May 23, 2014
Here Begins A New Life
Many people have written me over the past several months. They havenít seen anything posted in my schedule section or blog page on my website for some time and were concerned. If you are interested in knowing more of my whereabouts, then please feel free to read on. I have many personal thoughts to share. Itís not going to be a short story by any means. This will probably be the lengthiest and most significant online journal Iíve posted since my websiteís inception. Please be prepared to dedicate time reading this or feel free to come back to it when you can devote more time. I also invite you to express your personal thoughts on what Iíve written, by responding to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frankly, Iíve been wanting to update my blog for some time. I felt if I was going to candidly share my story publicly, I wanted to take considerable time clarifying my thoughtís. Thatís paramount to me. My fans are important and very special to me, especially those people who have become friends and purchased my CDís. Some have planned their cruises around my schedule. The need to be informative and straightforward, after devoting part of my career revolving around the cruise ship industry, is most important. Itís been a year of mind-blowing lessons and enlightenment.
You might want to read a blog I posted on August 18th which is part of the story. I came home on May 19th of 2013. Iíll fill in the blanks now.
After careful deliberation, I cancelled a contract which was to begin on August 3rd of 2013. Quite frankly, I was totally disenchanted with my band members with exception to Matthew Dawson, who played piano after a four year absence. I persuaded him to do the contract with me. After experiencing all the bullshit I had to endure, Matt decided not to return on August 3rd. I donít blame him. It was a wise choice. My former drummer had anger management issues which prevented him returning. In the end, I had the awesome task of replacing the entire trio. I couldnít find suitable replacements in the short time I had off the ship, between contracts. I decided to forfeit my August 3rd contract in order to give the Miami office ample time to replace me. The next window of opportunity to return was on January 19th, 2014. That gave me considerable time to find musicians for an all new band and still have time to rehearse.
Unfortunately, it was agonizingly frustrating searching for quality musicians. LOL, Thatís putting it mildly! You can not believe the anxiety involved! One obstacle after the next to deal with. My agent was no help. Naturally, I began to think that my career performing on ships was about to come to an abrupt end. It wasnít the first time I had contemplated that unappetizing and paralyzing thought. I had lots of sleepless nights thinking about the consequences involved.
Finally, it all came together after devoting painstaking time and great effort in the 11th hour. All the important paperwork was sent out to my new band members. And, on November 22nd I got a call from my agent telling me that the contract was cancelled. (huge sigh) He told me that a phone message was left on his answering machine stating that. I asked him if he called back to ask why. He said he hadnít returned the call. I said, well I guess itís finally over. I now had the task of telling my new band members. They were all looking forward to working with me. It was embarrassing and deflating for me in every way imaginable. The last thing my agent said to me was, if I needed anything to call him and we said goodbye. All my efforts were just a huge lesson in futility. I was numbed by the news.
LOL! You have got to be kidding me! What an anticlimax, after 14 years of great success, dedication and sacrifice. November 22nd now had two petrifying memories for me. One being the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. I was 10 when that happened. Even though I was young, it had a great impact on me. Iíll never forget that day.
Now that date is associated with the end of my work on cruise ships, as well. I wasnít going to fool myself. The writing was on the wall for a very long but I still persevered. After working for two major players in the cruise industry, I just had enough. Everything changed in the cruise industry after 9/11. I was there to witness it along with other musicians and entertainers I know. Iím not going to reveal or discuss my innermost thoughts on the cruise industry, however, I do have insightful observations that Iím not entirely ready to discuss or write about at this point in time. However.....
In the movie The Wizard of Oz, after Dorothy brings the witches broom back to deliver to the Wizard. Toto runs behind the curtain and with his teeth opens up the curtain to discover that the Wizard has been exposed to Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man, as a fake. The Wizard sees what is happening and nervously tries to close the curtain during the panic. The Wizard says ďPay no attention to the man behind the curtain.Ē So what seemed to be so real to Dorothy, enough to risk her life for and the lives of the others by killing the wicked witch, was now shattered. The wizard was merely an ordinary man, pretending to be something greater than he was. In short, we all see the bells & whistles and special effects. Whatís the real truth behind it all?
If you read between the lines, youíll understand where Iím coming from concerning cruise ships and whatís really happening behind the curtain. We all can relate to many situations in movies that sometimes reflects real life. Loyalty is a virtue which is so important, that if loyalty is missing other virtues will loose their value. Loyalty is a vital part of ethics. Loyalty is like a glue making people love each other and trust each other. Its the basics of human interaction. Iím no longer prepared to deal with the shameful politics, self centered agendas and the manipulative abuse of power from inflated egos that donít give a damn. This was a huge lesson in how crucial it is to set limits and draw lines in the sand. I found out that I have an amazing capacity for ingratitude. How can something I enjoyed so much, also become a source of pain as well. I just donít get it. Maybe the executives of cruise ship companies should watch some episodes of ďUndercover Boss.Ē As Forest Gump said ďThatís all I have to say about that.Ē
I fired my agent. I should have done that a long time ago. It became overwhelmingly apparent, well before we parted, that my sense of values, sensibility and ethics collided with his. When I started working on ships I had to have an agent to do business with the cruise lines. Thatís how itís done, although there are colleagues of mine who have managed to do business without the use of an agent, thereby not having to pay out commissions. How lucky they are to have a business arrangement like that. If I ever felt envy about something, it was to represent myself, as those acts did and not have to deal with my agent. I started out having respect for him and thought I was in capable hands.
Over the years it simply deteriorated. In the end I was utterly frustrated and disappointed. Iím being diplomatic here. Every time I wrote him a commission check I felt like puking. A huge part of my frustration revolved around communication. Sometimes I needed to call him directly to discuss important issues. His office is in Las Vegas. I canít tell you how many times he said Iíll call you back within the hour. I sat on my ass waiting like a fool for him to return my call. Days went by, even weeks without him returning my call. Sometimes after some of our conversations, I would go into the bathroom and look in the mirror to see if stupid was embossed on my forehead. LOL. He was real good at schmoozing and telling me that Iím an important client. I realized a long ago that it was all just an illusion. It was pure exploitation. He didnít really give a damn about my welfare on any level. I learned many lessons the hard way, which could have been avoided. Those life lessons ran deep into the very fibre of my being. He was the controlling force contributing so much to the level of my anxiety, in an already strenuous working atmosphere. Everyone needs stability in their chosen profession. That just wasnít the kind of experience I worked so hard for, especially when you put your life into the hands of someone you rely on to keep you working. (Huge Sigh)
Most of his clients I worked with on ships used much stronger language in how they truly felt about him and would open up to me. Loved those bitch sessions! It was comforting to know that my impressions of him was shared by many. It all boils down to expectations. High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation. Itís normal to have expectations, not only from ourselves but also from the people you pay to provide you with consistent employment. When you canít trust the people you pay good money to represent your interests, you have to find a way to eliminate that element from your life. Not as easy a task as youíd think. What can I say, itís the nature of this business and their interests came before the clients, in my opinion. A growing relationship can only be nurtured by genuineness.
Iím not going to waste any more of your time reading about my agent. What I wrote was just the tip of the iceberg, regarding my grievances. I feel so sorry for those acts that still have him and are just as frustrated of confronting him. What a huge personal disappointment our association was. How heartbreaking! A huge wake up call for me. Heís out of my life now, along with his associate in Vancouver. Thank you God!!
Let me change the mood of this blog to something more upbeat. Working on ships was a life altering experience. There is no question that it nourished me artistically. Their was personal growth in more ways than just performing. I had some awesome times and met interesting people from around the globe, who would frequent the lounge. Friends that I will always cherish deeply. Some of the finest acts in show biz that became pals over the years and passengers that would choose to sail with me. It doesnít get more flattering than that and itís been a humbling experience. Musicians that used to come up and sit in with us, always guaranteed fun for me and the guests who were lucky to be in the right place at the right time. The stories I could tell you, LOL. Good memories that will always make me smile. I became successful and popular on every ship I worked on over the years and Iím so proud of that accomplishment. I work hard for my audience. Iím like comfort food to them. I continued growing artistically year after year. What a nice way to enjoy life, having all those good vibes come in my direction.
The fact is, if you follow the path with your heart and do what you truly love, youíll never work another day in your life. Some people go through life choosing the safe things. Journeys can sometimes start from weird places. I decided long ago not to go where the path may lead but instead go where there is no path and leave a trail. In this business there are plenty of ups and downs to deal with and itís imperative to keep focused on your goals. No matter how talented you may be, there will always be these ebbs and flows. You have to be guided by your intuition and believe that you will find your niche.
Making music with your voice is a gift. Never ever waste a gift given by the Universe. I adore music and I adore singing. Many people have connected to the harmonics of my voice. Iím grateful for every day I had the opportunity to share my gift with people. I devoted my life to being a dedicated custodian of the Great American Songbook. I take great pride in what I brought to the cruise industry as a performer. Not just musically but also as a sincere team player. My success was also their success. Excellence is not a skill, itís an attitude!
Over the last couple of years or so, I put together tribute shows on the music of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Nat King Cole. It was amazingly well received by the guests. My concept for the hour plus long show was more like a musical lecture, which would cover some interesting bits of biographical information, including stories about their struggles and accomplishments and a brief history on how they came to sing some of the songs they made famous. It was always a fun experience for me and it made people think. I would ask the audience questions as well, which made it interactive. Boy, do I especially miss doing that.
