Feb 15, 2008

January 2008 JazzSea Caribbean Cruise

The 10-day 25th Anniversary JazzSea Caribbean Cruise, returned to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on January 15, 2008 with many great musical memories, along with photos of some of the prettiest islands in the Caribbean. This cruise was so popular, that the entire Holland-America ship, M.S. Maasdam, had been filled with JazzSea enthusiasts.

It was Tim's pleasure once again to conduct the “Banjos Aweigh” pick-up band, made up of around 40 non-professional musicians and enthusiasts, ready to practice and learn a 45 minute concert repertoire. In the band there were men and women from the U.S.A. and Canada, as well as the Scottish banjo player, Michael Hart, the director of the Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festivals

The band predominantly consists of banjo players, with a tuba or bass player in the mix. They have usually been lucky enough to find a good pianist and horn player or two, as well as fiddlers and harmonica players. To add rhythm and humor to the gathering, they have added washboards, spoons, and sometimes a “gutbucket”. Tim welcomes any level of banjo playing ability, and he will try to include most other instruments into the band. Tim never knows who the musical surprises will be until they begin the cruise, so Tim tries to make the concert songlist relatively simple, to accommodate various levels of performance. In fact, to further simplify matters, Tim now has the full concert printed up in booklet form, “The Banjos Aweigh Songbook”, so that participants, who cannot play by ear alone, will be able to read the music during performances. Some prospective band members will even order their songbook well in advance of their cruise, just to be prepared. It ends up being a great learning experience for novices. Just look at their faces in the accompanying photo!

If anyone is interested in cruising while listening to 5 or 6 different jazz bands, or even participating with Banjos Aweigh, just check out http://www.jazzsea.com/ for information on upcoming cruises. There is a 7-day Alaskan cruise leaving Seattle on July 25. Another 7-day Caribbean cruise will leave Ft. Lauderdale on January 3, 2009, and Tim will be onboard for both of these, offering lessons and workshops, as well as performing and conducting Banjos Aweigh. “The Banjos Aweigh Songbook”, is available online at www.timallan.com or you may mail your order directly to Tim at the following address: Tim Allan, 2513 Lewis Rd., Venice, Florida 34292, USA. Each book will cost $15.00 + $6.50 p&h in North America, and $28.00 pp overseas.