t find on your local radio station, which is why many believe good music rests in the past. I’m a witness, great music LIVES and BREATHES!

The weather was a little breezy but the sun was prominent enough to allow for some tanning and getting down with the Secret Society Party Band!  It was like rocking to a DJ set but with live instruments.  They tore the invisible roof off the sucka!

Sy Smith was having a ball partying with Secret Society and posing for Jeffery! I was watching from below and wanted to be up there with them shooting her! Sy was in her element…

I’ve been wanting to see The Baylor Project for quite some time and finally had the chance to see them do their thing, and they made me proud I was in the room taking in all that goodness!  What a beautiful couple they are who creates incredible music together.  You may remember Jean Baylor from the duo, Zhane (Hey Mr. DJ).

Running into my favorite artists and chatting it up a bit is priceless!

Not so good shot, however, we had fun!

Sheila E invited audience members to the stage to party with her after she paid homage to Prince!

 

A quick look back

Intro/Recap

Day 1

Day 3

Day 4

Capital Jazz SuperCruise 2021 cause 2020 is sold out!

Capital Jazz Facebook Page

The SuperCruise XII: Five on the Cool Hand Side – Day 1

Day 1
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Sail Off

Here’s how the day began after we left the hotel, heading for the ship…

Michael Colyar, the CJ ambassador has made lasting friendships with many repeat cruisers. Every time he enters a space his energy lights it up beyond sight. People who can’t see him can definitely hear the commotion, realize who it is and a burst of laughter engulfs the room. This is what happened at the buffet while getting our grub on. Hugs smiles and laughter ensued when a group of ladies and Michael spotted each other; it was like a family reunion! Actually, anytime Michael enters a space this is what happens.

We were supposed to sail at 4:30 and didn’t depart Ft. Lauderdale until around 6:30 due to clearance of the most important subject–sound and lights. I don’t think anyone cared because this was going on…

About Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas

    • Checking in online and submitting a photo prior to boarding was genius
    • Our cabin was a door away from the promo room and allowed me to interact with the staff, especially Selina 🙂
    • Card scan instead of dipping it into the computer when departing/boarding the ship made it “smooth sailing”
    • Upon arrival onto the ship, the RC rep told us we couldn’t go to our cabins until they made the announcement that they were ready–as we boarded, they made the announcement 🙂
    • Keys were ready for us in an envelope, outside the cabin door
    • Pizza till 3 a.m.
    • $2 Mimosas on day 4

Checking in at the terminal where a Royal Caribbean rep directed us to the Artists’ check-in counter–sweet!

Getting all this sound/light equipment on the ship and approved was quite a task!

Royal Caribbean–impressive down to the food…

No mix and mingle at a designated hotel this year; the sail away party was on and poppin! Celebrated his 70th birthday while we were at it!

First up Jarrod Lawson with Micah Robinson, Tahirah Memory and Oweleo Lysette

Pat Prescott, Mike Phillips, and his band. That soundboard looks mighty interesting!

The food and service on this beautifully designed dining room were impeccable! Many cruisers chose to take the same seating and wait staff each night!

End of a long day 1…

Day 3

Day 2

Recap/Intro

 

The Super Cruise XII: Five on the Cool Hand Side

What can I say after my fifth sailing with the Capital Jazz Organization? I have not felt compelled to acknowledge another organization’s music event as I have with Capital Jazz. The organization always provides a variety of artists I may not be familiar with, which is why I appreciate that they give artists another platform to attain a new fan base. Even though I support a myriad of indie artists, my musical horizon is always broadened by attending the SuperCruise.

We set sail on January 17th and our Ports of call were Labadee Haiti, Roatan Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel Mexico. Over the next eight days, the weather did not cooperate by giving me the golden tan I desired before returning to below ‘0 temperatures in NYC. Even Florida was windy sailing out of port and a bit cooler upon our return.