Every set I performed was like a show. It was put together as we went along and that concept worked well and kept it fresh. It also brought an element of spontaneity to the stage. I could feel the vibes from the audience and seemed to naturally know how to tailor each set. My head-liner friends were always amazed how people would return night after night until the end of their cruise.
Many fans correspond with me, which I enjoy. Some became extended members of my family over the years. We speak by phone every once in a while instead of writing. No other cruise ship company had an act like mine. I would like to think that I left a legacy behind with each ship I worked on. I took what I did seriously and these companies couldnít have had a better ambassador to represent them. I was committed. I transformed the venues I performed in into my living room.
When I did my first contract back in 1999, I walked onto the ship with great anticipation and new deep down that this was a huge opportunity for me. It was my mission to make a difference. I never looked back and surged along the great path before me, which nurtured my self esteem as a vocal stylist.
The time I spent in London England going to the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art to study acting in the 70ís, helped me immensely to achieve my goals. I wanted to be an actor from a very early age. In fact, I left university to pursue my dream. That also was a life altering experience. The study and performance schedule was intense. 3000 potential students auditioned for a chance to study there back in 1976 and I was one of the lucky 14 that was chosen. Wow! When I reflect back on those days, I canít help thinking that there was divine intervention that helped me succeed.
The faculty was made up of former actors, who had distinguished careers. They balanced their careers, as well as taught. I saw 75 productions in Londonís West End. I saw John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Judy Dench, Ben Kingsley, Ian Mckellen, Lawrence Olivier and the list goes on. I worked a 90 hour week which included many classes, rehearsals etc. It was exhausting but well worth the chance to learn how to be the very best I could be.
I was lucky enough to receive singing tutorials, however, I had to audition. My teacher Darell Moulton, trained me to sing opera. Darrel taught at the Royal Academy of Music. After I returned home from London, I auditioned for the Vancouver Opera Association and sang in their chorus for 10 years, 1979 to 1988. Darell taught me so much about vocal production and style. I could go on and on here about those days at drama school. Deciding to go study in London, the Mecca of the arts, helped me to survive working on ships. That was 36 years ago.
Even though I enjoyed the discipline of opera and have marvelous memories of those days, I knew my true calling was the Great American Songbook. I decided to cross over finally. Glad I did. Opera taught me so much. However, you can not interpret that genre of music the way you can singing Jazz. The music of Gershwin, Berlin, Porter etc. was calling out to me. That was my true passion. I took my opera training, smashed some of the technique and developed a vocal style that those great composers I mentioned, would have given me their blessings to perform. I will always consider myself as an actor who sings. Combining acting and singing helped so much in my interpretation, style and phrasing. The lyrics mean much more than whatís set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.
One of my greatest influences was growing up in an orthodox Jewish culture. I heard some of the best Cantors when we went to the synagogue for Jewish holidays. Such soulful voices! After my Bar Mitzvah, I joined the choir at Schara Tzedeck synagogue here in Vancouver. Perhaps that is part of the reason I started in opera before embarking to the Great American Songbook. My zaida (grandfather) on my dadís side was a Cantor and my motherís father was a musician and singer in his youth. My mother had a wonderful voice as well and would get her up on stage with me over the years. She always was captivating vocally. I guess singing is interwoven into my genes. My love for classical music came at a very young age. I saw the Vancouver Symphony orchestra perform at 7 or 8 years old. I was hooked from that day on.
My love for show business came at a very early age too. Growing up in the 50ís and 60ís, I saw the best of the best perform on t.v. It had an enormous impact on my desire to go into the performing arts. My family watched t.v. together, much like when radio was the only means of home entertainment. Those were the days indeed. Thatís when t.v. was still in itís infant stage and at itís best. No cable either. We had a t.v. antenna and it was all in black and white. I had a voracious appetite for good entertainment and absorbed it all. I remember vividly when our t.v. broke down and the repairman had to take the guts of the t.v. back to his shop to fix. Just the body remained. I was just a kid then. In my frustration, I took a lamp one evening and went to the back of the t.v. and put the lamp in where the electronics was, sat on a small stool, stuck my head inside and did my own t.v. shows for my family. They wet themselves with laughter. I even did the news, LOL. My uncle Sam had an awesome 78rpm record collection and I remember very well, me dancing around his place to Jolsonís ďWhen the Red Red Robin Goes Bob Bob Bobbin AlongĒ when I was four years old. I recorded it on my first CD ďFirst Take.Ē
OK,OK! Tired of reading? Before this blog turns into a 250 page biography, I will make some closing remarks. Iím not exactly sure what the future holds for me at present but I have absolutely no plans on giving up singing. I look forward to the challenges ahead with great anticipation. Iím spending time healing the past, living the present and dreaming the future. Iím re-centering myself as my dear friend Sid Jenner said to me. I guess thatís a good way to describe it.
When you canít wait for your ship to come in, you just gotta row out to it. Many talented people have never had the opportunities I have been privileged to experience in my show biz life. Iím alive and no one can take ones talent away from them. I do have some challenges ahead but I believe that God gave me this gift to use. When God takes something like this from your grasp, heís not punishing you but merely opening your hands to receive something better. I have faith that something will turn it all around sooner or later. Failure is not an option for me and Iím determined to succeed. No one can say I lead a boring life. One has to maintain a sense of humor through it all. Just send out some good vibes my way. That would be most gratefully appreciated. Iím in loving hands here with my loving and wonderful wife at my side. Like you, she believes in me. She is so supportive! Thatís everything! She is helping me to see the positive possibilities. She is helping me to redirect the substantial energy of my frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination. I can be changed by what happened to me but I refuse to be reduced by it.
Maya Angelou said ďYou can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Donít make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people canít take their eyes off you.Ē She also said ďI believe the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is to dare.Ē
Iím grateful for all the wonderful experiences Iíve had, the hundreds of places I traveled to, the many cultures of people Iíve encountered, the infinite number of nautical miles Iíve sailed and the thousands of people who have touched my life and me theirs.
October 9, 2013
It's my birthday today. To me - old age is always ten years older than I am. Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest. At this age, I know when one door closes another always opens... but man, these hallways are a BITCH! One more for you to ponder. LORD, grant me the serenity to accept stupid people as they are, the courage to maintain my self control and the wisdom to know if I act on it, I'll go to jail.
Happy birthday to all you October babies. May you live to be 100 and may the last singing voice you hear be mine.It was on my 13th birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.'
As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can't remember the other two. You forget names, then you forget faces, then you forget to pull your zipper up, then you forget to pull your zipper down.
They say that age is all in your mind. The trick is keeping it from creeping down into your body. You know you are getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.
P.S. Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty - they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.
Time to go eat my Ice Cream birthday cake!
September 11, 2013
Like the innumerable millions of people around the world, I too remember that extraordinary, eventful and now infamous day on September 11,2001. It was my final week of performing on a Royal Caribbean ship in Alaska. I was looking forward to going home after working for four months. It was almost 7am when the captainís voice suddenly interrupted our sleep and came on the shipís broadcast system. He had an ominous tone in his voice when he urged everyone to go to a T.V. and turn to CNN. He said that something terrible has happened in the United States. Nothing more,nothing less. There were no other details given as he apologized for the early morning intrusion.
I was sharing my cabin with my pianist Jim. Straight away I said to Jim that theyíve assassinated the President, which immediately conjured up the images and painful memory of JFKís assassination again for me. I was 10 years old then. What else could it be I thought, for the captain to be compelled to wake everyone up. Why would he make such an important announcement that would wake an entire ship up at this hour and urge everyone to turn on CNN? It simply had to be something equally as ominous to make such an announcement. These were my very first thoughts as I was waking up.
I immediately turned on the T.V. to discover CNN's Aaron Brown reporting on the World Trade Center situation. At first, we were confused as the details slowly unfolded. You could see lots of smoke billowing behind him in the distance. I hung onto every word he was reporting, as more and more news came in. I wasnít quite sure at that point what had actually happened. It was all very confusing at times, as we glued our eyes and ears to our T.V. During the many hours I watched, I heard all of the gruesome news updates, that jet planes had hit the two towers and they collapsed. That a plane had hit the Pentagon and another crashed in another location. That people were jumping to their deaths that were trapped in the towers as a desperate last resort.
So many incomprehensible thoughts were rushing through my mind simultaneously, as we speculated on why and how this happened. It was unimaginable, like watching a movie but it was real and this was no movie. I remember the Musical Director knocking on our cabin door at 9am with the news that there would be no one signing off in Vancouver that Sunday. I watched the T.V. from the moment the captainís announcement was made until 2pm. That was over 6 hours of non stop viewing. With each hour, more news was filtering in about the hijacked commercial jet planes. Another plane crashing in a field that the news anchor had speculated was going to hit the White House. We learned of the jet plane that hit the Pentagon as well. CNN speculated that there may have been up to 10,000 people trapped in the two towers. Days later we heard the true number of people caught up in the ugly twist of fate. How many firemen lost and policeman etc. etc.
