It was very smooth cruising with the 2009 JazzSea Caribbean cruise aboard Holland America’s “M.S. Statendam”, from January 3 to 10. There was lots of music to hear and to play, plus great weather in various islands - all in 7 days of fun.
These annual January cruises allow musicians to play in an organized atmosphere as well as in informal jam sessions. There were 4 popular trad. jazz bands onboard, from the U.S. and Canada, as well as a “Jammers” band, led by Dick Williams, aimed at offering playing time to mostly horn players. The Banjos Aweigh band, which I conduct, is composed of banjo players along with horns, piano, drums, and washboards, all of whom are novices. It is amazing how quickly these band members catch on and produce listenable music, starting and finishing each song very cleanly. By the way, half of these band members had my “Banjos Aweigh Song Book” along with their music stands to help them get through each hour-long performance.
The “Banjos Aweigh Song Book” contains all the songs our band played onboard. You can purchase it on my website http://www.timallan.com/, in case you want to prepare for next year’s JazzSea cruise.
I also offered private lessons on various stringed instruments and brought along some new helpful banjo books and CDs that I had recently produced. My 2 different tenor banjo chord-diagrammed song books were popular with the tenor players, and my “Play Along-Practice Trax” book/CD combo, containing 22 banjo band songs, proved to be popular with all instruments.
If you are interested in being part of the JazzSea cruise next year, simply go online to http://www.jazzsea.com/.