The excitement and countdown began in 2017 when Capital Jazz announced the 2019 cruise. While I excitedly awaited the talent line-up announcements, I can’t be certain if my appetite is satisfied with Capital Jazz feeding the artists to us ala carte or if they should serve them all on one platter. One thing is for sure, getting the announcements piecemeal drives me crazy; however, it might be just as well for me to be kept waiting since this is what I’m used to; I’d have nothing to keep running over to the website for and get excited every time an artist or two is added 😊

This Super Cruise was no different than others in the sense of being jam-packed with activities galore and shows featuring many of my favorite artists I’d never get to see in one week, like Jon B, Stokley, New Edition’s Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill, Teddy Riley and friends (Guy and Black street f/Dave Hollister), Gregory Porter, Sheila E, and the legendary SOS Band to name a few…

Highlighting a few key moments and events—from day one, with Frances Jaye welcoming everyone on board with those silky, smooth soul, sounds to the sail away party with Doug E Fresh and DJ D Nice, all of the performances in between, to the last night with DJ Tanz, the ship rocked–and I mean ROCKED! The ship rocked waaaay too much on the way to Honduras and a bit less on to Belize the next night. My belly was doing overtime flips.

It was a pleasant surprise to see some of the indie soul outlets represented on this cruise like Chris Rizik and L. Michael Gipson of SoulTracks.com, and Kimberly Hines of SoulBounce.com who review music, inform and support numerous artists on their Websites that have graced many of the Capital Jazz stages.

L. Michael Gipson and Chris Rizik of SoulTracks.com

Kimberly Hines of Soulbounce.com

Sunday was filled with football fans at the NFC Championship viewing party, events like The Business of Music panel discussion and a lovely celebration of African Heritage with the Wakanda themed night, where most of us participated by getting dressed in our garb, we portrayed the Kings and Queens we ARE!

Wakanda Night

In addition to young, fresh, banging artists I was not familiar with like Butterscotch who blew a lot of our minds with her multi-musical gifts and Matthew Whitaker who took the audience to church and sold out his CDs, made a lasting impact on many! I can’t recall which show it was where he was absolutely engaged and digging the keyboardist at someone else’s show. Just a beautiful sight!

It seems like everyone I’ve mentioned the Silent Disco to so far have heard of it except me. When I arrived at the Sky Lounge to participate, I had about ten minutes and it was over, yet so very cool while it lasted! No music in the air, just music in your ear! Everyone received a pair of headphones, danced and sang to the music they heard in their ears and that’s the way the music played!

The Secret Society Party Band played the pool deck as the sun shined and the wind blew hard and fast. That didn’t keep us from having a grand time! Some of the other activities included Wine Tasting, Paint and Sip, and Salsa Dancing. Everyone needs some laughter in their lives and the good word to renew the spirit. Comedians Bruce Bruce, Melanie Carmacho and JB Smoove fulfilled their duties and Richard Smallwood spread the gospel far and wide! The Hip-Hop show with Doug E. Fresh, and Slick Rick and surprise guest Roxanne Shante, turned Studio B into a 90’s party where no one had a care in the world; it was beautiful to witness and overall good feeling to see so many people on their feet, having a great time!

Roxanne Shante

Members of the legitimate bald head community (males and females) attended the Bald Head Convention hosted by funny man, Michael Colyar. Don’t ask what it’s all about because they don’t tell 🙂

Who attends a show starting at 12:30 am? Everyone who wanted to see Babyface, that’s who! Where do you go clubbing beginning at 2 a.m.? Back in the day, NYC after hours spots would open around the same time, but this here is on a whole other level! Besides, where else are you going the next morning? Not to work, that’s for sure!

One of the most beautiful sights during this cruise is seeing artists who are fans of their peers, enjoying each other’s performances. The best is that impromptu moment! You have to be there to witness it when they are joined on the stage making magic happen!

The Capital Jazz organization works hard to include activities throughout the trip that appeals to guests who belong to specialized groups including fraternities/sororities and the military. Sea days are crammed with lots to do! If you like healthy cooking, dance exercises, yoga, participating in artists Q&As, music/comedy related workshops, costume night, a music/artist theme or preselected color to wear on designated nights, you can’t go wrong with all this fun–then there are dinner and the concerts… Whooo!

After attending a few of these cruises I became familiar with a few of the regulars. I missed your presence this year, everyone!

D Maurice “DMo”, vocalist with Eric Roberson
Samir Moulay, Soul Lounge guitarist
Steve Smith, Soul Lounge vocalist
Robert “WaWa” LeGrand, guitarist with various artists
Spur of the Moment tribute show (I missed the Funkology show where some of the featured artists joined in on their stage!)