The chaos we witnessed on the East Coast was now adding to everyoneís anxiety on the ship. Everything, as we knew it had changed, forever. So many thoughts were filtering into my mind that day. I was so compelled to watch this, that I had forgotten to eat. My stomach finally reminded me that I needed a break and literally ran down to the crew mess. I donít remember even chewing on what I grabbed in the 15 minutes I was there, only to run back to my room and watch more news on CNN. On a ship you donít have the luxury of multitudes of news channels to piece things together. In fact, there were areas in Alaska during those days after, that we could not get a satellite signal because of the mountains.
As I watched more news, my thoughts increasingly sank into a dark place. My God, how could this have happened, I thought. Who could have perpetrated such an evil act? Is this the beginning of more attacks planned not only in the U.S but other cities around the world? Is the world literally coming to and end? So many thoughts were swirling around inside my head. As I watched, my anxiety was building. Is the world going insane? It was all so exhausting on everyone, yet we could not rest.
I hope to God they donít expect us to perform tonight. Iím NOT in the mood to sing. This is not a time to party I thought, even though we were thousands of miles from New York, I knew it would be a challenging evening and wasn't sure how people would react. I knew that everyone was feeling numb, including me. I could hardly focus my thoughts. I well remember passengers having sullen looks on their faces and absolutely everyone was talking about what had happened that day. They were consumed with thoughts of their families and friends in New York and how theyíd get back home after the cruise. No one could get off in the remaining ports of call in Alaska and we learned that the borders were closed going into the United States from Canada and vice verse going to Canada from the U.S. Everything was at a standstill, including flights. It was so hard to imagine that these monolithic towers I saw and photographed years ago were gone.
The last place I wanted to be that day especially, was on a ship. I knew in my heart that I could not simply erase my feelings by displacing them into the back of my mind and get up in front of a crowd, let alone sing but I knew I had a job to perform no matter how I felt. No question, my mind was on overload. However, in spite of the days events, the cruise director thought it was better to go on with things as planned entertainment wise, that evening. In hind sight, it was the best way to deal with what happened. At 7:30pm I got up on stage and took the microphone and said, ďLike everyone here, itís been an overwhelming day of emotion and fearfulness. My job is to make music tonight and like a doctor who prescribes medicine to their patients when needed, consider myself like a doctor who is prescribing soothing music to help get everyoneís minds off of todayís events. The guests were most appreciative. Some musicians from the orchestra sat in with us as well, making it even better for the people who attended that evening. I was pleased with the response I received and the guests knew that it was a particularly difficult time for me to perform that night. We mostly performed ballads and some instrumentals. Most guests were delayed going back home for several days when we got back to Vancouver. By the following Wednesday & Thursday they could take flights back to their cities in the U.S. Many people opted to rent cars instead of waiting for flights to open up to get to their destinations sooner.
That day and the days after those horrendous attacks has always been a sad reminder every September 11th, since 2001. It was a time we collectively comforted each other and now it's a time to contemplate back on. Music can be very healing in troubled times. Iím grateful that I was able to soothe so many for the remaining days left on the cruise. On the first anniversary of 9/11 I sang America the Beautiful at the end of a remembrance ceremony on the Radiance of the Seas, to a standing room only theater. Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001?
August 18, 2013
Much time has past since I last updated my blog. It was in March to be exact. We completed our contract on the Allure on May 19th and I left for Vancouver. It's been a wonderful summer here in Vancouver. July set an all time weather record with 30 days of straight sunshine. It was awesome weather! Vancouver is so beautiful during the summer months. We have many parks and recreational spots in and around the city, that one does not need to venture out too far to feel like you've traveled a great distance to get away from the city to enjoy some serene and peaceful areas. Buntzen Lake was a special day for my wife Mabel and I. It was her birthday on July 4th and we made a picnic and spent the day there. Lovely! Lynn Canyon is in North Vancouver, another wonderful day of hiking and a picnic too. We have taken full advantage of the summer weather and all it's luxuries. I'm rarely at home during the summer months. To do all these special excursions as often as well did was therapeutic in many ways. Especially when you share it someone as wonderful as Mabel.
So why am I still in Vancouver, you may be wondering? I was scheduled to go to the Oasis on August 3rd to December 1st. To be truthful, the contract on the Allure was especially challenging. My bass player was fired by Royal Caribbean for breaching their alcohol policy. Don't ask! (huge sigh) It was stressful. Too bad because he had a real talent on the acoustic bass. Five days later Royal Caribbean was kind enough to send me a replacement who was leaving the Azamara Quest out of Barcelona, Spain. A special thank you to Rob in the Miami office. He had a vital role in his participation in helping to put out this fire. I can't thank him enough for his expediency and thoughtfulness. To make a long story short here, I had the arduous task of replacing my entire team at the end of the contract. Oy Vey, as we say!
After four months on the Allure performing six days a week, I was in no mood to rev things up to look for replacement musicians right after I came home. To find candidates in a timely manner was difficult and in the end I forfeited the contract. I had to give the Miami office at least 6 weeks to find a replacement for the impending contract on the Oasis.
Finding suitable replacements is not and easy task. People have to leave their home cities to work four months plus and the rigors of ship life and the performance schedule can be potentially a problem. Most of you who read my blogs are frequent cruisers but to put on 3 shows a night and bring them back again and again is an energy drainer for everyone involved. I work very hard to make my musicians happy. I try to be their friend as well as their boss. I'm not a demanding kind of guy either. I treat them all with respect over the years I've been performing on ships as I would like to be treated. I know they all make sacrifices to be away from their homes, friends and relationships as I do. However, I'm not a therapist. I'm a crooner who loves to be in front of a crowd that enjoys great music and provide guests with a relaxing and fun atmosphere while they are on their cruise. That's always been my mission.
What else have I been up to since coming home, you may ask? Well I painted the deck of our condo and the railings, cleaned the carpets and other assorted needed chores that kept me busy when Mabel and I were not going on excursions for the day. Our place is looking wonderful and Mabel is such a great organizer and help when it comes to making our home cozy. Yes, we've done a fair amount of socializing as well. I love to barbecue and have been enjoying cooking some great meals along with Mabel.
Recently, the Miami office offered me another contract for January 19th on the Allure again. Now I'm putting my nose to the proverbial grindstone searching for skilled musicians to back me up. Wish I could just wave my hand and have three musicians appear at my doorstep. I'm now focusing more on finding people who have no emotional baggage to make my job more difficult. I pride myself on giving my musicians decent pay and the best musical experience that anyone would enjoy doing nightly in JAZZ ON 4. I treat them all with respect and professionalism but it's not always reciprocated and quite frankly it's wearing on me. Finding three people who can get along, show up on time and give me 4 to 5 hours a day devoted to making music along with me. Dedication is important. I have an excellent reputation in the cruise industry since 1999.
Of course one gets fearful when things go wrong. It's normal to feel insecure when the future is uncertain. My dear friend Jim J. Bullock who is currently on the Oasis starring in "HAIRSPRAY" sent me some timely advice back in June. You may remember Jim from his stint on the hit sitcom "TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT",ALF,a regular on HOLLYWOOD SQUARES and as Prince Valium in Mel Brooks "SPACE BALLS." ETC.
"FEAR OF FAILURE AND FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN ARE ALWAYS DEFEATED BY FAITH. HAVING FAITH IN YOURSELF, IN THE THE PROCESS OF CHANGE, AND IN THE NEW DIRECTION THAT CHANGE SETS WILL REVEAL YOUR OWN INNER CORE OF STEEL.
"How simple is it to see that all the worry in the world can not change the future. How simple is it to see that we can only be happy now, and there will never be a time when it's not now."
Thanks so much Jim J. Wise words for all of us to live by. Most fears are projected onto us by well intended advice from friends or family that can make us feel even more insecure. It can prevent us from moving on to achieve something better in life and simply believing in oneself. It's all about having acceptable standards to live and work by. People love their safe zones and will eat shit before they will simply face their fear straight on and make vital changes in their lives. In reality, it's their OWN fears that are projected onto us that makes it more challenging for us to deal with.
I will endure! So, those of you who have read this blog can do me a huge favor by remembering me in your thoughts and prayers. That would be special. I can't believe that God gave me this gift only not to use it, whether it be on ships or on land. I remain hopeful and I have faith. Those are two excellent qualities to have in life and as they say, "IT AIN'T OVER UNTIL THE FAT LADY SINGS." I'll update you all again in one of my next blogs to let you know how things are progressing. Enjoy the rest of your summer and thanks for taking time to catch up on my personal life.
March 30, 2013
This recent comment below was posted on Cruise Critic. For those unaware, Cruise Critic is a site where passengers write in comments about their recent cruise experience and this comment was given to me by the Allure Musical Director. All the cruise ship companies monitor the site and takes their comments seriously. It's a valuable tool for them to improve the cruise experience. The comment was passed on to him from the Production Manager on the Allure and the comment was sent to the Cruise Director, Hotel Director and Rob Waterfield in the Miami office. The quote is as written:
"Our favorite (FAVORITE needs to be in caps) had to be spending time in the jazz on 4 lounge listening to the remarkable talents of the Bruce Gordon Quartet. Bruce has a voice that is smooth and transports you back to the days when music WAS music. Very talented guy with a great personality and a good sense of humor. The musicians were all outstanding as well. It was great to spend night after night listening to such talented guys and I was amazed the rooms weren't packed out...given the average age of the Allure cruiser (51). If you missed this group shame on you. I travel alot and believe me you usually pay big $ to hear this kind of quality."
