Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a British perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. Although, to music fans, the name of Bob Jamieson may not be instantly recognizable he is in fact one of the shrewdest business brains in the industry. He is credited with the high profile turn around of the then ailing RCA Records and his work in this respect resulted in him being made the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.
In the music business most of his working life, Jamieson has been responsible for signing some legendary performers. Now he is using that same business nous and passion for music as the driving force behind the new look (and freshly named) All Star Smooth Jazz Cruise. When I caught up with Bob at his office in New Haven, CT I first asked him about his motivation to get involved with the project.
It was simple, he explained. Although fully aware of the phenomenon that smooth jazz cruising had become he was, himself, a cruise virgin. That was until January 2007 when he was invited to join the All Star Smooth Jazz Cruise to find out more of what it was all about. Not only was he immediately captivated by the unique atmosphere that fizzed like electricity between artists and guests, he was also left in awe of the stellar performances that he witnessed there. Later, when he was invited to play an active roll in the 2008 event, he jumped at the chance to build on what was already there and to widen the scope of the musical offering in order to welcome in those guests who draw their reference point of the adult contemporary scene from what they hear on smooth jazz radio.
His first deliberate step has been to drop the word ‘jazz’ from the title and given the difficulty involved in explaining to the uninitiated what the term ‘smooth jazz’ really means the rationale for this change of name is easy to understand. In addition, to further show off the genre in its widest possible sense he has drafted in some overtly R & B acts for the pre-cruise show in San Diego. This all inclusive approach is sure to pay big dividends for those who identify with a smooth groove and who seek the energy and excitement that this avenue of music routinely delivers.
With a line up that is rapidly approaching epic proportions Bob really has combined the best of all worlds. The talent assembled for the pre-cruise entertainment at the Town and Country Resort ranges from Kenny G to The Four Tops and The Spinners to Kool & The Gang. If that isn’t enough, once the ship embarks, the intriguing prospect of ‘new kid on the cruise host block’ Norman Brown rubbing shoulders with the veteran Warren Hill will be breathtaking to say the least. For many, Hill remains as the godfather of smooth jazz cruising and, in actuality, he and Bob Jamieson go way back. Jamieson signed him to RCA in 1993 and they have remained friends ever since.
When I asked Bob what his message would be for those out there who were still contemplating if smooth cruising was for them he recalled that not too long ago he was also new to the scene. He urged them to be like him, to ‘give it a go’, to come along and sample the excitement. He promises that they will find themselves in the magical company of 1100 ‘friends’, all united by the common bond of music, and ready to party.
The All Star Smooth Cruise festivities begin in San Diego on January 19, 2008. For more information on the complete line-up go to www.allstarcruise.com or call 877 529 9729.Posted by Denis Poole at September 2, 2007 9:55 AM