Next up, Day 1

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

Capital Jazz Super Cruise 2016 – Was the Third Time a Charm?

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I thought I’d get a head start on this post, so on October 6,  2016, I began taking notes. By that time, Hurricane Matthew had already reared its ugly eye, destroying any and everything in its path.  We were set to sail on Sunday, October 23rd and Matthew had affected the cruise’s route; we were informed a few days before sailing, that Nassau Bahamas would be our detour from Great Stirrup Cay Bahamas, where Jill Scott and Wanda Sykes were to perform on Norwegian’s private island, day 2.  It was to be a fun-filled day on the beach where we would have access to the beautiful sea along with laughs, good music, and lunch “on” Norwegian.  See Alaina Jenkins’ review.

We arrived at the host hotel the day before sailing so that we could attend the Meet and Greet.  I was super excited to be in Miami!  I looked forward to seeing my friends, what lie ahead for a week’s worth of music, sun/fun and that whole Capital Jazz Cruise vibe!

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Upon hotel registration at the Marriot, the day before sail off, we received a letter with two passes attached to inform us of our 1:00 pm shuttle appointment for the next day; at that point we decided 1 pm wouldn’t work for us. Other than that, things were on to a good start for the meet and greet. Everyone was pumped and ready for Sunday’s sailing to celebrate Capital Jazz’s 10th Anniversary!

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Folks mingling and having a good time. My gurl Laura and our friend, Reggie (top right). My heroes, Wes and James (bottom middle) who saved me last year with lending me the battery charger for my camera

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Pat Prescott, Jodine Dorce, Michael Colyar, Tony Richards and Donna Richardson, I think.

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NY homie, Lenny Green; me; and hubby. V is on the left who photo bombed us!

Day 1, sail off!  We took a cab to the port around 11:00 am, and it’s a good thing we did because when we arrived, the Norwegian Getaway had just returned from its previous trip, and those passengers were disembarking as the Capital Jazz cruisers were arriving to board the ship.   A long line had already formed to go through security.  Once inside, we had to wait in the terminal after registering and be called by groups to enter onto the ship.

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Wait, did she photo bomb us?!

In a nutshell, with permission from the following two cruisers, they totally covered the issues in their reviews; they appeared on the Capital Jazz Fest/SuperCruise FaceBook Page upon return from the cruise.

Jock TravelPlug Schofield
‘How The Capital Jazz Fest & SuperCruise F*cked Up and Ruined One of the Best Organized and Entertaining Themed Cruises’

Common Sense Rules 1 & 2 are as follows; 1. Don’t fix it if it’s not broke and 2. Keep it simple stupid. This is my sixth and definitely last year on the Capital Jazz Supercruise. My priors 5 times going have all been an awesome experience with incredible entertainment.  They were all on the Carnival cruise line and to attend a performance has been an effortless event. You choose an early or late dinnertime. Each guest performed for two shows and you went to the show based on your dinnertime. It was a pretty simple task to see a show and the only time you needed to arrive early was if you wanted close seats to the stage. Fast-forward this year to the 10th Anniversary of the Supercruise. The promoters of the cruise of changed the cruise line to the Norwegian Getaway. Let’s jump right to the issue.

Attending a show this year reminds me of my days as an undergrad student at Morgan State University. I attended Morgan State University at a time when you couldn’t register for classes online you had to show up early and wait in a long line that wrapped around the building and hoped that the classes you wanted would still be available by the time you got to enroll. At this year’s Capital Jazz Super Cruise in order to register for the main shows this year you have to register through Norwegian’s mobile app, a screen near the elevators on each floor or from the television in your cabin.  The video accompanied with this post shows you what most of the attendees experienced. Most of the shows were not available due to the size of these small venues. For shows that did not require registration you had to be there at least an hour before the show started in order to guarantee a sport in the small venues. Last night we waited in line for 90 minutes for the old school hip hop show before leaving when the show was supposed to start at 12:30. We left at 1:00am after getting in line at 11:30. They hadn’t let anyone in at 1:00am by the time we left. Yesterday, we waited an hour to see Kindred in the standby line, the line where if you didn’t get reservations for a show it was suggested you tried the Standby line. The show was held in a dinner theatre with the worst view (posted pic) of the stage for those that didn’t have a table in front of the stage. For those that didn’t make it to shows it caused an overflow and terrible wait times for bars and restaurants on the cruise. In attempt to make amends Capital Jazz has added additional shows for some of the artists.  However, in order to attend these added shows one must arrive at the venue at least an hour early and hope that you can get a seat. At this point, I’ve already chalked this cruise up as a loss and the worst vacation EVER. My legs are sore, my feet hurt and I’m tired or arriving at a venue over an hour early just to stand in line with the hopes of seeing an artist that I paid to see. If you know of any other well-organized music-themed cruises, please let me know.