That comment truly made my day. We all make great sacrifices to follow our dreams. It's reassuring when someone has gone out of their way to post something positive and very special, that renews our dedication in what we do. We all work our collective butts off each cruise to make it an exceptional musical experience. I've had other amazing comments posted on Cruise Critic since my return to Royal Caribbean and working in a great lounge like Jazz On 4, on their finest ships. It's gratifying to know that your efforts are appreciated and wanted to share this with you.
January 10, 2013
Thought I would share this video with those who wonder what these big mega ships offer and what they have on board for you eager cruisers to enjoy. Below is a link I posted almost two years ago, that shows you the Allure. I know you will be impressed. It's a good video and it takes 16 minutes to view. Many friends who travel on smaller populated ships have been pleasantly surprised that even though these ships hold 6000 passengers and 2200 crew, it doesn't feel overwhelmingly crowded. Getting on and off these ships is much better than most ships, especially on debarkation day. You should consider checking this experience out. These are Royal Caribbean's MOST POPULAR ships. They have plans to build a third ship in the future. That's how popular it is! I'll be on the Allure from Jan.20th until May 19th. Copy and paste the link below in your browser. I'll write again from the ship at some point, after I get settled in.
A comprehensive tour of Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas
December 30, 2012
"The more you recognize and express gratitude
for the things you have,
the more things you will have
to express gratitude for.Ē
(Zig Ziglar 1926-2012)
"If you go looking for a friend, you're going to find they're very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you'll find them everywhere."
Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.
If you can dream it, then you can achieve it.
You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.
Just a few quotes above I wanted to share with you, that hopefully stimulate some thought on the year ahead. In my last blog update (Dec. 13th) I said New Year is a time to get your options clear and to make a significant decision to do what it is that makes you really happy. The real issue here is that you must take each day as a new opportunity to keep moving towards what you want. Dare yourself!
I think what I wrote in that blog entry is worth mentioning one more time in this blog. Wishing everyone a wonderful 2013 and hope we run into each other soon.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
December 13, 2012
It's so nice to be home in Vancouver for the holidays! As much as I love and enjoy performing, I still yearn to be home. This was our second contract on the Oasis in 2012. Great ship! I will miss the many friends I made there and the good times, as we prepare to go back to the Allure on January 20th of 2013 until May 20th. There will be some changes in players for the Allure contract. Jim Ewanchook, my pianist, is leaving to pursue other interests and so is bass player Graham Scott. Matthew Dawson is returning to play piano for me, after a four year absence from working on cruise ships. Many of you will remember Matt when he worked as my pianist on Princess ships for three years. I welcome Matt back and look forward to re-uniting along with Mackenzie Leighton who will be the newest member of the quartet. Mack is an awesome acoustic bass player and I look forward to his musical contributions to the team. Of course Eugene Dion is returning for his 4th contract with me as my drummer.
I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone all the very best for the holiday season and a wonderful New Year. The year went by all too fast for me but there were some awesome moments to remember, especially the people I met along the way. New Year is a time to get your options clear and to make a significant decision to do what it is that makes you really happy. The real issue here is that you must take each day as a new opportunity to keep moving towards what you want. Dare yourself! Happy Holidays!!
October 9, 2012
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR BRUCE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME.......... AND MANY MORE!!!!
September 27, 2012
I received this and wanted to share it with you on Yom Kippur......
Tonight we Jews will begin our 5773th year on this earth!
Who would have believed this possible? If anyone had told Abraham that his
people would be around this long he probably would have been astounded.
Imagine, we did this without beheading anyone on TV,
Without a single suicide bomber,
Without kidnapping and murdering school children,
Without slaughtering Olympic athletes,
And without flying airplanes into skyscrapers.
We lasted this long despite 400 years as slaves in Egypt, 40 years of > wandering in the desert, the mighty Roman army who nailed us to ten thousand crosses;
Despite the best efforts of fervent Crusaders,
The Spanish Inquisition, Hitler's Third Reich, Stalin's gulags,
Arab wars of annihilation and 100 years of hateful terrorism,
Hundreds of hate-filled UN resolutions.
How did we Jews do it? We survived by concentrating our efforts on education, faith, hard work, helping one another and a passionate dedication to life no matter what evil befell us.
We hung in there in hope the rest of the world would one day overcome its hatreds, jealousies, violence, and join us in a life of cooperation and mutual respect.
We're not there yet, but we're still hopeful.
And when so many of us pray in our places of worship,
This is what we'll pray for with all the strength in our hearts.
Best wishes for a New Year filled with health, happiness, laughter, success,
Joy, and kindness and may this coming year bring peace and security to Israel,
To the Jewish communities in the Diaspora and to our planet.
September 18, 2012
Itís been a while since I last updated my blog. All is well aboard the Oasis! I mentioned in previous blogs, that we have been doing a musical tribute to Frank Sinatra that began last year on the Allure. Itís still a very popular show that lasts for and hour, to the delight of the guests who frequent the lounge, plus it attracts other guests to the lounge that have not already been by. Itís been so popular, that I added another tribute show during the 7 day cruise, to celebrate the music of Nat King Cole. Iím so glad I did too. Iíve always enjoyed performing his tunes and heís always been a favorite of mine. I thought that the guests would enjoy hearing a full hour of his popular tunes as well and itís just as popular as my Sinatra show. Not only do I sing their songs but I added a biography as well. We are all familiar with the songs they sing but now when people come to the lounge they can hear about how they started and other tid bits of information that people may not know on each artist. Not only does the listener enjoy the music but they also get educated on the start of both careers and a history of some of the tunes that they made popular. Iíve had great comments from the people that come to both shows and they appreciate hearing information on how they started out, their struggles and successes as well.
Not only do I appreciate the wonderful comments that people have made on the ship but I am humbled by the great comments posted on Cruise Critics as well. Thanks so much for going out of your way to publicize the quartet for other cruisers to read and make Jazz On 4 a destination spot when potential cruisers come on the ships Iím performing on. I work hard to make Jazz On 4 a popular destination for cruisers. I turn my lounge into my living room that guests can come to and relax to some great music. Itís a cozy lounge too, especially after a day of sightseeing in the ports of call.
I talked to the Hotel Director on the Oasis earlier this evening and at some point over the next year, I want to put together a special cruise for all my followers that have followed me from ship to ship, over the years. Now that would be great fun to have everyone on a cruise, all together, to meet one another. That would be very special to me and I know that it would be such a fun cruise having everyone together on one special cruise. Of course we would make it a great deal that would be hard to pass up. Perhaps a fun cocktail party for everyone to meet, with some tasty food and a dinner in the main dining room all together, like one big happy family. The Hotel director would be very interested in doing what he can to make this happen and hopefully get most of you to attend. Donít worry, we would give you plenty of notice, so that you can plan for it, with all the details and room expenses. Once the New Year is over, I will put this into motion. Iím finishing this contract on December 1 and then Iím booked on the Allure from January 20 to May 20, 2013. It may not happen until sometimes in 2014, so people would have advance notice to make plans around that special cruise. I would also need to coordinate this with the Miami office of RCCL so we can make this one of your best cruise experiences ever. How does that all sound? The more fans of my quartet that attend this, the better the deal will be. Please keep this news in the forefront of your minds for the future and please feel free to write me and let me know if you are interested in doing a cruise like this. Weíll call it the Bruce Cruise, LOL or something similar. I ran this by my cruise pals Bert & Mary Ann, from Dallas Texas and they thought is was a great idea. Something for you to seriously think about down the road. Let me know what you think.
Thatís it from me for now. Iíll be making some important announcements about the Bruce Gordon Quartet, before I leave the Oasis on December 1.
July 11, 2012
Just a quick note to let everyone know that we are preparing to return to the Oasis of the Seas on July 21 to December 1.
After 3 months off, my band members and myself are looking forward to performing back in Jazz On 4. It's currently summer here in Vancouver after a dismal June. Vancouver is especially beautiful at this time of year. We have many parks here and wonderful places to visit both in and out of the city. Performance wise, I did a couple of gigs at the retirement home my mom currently resides in. She even got up and belted out a song with me, to everyone's amazement. What's that saying, "The apple doesn't drop far from the tree."
My batteries are recharged and ready for the next contract. The Oasis is a very popular ship. I'll be happy to see some of my friends that are also working and performing on the ship. Last month the Oasis production of Hairspray was featured in a live feed to New York on the Tony Awards. It was a real kick seeing everyone perform on t.v in the cast. They did some excerpts from the show and millions of people saw it. The Hairspray cast was so excited about the event. I would have been too, if I had a chance to show off my talent on a national show like the Tony's.
Along with my popular Frank Sinatra tribute show, I will be debuting a tribute show of the popular songs of Nat King Cole. I already do many of his tunes and thought it was time to dedicate some time to Mr. Cole's music. Years ago I met the niece of Ray Evans who wrote Mona Lisa, along with his writing partner Jay Livingston, on a cruise I was performing on. They also wrote the popular T.V. themes from Bonanza, My Three Sons and Mr.Ed, to name a few. Ray Evan's niece is the director of his estate and foundation. She put me on cloud nine the night she came over to introduce herself and told me that she preferred my version on Mona Lisa than Nat King Cole's. How sweet!
The highlight of my holiday was being with my new wife of almost nine months, Mabel. It's my first marriage and I waited a long time to meet someone that fills my life with such love and joy. She is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. A lawyer by profession. She's wonderful and she makes me very happy. Mabel is fully supportive of my entertainment career and knows that I'm away for long periods of time. She's very independent and is happy to see me being so fulfilled, even if it means being away from each other, for months at a time. She'll be waiting for me when I return in December. I have no doubt that Mabel will make a fine addition to the multiculturalism of Canada and find her own calling in time, doing something equally as challenging and rewarding, as she did in Argentina. I look forward to her sharing her life experiences, culture, humor and personality with my family and friends. She's already a huge hit with everyone she's met here. I'm a lucky guy!
I'll update my blog along the way. Enjoy the rest of the summer!
May 17, 2012
The Healthy Wonders of Water
1. Stay Slimmer With Water
Trying to lose weight? Water revs up metabolism and helps you feel full.
Replace calorie-laden beverages with water, and drink a glass before meals to help you feel fuller.
Drinking more water also helps amp up metabolism - especially if your glass is icy cold. Your body must work to warm the water up, burning a few extra calories in the process.
2. Water Boosts Your Energy
If you're feeling drained and depleted, get a pick-me-up with water. Dehydration makes you feel fatigued.
Water helps the blood transport oxygen and other essential nutrients to your cells.
If you're getting enough water, your heart also doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood throughout your body.
3. Lower Stress With Water
Seventy to 80% of your brain tissue is water. If you're dehydrated, your body and your mind will be stressed.
If you're feeling thirsty, you're already a little dehydrated.
To keep stress levels down, keep a glass of water at your desk or tote a sports bottle and sip regularly.
4. Build Muscle Tone With Water
Drinking water helps prevent muscle cramping and lubricates joints in the body.
When you're well hydrated, you can exercise longer and stronger.
5. Nourish Your Skin
Fine lines and wrinkles are deeper when you're dehydrated. Water is nature's own beauty cream.
Drinking water hydrates skin cells and plumps them up, making your face look younger.
It also flushes out impurities and improves circulation and blood flow, leaving your face clean, clear, and glowing.
6. Stay Regular With Water
Along with fiber, water is essential to good digestion.
Water helps dissolve waste particles and passes them smoothly through your digestive tract.
If you're dehydrated, your body absorbs all the water, leaving your colon dry and making it more difficult to pass waste.
7. Water Reduces Kidney Stones
The rate of painful kidney stones is rising because people -- including children -- aren't drinking enough water.
Water dilutes the salts and minerals in your urine that form the solid crystals known as kidney stones.
Kidney stones can't form in diluted urine, so reduce your risk with plenty of water!
8. Are You Drinking Enough Water?
Generally, nutritionists recommend we follow the "8x8 rule."
Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
You may need more water if you exercise or sweat heavily. Itís important to stay well hydrated on a diet. People often mistake hunger for thirst. So next time you get a pang, drink a glass of water first to make sure youíre really hungry.
May 4, 2012
Just a quick blog today. I recently posted some new recipes that I wanted to share with you since I've been home. I know there are some inventive cooks out there and hope that you'll take the time to try some of them, over the coming months. There are some tips that I recently added. How to make "Perfect Pasta." Plus, how to make great whipping cream. One on the different varieties of mushrooms, which I thought you might enjoy. Try the Wild Rice Mushroom Soup. It's Delish!
Other recent recipes are Rum Butter Bananas and Ice cream, Chocolate Caramel Cookies and Kamish Broit. Yes, some have calories galore but you've got to treat yourself from time to time. Let me know if you have tried any of the recipes I have posted. If you have something that is to die for and you wish to share it, then send it to me and I will post it.
MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU!
March 30, 2012
We are officially in the home stretch of our contract on the Oasis of the Seas. April 7th is the day the boys and I head home, for a well deserved vacation. We joined the Oasis on November 12th. Wow! Has that much time gone by? We arrived just in time to help launch the holiday season. Many families from Brazil sailed the Oasis throughout the festive season. In the hundreds most cruises. I have alot of new fans in Brazil. They were very enthusiastic about how much they enjoyed their musical experience in Jazz on 4. Iíd love to perform there some day. Thank you all for making me feel special.
Weíre coming back to the Oasis on July 21 to December 1st. Iíll post that in my schedule part of my web site while Iím on vacation. The Oasis has the reputation for being the highest rated ship in the fleet by the many guests who have sailed on her. It has been an awesome experience being part of such a great team and we look forward to coming back in July.
As we wrap this contract up, I want to thank everyone who posted all the wonderful comments on Cruise Critics. I hope that we will have another opportunity to entertain you again, in the not too distant future. I also want to thank my dear friend Lil who faithfully drove in from Boynton Beach most every Saturday to make my Ft. Lauderdale day, great fun. Going out to some special places for lunch, some shopping and a home cooked meal always energized me. Speaking of special people, Judy, from Del Rey also shared in the fun, many times during our all too short days in Ft. Lauderdale. Judy and Lil would drive in together and when Lil wasnít available, Judy would drive in to make our day in port great fun as well, taking us out to some cool places to eat and explore. Judy also invited us back to her home for a wonderful home cooked meal. Judy is quite gifted in the culinary arts, as well as a gifted nature photographer. Thank you both as usual, for making me feel like family and taking great care of me. Iím looking forward to more good times when we are back in July. Love you both dearly!
Jim J Bullock is starring in Hairspray in the Opal Theater and does a great cabaret show once a week in the Viking Crown lounge as well. This is the first time that Royal Caribbean has used a celebrity to star in Hairspray and itís a huge success. You might remember Jim J as Monroe in the t.v. series, Too Close For Comfort with Ted Knight, and the Ted Knight Show, Alf and three years on Hollywood Squares and the talk show circuit. He was also in Mel Brooks Spaceballs and the list goes on. Itís been so much fun hanging out with him and Vince Kracht from the cast of Hairspray. Thanks for all the good times guys and all the laughs, both on and off the ship. Looking forward to drinking martinis with you guys again in July. Thanks for making this contract such great fun and being such good friends. Never a dull moment with Jim J.
After such a long absence performing on Royal Caribbean ships, it feels so good to be back where my cruise ship career all began, back in 1999. As my fellow entertainers and musicians say, Jazz on 4 is a perfect venue to showcase my talent. My tribute show of selected popular tunes of both Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett continues to delight the crowd. Always, to a packed house for one show each week. Iím also seriously thinking of doing a tribute to Nat King Cole in the future. I already do a selection of some of his hits and itís also a crowd pleaser. In the meantime, Iím soon heading back to Vancouver, B.C. Just in time for spring. Sweet!
March 23, 2012
Comedy Legend Marty Allen turns 90 today
Also see what I wrote Marty in my March 23, 2010 blog
Dear Marty & Karon
Wonderful chatting with you a couple of weeks ago Marty, as always. You've reached an important milestone in your life today. You are 90 years young. WOW! Think of all the wonderful things you've accomplished in your life and what joy you have brought to millions of people over the years you've been performing. Wow! What a great privilege it has been knowing you these past 10 years. It seems like yesterday that you and Karon Kate were on the Legend of the Seas in New Zealand. We all bonded then. How very honored I am to be friends with you both. Every time we meet up it's always great fun. I have so many good memories of us all being together on the ships over the years and the always funny phone calls you made to me. I remember years ago when Princess cancelled a contract on me two days before I was to join the ship. I wrote you and Karon. I said if I ever needed a laugh, now was the time. You woke me up at 9:30am the next morning and made me laugh until I almost cried, for over 20 minutes. Fifteen minutes later you called again with another barrage of jokes for me. I'll never forget that.
You've reached an age that not many people have been privileged to get to. God has truly blessed you. Your mother is kvelling in heaven today to know that her son accomplished so much in his life and brought so much, to so many. Not only have you been blessed with longevity but those of us that know you have been blessed with your gift of friendship.
Karon is a strong force in your life. She's talented and beautiful too. Lucky you! She definitely looks better in a dress than you do, LOL. I'm sure you are inundated today by so many of your friends to wish you well, as I do. I hope that you and Karon are with those special people celebrating. I'm toasting to you right now. May you continue to have many years ahead doing what you love and I hope I'm there amongst your friends to help celebrate 100 with you. L' Chaim!
December 20, 2011
Seasonís greetings everyone! Once again itís been quite awhile since Iíve updated my blog. It seems that time has dashed by again this year for me. Is it me, or does everyone feel the same way I do, when it comes to the concept of time? Some days, time just stands still and you pray for the day, week, month or year to end or not to end, LOL. When you need time to be your best friend, it vanishes like an illusion by Houdini. Now you see it, now you donít. I never really took notice of time or bothered with it in my youth, as much as I have been consumed by it as an adult. Iím not saying that I was callow when it came to the concept of time, it just was something I would think of in school, when it came to a deadline on turning in an essay or a holiday you wish would never end or being with someone special. How many times have you said to someone that there is not enough time in the day to accomplish everything you wish to do in an entire day? I guess we are all guilty of neglecting time periodically.