Alaina Jenkins
I had heard SO MANY good things about this cruise! I was so incredibly excited to see the phenomenal line-up of artists that they advertised. And it was an impressive line-up! To make a very long and frustrating story short, I did not get to see 80% of the major headliners. This was for a variety of reasons, all stemming from piss-poor planning on the part of CJSC. The venues could not accommodate everyone on the cruise (approx. 3700 people) seeing all the acts throughout the week. If it was going to be logistically impossible to see ALL the major acts, then that should have been advertised as people were booking and paying for this cruise. Essentially, if they had said to me I would be only able to see 4 of the 20 major acts without hassle and frustration, I would not have booked this cruise at $2300! Conventional wisdom has stated that half of this price was for the Balcony room on Norwegian (I’ll get to them later), and the other half went to CJSC. Well, based on my calculations, CJSC owes me about $900 back in missed shows because of their inability to figure out how to get everybody into everything. I should not have to spend my vacation days standing in line after line after line, missing other activities and quality time with friends, for hours at a time just to “possibly” get into a show I could not get a reservation for. That’s right, on the first day of the cruise, once you were on the boat, you had to stand at a touch-screen on various walls and attempt to make your reservations for the shows you wanted. By the time we stood in line (well over an hour), there were only 3 shows (major headliners – Eric Benet / Angie Stone, BWB / Patti Austin, and OJays / Ledisi) left with seats for us to reserve. Out of 20 major headliners! And this is not even including the comedians (another issue). We were able to add a 4th major headliner (the Dance Theatre of Harlem) ONLY because they added a show, told us about it on a flyer left outside our rooms in the middle of the night (which I just happened to see) and we managed to get those reservations before the show “sold out.” Simply put, and pardon my language, but I have to be real here, it was a cluster-fuck, and very demoralizing and disappointing for those of us who really wanted to see and experience the other major acts. I missed out on Incognito, Ken Ford, Jose James, Kindred The Family Soul, Diane Schuur, Smokie Norful, Jazz Funk Soul, Bilal, Nick Colionne, Algebra Blessett, Lee Ritenour, Dwele, Howard Hewett, Regina Belle, Walter Beasley, and Frank McComb. If Eric Benet, Angie Stone, BWB, Patti Austin, the OJays, and Ledisi all came to the DMV area, I would not have paid collectively almost $1200 to see them in base ticket prices, so there is NO WAY CJSC can justify what I paid to see with what I received in actuality. Like I said, they owe me about $900.

Now, let’s talk about the other major headliner concert that, technically, everyone got to see because there was no requirement to reserve a seat; Wanda Sykes opening up for Jill Scott. Wanda was horrible; she was unfunny, admittedly not feeling well, and under the influence of mind-altering medication (Nyquil). Meanwhile, we were situated in the literal “backyard” of the Atlantis Resort in Nassau, in blistering heat, with no tents, not enough chairs for over 3000 guests (they advised us to bring our towels so we could sit on the ground), no First Aid station, and only 15 port-a-potties for over 3000 people! The whole event was a major public health hazard. What was supposed to be a complimentary, Norwegian-catered lunch for us during the concert, ended up being a buy your lunch from Atlantis employees who set up under their own tents and charged $4 for a bottle of water, and far more than that for food. Most of us didn’t see the entirety of Jill Scott’s performance because we had been out in that heat with no cover for over 2 hours and massive lines were forming for the shuttles that would get us back to the ship.