I was watching the Turner Classic Movie channel recently. They showed a tribute to those in the entertainment industry, that have passed away in 2011. My God, there were some very talented men and woman listed that we will never see the likes of again. How sad! However, theyíve been preserved on film for the rest of my life to see and for future generations that can view their contributions to the entertainment industry. They do similar tributes on the Golden Globe, Academy awards and the Emmyís shows every year. It seems we take time very seriously in the entertainment industry. We salute it and cherish it like it was dear friend or close relative. How many times have you said, youíll never see anyone like that again in our lifetime? Sometimes itís very true that these individuals are unique in their own way that can not be duplicated and you know, I think thatís good. It makes us appreciate what gifts they gave us and their unique individuality. It makes us think of our own mortality and how much time we have to do what we want to accomplish. If it were not for time, then we would become complacent or neglectful. Oh thereís plenty of time to do that. Iíll get around to it. We are all guilty of that from time to time.
When I think of my CD ďStraight From the HeartĒ since I recorded it in April of 2005 and listen to it now, I think, Gee, I could have done so much better. The voice is even more seasoned now then it was back then. I do that tune so much better now, that Iíve let it evolve. What was I thinking? LOL. Like anything, we know we can improve upon it after time has passed. That was the head space I was in, back in 2005 when I recorded that album and thatís probably a good thing. Iíve often said, Gee, I wish that was captured on a recording, as this was the best rendition of that song Iíve ever done. True perhaps but I like to think now that as time moves on, that perhaps Iíll out do myself again and thatís partially what time is all about. Itís about capturing special moments at that moment in time.
I wasnít planning on this being such a long blog or getting into the the philosophical aspects of time, as itís now approaching 4am here on the Oasis of the Seas. Time is also about growth and maturity as well. Now that itís almost 4am Iíve just now figured out that itís time for bed. LOL! Time to rest and think about this again another day. I hope that I have provoked some thought as we approach the New Year. Think about those who did not have nearly enough time to do what they planned or for us to enjoy their work as time ran out.
I guess the time is good here on the Oasis as itís hard to believe that weíve been on this ship since November 12th. I will sing in the Royal Promenade on Christmas eve for the guests as they stroll along the street for an hour set. That should be fun! Wishing you all the very best of what makes you happy, creative and a better person. Focus on whatís good for you, your family and beloved friends. Take time to smell the roses and to watch them bloom. Do something special for someone! Thereís all the time in the world to do that. Oh and take time to listen to your favorite music before the year is up. It will make you feel good and music has great healing properties. Wishing you all the very best for the holiday season. Enjoy!
August 9, 2011
I know,I know. I'm long overdue with a blog update. I must tell you that internet access while I'm on a ship is a bit of a challenge at times and you'll please forgive me for such a late posting. I couldn't be happier here on the Allure of the Seas. What a truly magnificent ship this is and what a great lounge we have to work in. I just love Jazz on 4. It's so classy and it's right in Entertainment Place on deck 4, where the Amber Theater,Blaze and Studio B are. We are next door to the Comedy club which I drop into regularly to see some of the best comics in the business work the room. It's a wonderful experience being on this ship.
The Jazz on 4 lounge, as other entertainer friends of mine that have headlined on the Allure said, Jazz on 4 was designed for me in mind. It's lush and like entertaining in my living room, with wonderful leather high back chairs and couches. Non smoking. The Marquee outside the lounge says. "The Bruce Gordon Quartet, delivering that extra touch of cool and sophistication to your evening. Song stylist Bruce Gordon and his quartet perform timeless jazz standards from the Great American Songbook." Now that's classy!
Over the past months I put together a salute to singers Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett which packs the lounge that night (standing room only) as I sing some of my favorite tunes they made popular over the years. Most of the guests are from the east coast and they love the show I do. The people from the Latin speaking countries in South America and Mexico love this show as well. It lasts an hour and I must say that I'm addicted to their applause. Sometimes I will go over doing another 20 to 30 minutes of encores as the crowd loves this show I conceived. I know you would love it too and hope that you will consider doing a cruise with me down the road. The cruise director Ken Rush happily plugs the show when he does his morning show on t.v. and that's part of the success of the show. We also do a set in the Royal Promenade which is the heart of the ship once a week to the delight of the people walking by or relaxing at one of the many venues along the way there. It's great fun. We call it Jazz in the Street.
This contract has gone by quickly that it seems hard to believe that we've been here since May 8th. and here until October 2nd. Yes, dear friends we are already booked on another cruise after this contract completes. They have us on the Oasis of the Seas starting on November 12th to April 7th. I'm looking forward to working on that ship as well and creating some magical music again every night in their Jazz on 4. I hope that you all are having a wonderful Summer and thinking seriously about coming out to join me on one of these cruises. It will be just like old times. I'm delighted to be associated once again with Royal Caribbean Cruises after a long absence. It's good to be back home where my cruise ship entertaining career began, back in 1999. I look forward to more future contracts with Royal Caribbean and it is my hope and wish that I will see many of you who have followed me, come out to join me for some good times and great music. You'll be blown away by these ships and enjoy every minute. It's certainly something you should experience. I know you will love it. By the way, thanks to all those people who posted the most wonderful comments about me and my band, on Cruise Critics. You made me feel very special by sharing your thoughts with potential cruisers who are thinking about coming on the ship and dropping by to enjoy the music. Some passengers brought it to my attention last cruise about the Cruise Critics postings and said they were so glad they read what others had posted and took their advice to come spend part of their time on-board with us. Thanks so much for your generous comments.
April 16, 2011
After a great deal of time off from performing on ships,I'm pleased to officially announce, that the Bruce Gordon Quartet is going back to sea. We will be going to Royal Caribbean Cruises, on the new Allure of the Seas. It's an amazing ship. Below is a link that you can copy and paste into your browser. Check this new kid on the block out. You'll be most impressed. It's a 16 minute comprehensive tour of the ship and it's well done. For those of you that have never been on a cruise ship that holds over 6000 passengers and 2400 crew, you'll see all the cool amenities that you've never experienced before. It's well worth considering as it's very much dedicated to entertainment. Great food experiences with six separate restaurants to try other than the main dining room and buffet. To say it's spacious is certainly an understatement. Over the years, I've been privileged to work on some of the newest ships but never anything as grand a scale as the Allure. Should be great fun to perform on. The lounge we will be performing in is named Jazz On Four. This lounge is dedicated to the art Jazz and that makes me very happy. Jazz has always been my first love and finally I'm in a lounge that is devoted to that particular musical genre. Sorry kids, no cha cha's LOL.
Joining me on this new adventure is Jim Ewanchook from Vancouver B.C. on piano. Some you you might remember Jim as we worked together for 3 years and he's featured on my first CD called "First Take." We've wanted to reunite for quite some time and this was a perfect opportunity to work on this unique cruise experience together. It's been seven years since we last played but Jim has honed his musical skills well over the years. I'm happy to have him back on the bandstand with me. Graham Scott from Vancouver, will play bass and Eugene Dion from Ontario will play drums. It's a whole new team now and I'm excited about having great backup on the bandstand.
I also want to thank all those wonderful fans,friends and colleagues that were so kind with all their support during this lull. It was challenging times for me. I'm very happy to be going back home to where my cruise ship career evolved. I worked for Royal Caribbean back in 1999 until 2004 and made some wonderful friends there and left behind a nice musical legacy. A special thank you to Rob Waterfield in the the Miami office and Royal Caribbean's top cruise director Ken Rush for opening the door again to me and my band.
April 12, 2011
On the subject of Colonoscopies...
Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous..... A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:
1. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!'
2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'
3. 'Can you hear me NOW?'
4. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?'
5. 'You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married.'
6. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?'
7. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...'
8. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!'
9. 'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!'
10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.'
11. 'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?'
12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.'
And the best one of all:
13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?'
March 28, 2011
There comes a point in your life when you realize:
Who never did,
Who won't anymore...
And who always will.
So, don't worry about people from your past,
There's a reason why they didn't make it to your future.
February 17, 2011
A dear friend in Las Vegas sent me this link, which is listed below. It's an awesome site dedicated to the history of African Americans, which I think you will find fascinating and informative. It's very detailed in what it offers and I thought I would post it for you to check out. Black History Month is a remembrance of the events in the history of the African diaspora. Since 1976, it is celebrated annually in the United States of America and Canada in February and the United Kingdom in the month of October. In the U.S., Black History Month is also referred to as African-American History Month. The goal of Black History Week was to educate the American people about African-Americans' cultural backgrounds and reputable achievements. Black History Month actually started as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. When Carter G. Woodson started Negro History Week, his purpose was for the history of African Americans to become considered a more significant part of American history as a whole.
The purpose of Black History Month is to promote awareness of African American history to the general public. It is arguable that despite the opinions of several critics, Black History Month has several advantages, and to an extent, Woodsonís hopes were realized. During Black History Month, African American history is taught to thousands of students at the elementary, high school and university levels respectively. African American history is an extremely important part of American history, and it is almost impossible to find an American History textbook that does not include passages about black history. It can also be argued that Black History Month has now been diversified into the idea of promoting multiculturalism within communities, rather than promoting awareness of the history of African Americans. Whether or not this statement is true or not, Carter G. Woodson believed that black history was a missing segment in the minds of most American Historians of his day. Although racism may never be fully eliminated, Black History Month has certainly played a key role to establish African American history as historically significant part of American History.