CJSC should be as mortified as we are horrified that their brand has taken this hit. Until they correct the narrative of this hot mess of a cruise (IF they can), I can only assume that they are profit-driven and not people-driven, and they simply don’t care that this cruise was a complete waste of my hard-earned money. CJSC owes each of us a sincere apology that clearly acknowledges their miss-steps and the significant impact they had on their guests/clients/customers, and they owe each of us a refund based on a realistic analysis of how many headliner acts any one cruiser could have reasonably been expected to see given the timing of the various events (several major headliners overlapped each other each night) and the limited capacity of the venues. Try as I might, I didn’t even get to see one major headliner each night! I saw 3, and I was on that ship 7 days!

Speaking of that ship, the Getaway on Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). The food was disgusting! I’ve had better meals, more carefully prepared and presented, in my cafeteria at work! The majority of the food clearly came from frozen and was just re-heated, or were sloppily thrown together one-dish meals designed to feed an army (or should I say a plantation?) Toast came 10 minutes after our omelettes, and generally our salads came out after the main entrees. The open, dine whenever and wherever you choose model didn’t fit my expectations of luxury dining on the high seas. The places where we had a decent meal (sushi and Japanese teppenyaki) required us to pay additional charges. It was worth it, because the food was edible and properly presented, but after paying over $2000, I should not have to spend an additional $20-30 a night just to have a good meal. The foodie in me just had to die this week, because Norwegian screwed the pooch all over the place when it came to food and customer service. I would hate to think that because it was a boat full of black folks that their service was not up to snuff, but hearing from others that NCL is not normally “that bad” gives me pause. And apparently NCL could not WAIT to get our black asses off their boat, because they took our bags, categorized by only 3 colors, and tossed them into the Customs Holding Area with no rhyme or reason, and then called “all colors” to disembark at practically the same time. Imagine thousands of people with several thousands of pieces of luggage, with nothing but a color code to attempt to find your luggage in a sea of people and porters. A high-holy mess! And we were told several times that NCL doesn’t normally handle their disembarkation this poorly.

This is already too long, but needless to say, Royal Caribbean has earned a loyalist for LIFE after this experience on NCL!

So, while it was nice to get away with great travel buddies (we know how to make our own fun), and the artists were incredibly gracious and for the most part approachable for photos and quick chats, I do feel that I was cheated out of the vacation I was anticipating. And for that, CJSC must answer and respond tangibly. #FixItCapitalJazz

More reviews and comments at Eurweb.com

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My Two Cents

This was my third cruise with the Capital Jazz organization and the question is, “Was the third time a Charm?”  The above reviews are certainly detailed and convey that the celebration a major milestone anniversary calls for was not the momentous event it should have been.   Of the shows I attended, hardly any of the performers acknowledged or congratulated Capital Jazz on celebrating their 10th anniversary! With all the drama of having to reserve shows, long lines, etc., maybe this mention was remiss?  I’m not sure.

Once we boarded, we saw that lines had formed in front of the kiosk wall where we had to reserve our desired shows.  I stood on the line for two hours.  Individuals, as well as groups of friends/family, were standing at the screen for at least a half hour or more per group in order to reserve every single show they wanted to see.  The process was ridiculous, to say the least.

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This kiosk process was the devil!!

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This football party/viewing would have either been on the pool deck or in a designated venue, and DJ Frances Jaye would have been here playing music, welcoming the cruisers were it on a Carnival Cruise Line. While they’re watching football (not appearing too happy about it), the other half of us were at the kiosk reserving shows…

Cruisers were pissed and threatened to get their money back from the 2017 cruise.  Not me, I’d already paid a substantial amount of money and not sure by requesting a refund at this time would work since the regulation is when a refund request is not made by the 30 day deadline, the deposit is lost or only a portion of the deposit can be refunded, which I believe is pretty standard.

Clearly, Norwegian is not designed for a music-themed cruise.  Comparing Norwegian to Carnival, the “ghetto ship” as I have heard it referred to, is well equipped to comfortably accommodate a music event as such.

The main theater on Carnival holds about 1500 where Norwegian’s theater only holds around 700—losing over half of the seats; by the way, were really uncomfortable with a wooden bar going across the back of the seat, causing a real pain in the ass–literally!  On Carnival, there is a wide space between each row and a small table aside each seat for drinks, etc.  Additionally, there’s enough space on the pool deck to accommodate a band and it could get crowded depending on the artist.  The pool deck’s layout on The Norweigan Getaway could not properly accommodate a large crowd during the day where it would have otherwise taken place were it on Carnival.

Audrey Batts Watson, Capital Jazz’s former Fun Director wasn’t part of the organization this year and personally, I sorely missed her presence.  There was a vast disconnect between the Capital Jazz staff and cruisers because folks were so upset.  The staff wasn’t as friendly as they have been in the past because they took the brunt of the cruisers’ frustration.  However, I along with the entire list of CJ cruisers (I am guessing) received an email from her stating she was with another company and it seems like Audrey will be organizing a music-themed cruise or more, sometime next year.  There was a survey link included in the email that asked questions about what folks would like to see based on their prior cruising experience.

I want to believe that the Capital Jazz Organization, had good intent by upgrading to approximately 1500 cabins above what Carnival could accommodate for the 10th anniversary, but the compromise they made in order to do that failed.  I am not sure of how the CJO spent 18 months planning for the 10th anniversary and did not foresee a problem with the layout of the ship’s venues and having to make reservations.  The Getaway, yes, is a bigger ship but unable to entertain CJ cruisers as a cohesive unit.  In addition to that, there were more venues to accommodate more artists (over 50 acts) but spaced out, and some acts were not even advertised.  I thought this was too many artists given the fact that a host of good acts was simultaneously scheduled. Likewise, not advertised was Ingrid B. out of Miami with her group of Erotic Spoken Word Artists.  I was excited about this because I discovered Ingrid B. on Myspace, and you know how long ago that was!.  I had the chance to meet her and I really wanted to see the poets and managed to see two performances.  As I said there were so many conflicting performances, my energy was high and I couldn’t sit there for longer than I did.  The Soul Sessions was going on at the same time and that is one of my favorite events!

I didn’t see any of the six comedians—usually, three including Michael Colyear would perform in one night on Carnival’s main stage and that way, there was more of an opportunity to see all of their performances.  A full band performed at the atrium every night which was a nice touch but again conflicted with other shows.

I am curious to see how the CJO is going to physically fix it this year.  They offered each 2016 cruiser $300 off of 2017 and 2018 depending on which year they cruise to make amends, and also have cruisers make show reservations before the trip so that CJO can see just how many shows they will have to schedule.  This was an exceptional gesture!  Whether it came from Norwegian or Capital Jazz, I don’t care! I’m happy to say, that $600 discount off my balance came in handy!

Change is sometimes hard for folks, but I hope Capital Jazz Organization will consider everyone’s feedback and get back to the SuperCruise vibe the CJ cruisers have become accustomed to experiencing.

There’s my two cents!  After reservation culture shock, I still had a great time!! And as you will see on the CJ highlights video at the end of this post, I wasn’t the only one!! On with the show…

Day 1
Sunday, Oct 23, 2016
Depart Miami, Florida

As many of you know, Incognito is tops of my favorite bands and there was no way I was going to miss them no matter how many times I’ve seen them perform!  What was a sweet surprise and funny at the same time was that Chris Ballin joined Incognito on this tour and as Bluey set up introducing him, folks thought it was Maysa. If anyone knows Incognito’s Beneath the Surface, they would know that Bluey would not use this album to introduce her.  As a matter of fact, Maysa needs no introduction.  She simply walks onto the stage and there you have her!! So it was funny when Chris walks out onto the stage and to the audience’s surprise, it was not her. The people sitting close to us were truly disappointed!  HA HA!!

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Bluey, the band, Chris Ballin, Deborah Bond, and Vanessa Haynes

I hadn’t seen Jose James since the first time some years ago at BAM/MetroTech , Brooklyn. I’m overjoyed I saw his show! Jose sang and rapped a song by Gil Scott-Heron, I don’t know what the title was but he did a fantastic job on it and I’m mad at myself for not recording it. He blew the audience and me away with his tribute to Bill Withers. This one I got—check him out!!

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Two bad musicians right here! Bassman, Stanley and guitarist, WaWa played for Jose James; caught them after the show.

It was a really big surprise to meet James Bing on the ship, assisting with cd sales from Mood’s Music out of Atlanta! And Brooklyn’s own DJ Spinna was delightful! I’m sure he gained plenty of new followers after his sets!