Please copy and paste the link in your address bar: http://www.ls.cc.al.us/blackhistory/blackhistory.html
February 13, 2011
February 14th is Valentines Day. Kissing is one of the world's most universal gestures. I love how when you're born, the first thing is, you're kissed, you're welcomed into the world. It's this little gesture that follows you throughout life, through all the most important parts of your life. Kissing is almost like opening a Pandora's chest and just being overwhelmed by all the different ways a kiss is expressed, the meanings attached to it and the things it symbolizes. Researchers said kissing sets off a complex set of chemical reactions. The romantic side of kissing is only a small part of it. Kissing is such a nice way to say something to someone without using words. Kiss. Always. To say hello, good night, etc. Nothing will make your day brighter when getting a sweet kiss from the one you love. Kiss just to kiss. Just to show your special someone that you love them and that they are yours forever and always. Who doesn't enjoy kissing? Are you a good kisser? Tomorrow is Valentines Day. Go out and kiss to your hearts content. Oh, make sure you have fresh breath too.
February 7, 2011
Below is a writing that was sent to me by a long time friend here in Vancouver. It made me feel good after reading it and connecting with what Mr. Broad says. I'm sharing it with you as well because you've all been so supportive with your kind words of love, inspiration and advice. I think it's worth reading and will provoke lots of contemplation. I thought you might appreciate Mr.Broad's stimulating and unique point of view. It's a fearful world out there. We can all fall into the trap from time to time and be afraid too, if not on a sub-conscious level. We can all react adversely to fear, especially when you give your heart and soul to something you truly love, only to find that no one is listening at the moment. So, this writing below has given me renewed courage to pursue my dreams and to rely on my God given instincts and talent to come through this tempest and forge a new direction. I'd rather be a failure at something I truly love, than a success at something that gave me little nourishment for my soul, to be truthful. I know you feel that way too, probably. We all have to be patient and thoughtful when embarking down a new road. There is no doubt in my mind that one day I'll be guided to this enlightenment only to be grateful that I had the courage to dare myself to fail. Do what you do honestly; do it with love and you will succeed. Never compromise or diminish what people admire in you as a person. When you do that, it's not failure is it? Try to replace everything that has a bad or negative value to it, only to be replaced with healthy, positive sources. That is the task at hand. Like Don Quixote "To dream the impossible dream. To run where the brave dare not go."
What If? by Eli Broad
It seems I was born without the gene that makes a person afraid to try new things. I only know about this gene because Iím often asked, ďWerenít you afraid when you started (fill in the blank)?Ē The honest answer is always, ďNo, I wasnít.Ē This isnít because I am fearless, itís merely because it never occurred to me to be afraid. I simply asked myself, ďWhatís the worst that can happen?Ē
During my life, I have launched many initiatives, and I can tell you: Beginnings are best. They are moments of shining opportunity and exciting challenge. They are ventures into an unknown that you then get to shape. Thanks to the fact I was unconstrained by fear, I was able to create two Fortune 500 companies and am now, through our familyís two foundations, working to improve K-12 education, discover cures for some of mankindís worst afflictions, and make the arts more accessible to more people.
Of course, all beginnings do not end in success, and I have had my share of disappointments. But even these have been successes of sort. My initial hopes may not have been realized, but I was able to see how these concepts played out, learn from my mistakes, and then begin again. The answer to that question, ďWhatís the worst that can happen?Ē has always been, ďNot as bad as wondering Ďwhat if?íĒ Itís far better to pursue an idea, a dream, or a relationship that doesnít work out, than to spend your life adrift in an ocean of regret.
Indeed, assuming you possess that pesky gene that discourages beginnings, may I suggest you turn it on its head and use it to your advantage. The next time you find yourself not beginning something because youíre afraid, simply view that fear as a certain sign that you should immediately roll up your sleeves Ö and begin.
Eli Broad is an American philanthropist residing in Los Angeles. www.broadfoundation.org
January 16, 2011
Next month will be the first anniversary of the Winter Olympics, held in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia in February of 2010. It seems like a few months had passed, since I saw the Olympic torch pass, just two blocks from my home. My thoughts on the Olympics are shared with you in my blog entry (March 10, 2010), if you care to read it again. Today a friend sent me a link from NBC's Tom Brokaw, profiling the relationship between Canada and the United States. This was produced by NBC, as a tribute to the long time alliance between the U.S. and Canada and it is my pleasure to share it with you. I think you'll enjoy it. It conjured up some great memories for me as I was home during the games. Just copy & paste the link below and enjoy. It's just over 6 minutes in length and it's titled The Longest Border.
January 3, 2011
HAPPY NEW YEAR
I WISH YOU HEALTH
SO YOU MAY ENJOY EACH DAY IN COMFORT.
I WISH YOU THE LOVE OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY
AND PEACE WITHIN YOUR HEART.
I WISH YOU THE BEAUTY OF NATURE
THAT YOU MAY ENJOY THE WORK OF GOD
I WISH YOU THE WISDOM TO CHOOSE PRIORITIES
FOR THOSE THINGS THAT TRULY MATTER IN LIFE.
I WISH YOU GENEROSITY SO YOU MAY SHARE
ALL GOOD THINGS THAT COME TO YOU.
I WISH YOU HAPPINESS AND JOY
AND BLESSINGS FOR THE NEW YEAR.
I WISH YOU THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
THAT YOU SO WELL DESERVE.
December 23, 2010
I just want to take this opportunity to wish everyone the very best for the holiday season. Yes, it will be a blue Christmas without you, as the Elvis song goes. Erma Bombeck once wrote "There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child." Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is the smile on everyone's face.
Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God. Christmas, in my opinion, is for everyone, not just for Christians. I think it contains all the good ingredients that lie within our inner beings. It's too bad that it only lasts for a day or two, with most people, as this spirit of love and helping each other should be a part of our every day routine. Christmas is the time to renew that with our families but it should never end. Keep that special spirit alive in your hearts every day and you'll see what magic can appear. Let it flow through you to all those you encounter. Every time we love, every time we give it's Christmas.
Below is a link that was sent to me by a friend, that I wanted to share with you. It's clever, to say the least and it's festive but it clearly demonstrates that some musicians have way too much time on their hands. It will, at least warm your heart. Just copy & paste the link below.
December 15, 2010
I'VE ADDED SOME NICE RECIPES FOR YOU TO TRY FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON. SOMETHING NEW AND DIFFERENT. CHECK THEM OUT IN MY RECIPE SECTION AND ENJOY!!
One of the pleasures of preparing a great meal, is sharing it with friends and family. If you can't share the food, the next best thing is sharing information about it. I have always enjoyed cooking as a hobby. It is not only a very relaxing activity, but you enjoy the fringe benefit of getting to eat what you create. In fact, one of my primary motivations for learning to cook was to be able to taste food that in some cases is impossible to find in a restaurant. I prefer foods with a lot of flavor, favoring ethnic cooking of all types. Please remember to donate some groceries items to you local food bank before the holidays begin.
November 25, 2010
Thanks for the wonderful chat this morning. Like you and everyone his life touched, I feel a sad loss. I had a gut feeling when I got your phone message last night that something was not right. Thank you for taking time out to tell me the sad news this morning. I know how difficult it was for you to relay the news over and over to others who knew and loved him. Harold was a fine man. He was a mensch. In Yiddish, it means a human being that touches life in a special way; a person of integrity and honor. Harold was a generous individual that one could only admire and emulate. He was someone of noble character. A man that had a sense of what is right. He personified the word "ethical." Harold lived his life with such dignity, a person one would hope for in a dear friend or trusted colleague who made time for his friends and humanity. That was the Harold I knew. I was blessed for having known him and being counted amongst his countless friends and admirers.
You folks that worked with him every day, know exactly the kind of man he truly was. The world is far worse off now with his untimely passing. I loved him dearly. When he and Jan spent time with me, I was graced by his wonderful zest for life and his love for music and dance. When he and Jan were on the dance floor all eyes turned in their direction and everyone felt the love he had for his lovely Jan through their dance moves. It was something I will never forget. Harold loved to dance with Jan. They looked like two teens in love. That feeling permeated the air around them and you could see everyone smiling and admiring them. People would always comment with wonderful words of praise to them. They had such style on the dance floor and his eyes lit up. They looked so sexy and elegant together. He once shared with me that his life truly began when Jan entered his life. I just loved when Jan would address him as "Katzy." It was adorable. He once commented to me how much he loved the picture I took of them at a special lunch we had together when I was in L.A. and sent him. It captured their love for each other and is posted on my website.
If someone you care about has lost someone, they will hear from everyone, tons of intended sympathetic commentary like, ďtheyíre in a better place,Ē or ďtheyíre with God now.Ē These comments donít help someone dealing with the overwhelming stress of their grief. The only thing you can really say to them that would show your empathy is just, ďit sucks.Ē Death is always a surprise, even when it is expected, and it is a painful reminder that we donít have forever to show those we love how much we really care about them. He and I last communicated in October. You mentioned that he had a good day on Monday and was in a special mood after his holiday with Jan, in Branson. It made me feel satisfied that he died in the saddle, at his desk and was surrounded by his own special place that he worked so hard to build with integrity. He was not only dedicated to his career but made sure through his published writtings, that he shared with me, that Harold was clever, a deep thinker and a pundit. He was one of a kind! May God rest his beautiful soul. It would be my special privilege to run into him on the other side one day, only to know that I ended up in the right place because Harold Katz was there to greet me.