Day 2

Monday, Oct 24, 2016
Nassau, Bahamas

Shots of the early risers from the ship at breakfast

 

On the way over to the show

Jill Scott

A two for one; a show outside in the sun, getting my tan on (which by the way, burnt the mess out of my forehead!)

Angie Stone and Eric Benet

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Angie Stone

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Eric Benet

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Our man, Troy “Sol” Edler on background vocals!

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Check Spur of the Moment’s Wayne Bruce on guitar and Tim Steele on drums

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Outfit of the Night! Couldn’t stay in these shoes, uh uh, too high but loved they way they made my muscle-esk legs stand out!

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Donnie so soulful-filling, how good it makes him and any other artist feel when the audience simply applauds for them!

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Steve Smith, Lysette, and Donnie

Me and Donnie after he sweated himself out for the people…

Ok, so maybe not Donnie for the first 12 minutes or so, but I promise, you will love what comes before him!

Day 3
Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016
Fun Day At Sea!

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All of this in one night!!  I’m a trooper if I do say so myself!  Four of the five below were going on around the same time!

Bilal

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Cunninglinguist Erotic Poetry hosted by Ingrid B

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The Soul Sessions hosted by Eric Roberson

I missed the Legends of Hip Hop Concert but was able to swing by the Kid Capri after party

Day 4
Wednesday, Oct 26, 2016
San Juan, Puerto Rico

The hubster and me upon arrival in Puerto Rico for a little shopping and authentic, salty Puerto Rican cuisine

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Later on that evening we returned to the ship for a grand performance by these four superstars!

Patti Austin

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BWB Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, and Rick Braun

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Nicole Henry and Hill St Soul

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Nicole Henry

Hil St. Soul

Black and White night photo shoot

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Laura and Reggie

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Day 5
Thursday, Oct 27, 2016
St. Kitts

What a day, what a day–and so much fun!!

I can get really complacent when it comes to venturing out to explore.  Well, thank goodness for Laura and Linda for talking me into playing with the dolphins! 

 Afterward, we shopped a bit and hung around the bar until it was time to board. 

Caught up with Jodine and Ingrid B. later on that evening

Karaoke

Dwele

Marcus Johnson

Soul Understated


Day 6
Friday, Oct 28, 2016
Fun Day At Sea!
Today, the last of my memory cards ran out (I had 5 cards: three 32 GB and two 16GB) and I needed a computer to transfer files from the storage card to my flash drive.  ERRO came to the rescue and saved the day!  Last year it was the battery and charger drama, this year the storage cards.  Another lesson learned…

Sometime during the day…

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D Maurice is finally standing in the front and the light is shining on him! I was so happy for DMo!

 

This band is the pure TRUTH!! Dre King, Samir Moulay, Chris Bynum, Antone “Chooky” Caldwell, Oweleo Lysette, and Steve Smith

Moonchild

Ledisi

The Mighty O’Jays

Day 7
Saturday, Oct 29, 2016
Fun Day At Sea!

Quite a bit was going this last full day on the ship, and for me, a bit of downtime since it rained–last day of sun spoiler!

Here’s the rundown:

I was determined to learn how to use the interval shooting feature on my camera!  This feature allows you to be in the shot if you so choose…

So I chose to be in it!

Howard Hewitt

A performance of a band I do not recall at  The Sugarcane Mojito Bar where Howard Hewett couldn’t help but get in on the action!

 

“Flight of Six” pretty mojitos for around $20 at the Sugarcane Mojito Bar

 

The Kid Capri

Kid Capri caused a major uproar, and people put a dent in that ship!

Marcus Johnson (bottom left) got his groove on too!

 

Here’s an overused phrase you will not hear from me, but “At the end of the day” it’s really all about the music and people having a great time.   I sure did…

Here’s a quick look back!

Check out more performance videos and interviews by Jodine; hosts, Pat Prescott, Tony Richards and Lenny Green with the artists, provided by either Capital Jazz, the artists and or other cruisers.

By the way, Jodine Dorce has one of the best jobs on the cruise!

Kindred The Family Soul

Eric Roberson

Joey Sommerville

Regina Belle

Walter Beasley

Ken Ford

Brotherhood of Renowned Artists discussion featuring
Larry Poncho Brown, Leroy Campbell, & Charles Bibbs

Smokie Norful

Algebra

George Wallace

BOOTCAMP!