Cindy, you have my permission to share this email with his fellow work mates. They need to know what others, who his soul touched, felt about him outside the work place. To my deep regret, I won't be there this Sunday to share and help celebrate his unique life and the many good mitzvahs (blessings) he accomplished throughout his life and give thanks.
With my deepest sympathy
September 6, 2010
"Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do". That was written by H. Jackson Brown Jr. and it's very inspirational. I'm still in Vancouver and I will not be returning to Princess in the near future. I know that many of you are upset by this news but that's the current reality. It has nothing to do with what energy, talent and wide appeal that comes with my work. It's all about budget cuts now and hiring less expensive bands. The cruise ship industry has it's challenges as the U.S. economy is not doing well. I'm trying to find alternative work, which is going to be extremely challenging but I'm optimistic that the voice will be heard again at some point down the road. I just wish I had something more solid news to share with you. One door closes as another door opens and I just have to have faith that something good will come my way in time. Many of my friends in the entertainment business are also feeling the economic crunch as well. That's the nature of this business and one has to overcome the obstacles and hurdles in order to survive the storm. I leave you with this wise quote from Harriet Du Autermont. "No vision and you perish. No ideal, and your lost. Your heart must ever cherish some faith at any cost. Some hope, some dream to cling to, some rainbow in the sky, some melody to sing to, some service that is high." There's a lot of troubling issues that affect each of us in some way. The only way to overcome this is to persevere and individually make the difference by being the best you can be. Keep the Love in your heart. I make the difference through my music. Music is healing and music makes you young. Please keep my music in your hearts and say a kind prayer on my behalf that things change soon. Life is not how you survive the storm, but how you dance in the rain. Many talented people have never had the chance I have been privileged to experience in my show biz life. I'm grateful for all the wonderful experiences I have had, the hundreds of places I have traveled to, the many cultures of people I've encountered, the infinite number of nautical miles I've sailed and the thousands of people who have touched my life, and me theirs. You've made it a most worthwhile experience. We have all made numerous sacrifices to get where we are. How will Princess ever survive without me? LOL. One thing is for sure; I will miss many of you who have gone out of their way to make me feel like a star and have followed me from ship to ship. You made me feel special not only as a performer but also as a person. Now that's worth all the years I've put in, even if I never get the chance to showcase my talent again. God bless you all!!
June 13, 2010
I've just updated my recipe section with some new palatable pleasures for you to enjoy. Please feel free to try them out and if you have a favorite recipe that your family and friends rave about then pass them on to me and I will post them for everyone's pleasure. Bon appetite!
May 5, 2010
MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU :)
March 23, 2010
HAPPY 88TH BIRTHDAY TODAY TO LEGENDARY COMEDIAN AND FRIEND MARTY ALLEN. I SPOKE WITH MARTY AND KARON KATE TODAY AT THEIR HOME IN LAS VEGAS. HE WAS IN GREAT SPIRITS AND IS AN INSPIRATION TO ALL OF US, THAT LIKE A FINE WINE, HAS AGED WELL. MARTY HAS WORKED WITH THE WHO'S WHO IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY, INCLUDING BEING THE OPENING ACT ON THE HISTORIC BROADCAST OF THE BEATLES ON THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW BACK IN 1964. ALLEN & ROSSI MADE OVER 40 APPEARANCES ON ED'S SHOW AND I SAW EM ALL. MARTY HAS BEEN TO THAT PLACE IN SHOW BUSINESS THAT MOST OF US CAN ONLY DREAM OF. I GREW UP WATCHING HIM MAKE MANY APPEARANCES ON ALL THE PREMIERE T.V. SHOWS AND HE WAS ONE OF MY FAVORITES AND STILL IS. MARTY IS ONE OF THE NICEST, COOLEST GUYS YOU COULD EVER MEET. BOTH KARON KATE AND MARTY ARE STILL PERFORMING A BUSY SCHEDULE ON THE CRUISE CIRCUIT. THAT'S PRETTY IMPRESSIVE FOR HIS AGE. IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE ON A SHIP HE AND KARON ARE ON, THEN YOU MUST SEE HIM IN HIS ELEMENT. THEY ALWAYS LEAVE EVERYONE FEELING GOOD. An old man walks into a brothel. Says to the Madam, "I want a woman."
Madam looks shocked: "Mister, how old are you?"
"One hundred and two."
"I think you've had it."
"Really? Well, who do I pay?"
WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST MY FRIEND, FOR THIS SPECIAL DAY AND FOR YEARS TO COME. YOU MAKE ME FEEL VERY SPECIAL AND I JUST LOVE HEARING ALL THE STORIES ABOUT THE GOOD OLD DAYS AND SPENDING SOME GREAT TIMES WITH YOU. HERE'S TO 100! I'LL BE THERE TO SING FOR YOU. "HEY MARTY, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TOILET AND A CEMETERY?" NOTHING! WHEN YOU GOTTA GO, YOU GOTTA GO."
L'CHAIM (TO LIFE)
March 1, 2010
"These were extraordinary, excellent and very friendly games" said Jacques Rogge the International Olympic President. Those words inspired the nation and they make me feel very proud for all Canadians across the country who celebrate the success of the 2010 Winter Olympics, with 14 Gold Medals here in Vancouver. More gold than any other country. It's sad to see it all come to an end, say many of my friends and family who have been here to witness this extravaganza with great pride and humbleness. Wouldn't it be nice to have all the nations of the world embrace each other in the name of sportsmanship and competitiveness, only to bring all of us together for even more important issues that are common to all countries and peoples around the world. For those of us who were here to witness this unique event, it will forever be etched in our memories for all time. It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes life worth living. Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
Today, I saw the olympic Hockey game with the U.S.A. and Canada. Canada won! It was played with great enthusiasm and was exhilarating to watch on t.v. What a game it was! We have been acknowledged by the World and we made new friends along the way. 60,000 cheering spectators in B.C. Place Stadium came to watch the closing ceremonies while thousands more were jamming the streets outside to celebrate the success of the games and Canada's winning the Gold Medal in Hockey against the U.S. team. Not to mention the millions of international T.V. viewers. They are expecting 40,000 people to depart Vancouver tomorrow at the Vancouver International Airport. So, we made it through the storm of over 250,000 people who descended upon Vancouver. This was a triumph in organization and execution. Olympic fever was contagious all across the country. The Canadian networks showed similar packed street parties in Toronto tonight, which gave all Canadians a special identity that we have not experienced before, throughout the country. Not at least in my life time have I ever seen anything this big pulled off with such stunning results. Congratulations to all my friends who reside in countries around the world, who had athletes participate and for making these past 17 days a remarkable experience for my fellow Canadians and Vancouverites. "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." said John F. Kennedy.
Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully.
February 22, 2010
It's been quite a while since I've updated my blog. Where has the time gone? This is my first blog for 2010. I apologize for being so late. I Hope everyone got through the holiday season nicely. It's Olympic time here in Vancouver. It's just crazy here with visitors and everyone has Olympic fever. The downtown is packed with people every day and over the past weekend there were an estimated 150,000 people out and about in the downtown core partying and even the organizers can not believe how popular this event is. The opening ceremonies were fantastic on Feb.12th. A 3 hour presentation that was overwhelming. Up to that point we have had nothing but rain and mild temperatures which caused some havoc on Cypress mountain as they had to bring snow in by truck. It was just too mild to snow and it really got the attention of the international press which now is posting positive comments on the happenings here. Can you just imagine 32 trucks dumping snow. They say it was the mildest January on record here, unlike many places in the U.S. Go figure that we would have this kind of mild weather for the Olympics. They got all the additional snow in place for the downhill races which included snow boarding and the athletes loved the conditions so they said. I especially loved the snowboarding. I'm sure most of you have caught some of the events on T.V. I've been watching as much as I can on T.V. I've never seen Vancouver so packed with people. Both locals and visitors. It's been beautiful weather for over a week now. Sunny clear skies which really has brought all the people out. I even saw the Olympic flame pass by just 2 blocks from where I live the day of the opening ceremonies. That was kind of cool to see. The weather continues to be lovely here and I took some great pics of the downtown which I will post in my gallery at some point for you to see. I do however have a great video of Vancouver that is posted in my video section of my website called "Vancouver City". It's also in High Definition. It's a time lapsed video. I really think it shows off Vancouver so nicely, for those of you that have visited before will appreciate and for those of you who would like to visit Vancouver in the future. Everyone has Olympic fever and it seems that it's all quite successful. The international press were unfair in their comments in the beginning but that has all changed now. They are now saying that this is the most popular winter Olympics in history. Yes there were glitches and controversy plus the awful death of the Georgian luger on the first day but there have been over 300 broadcasters from all over the world reporting on the happpenings here and this has been the highest rated for worldwide viewers in history as well. Even Canadians are feeling nationalistic. There is such a pride right now in patriotism that is unprecedented. It's truly wonderful to experience. The 2010 Winter Olympics end on Feb 28th. Try and catch what you can on T.V. We have a reputation as a very friendly city with great places to eat and many sights to see. If you Google the Olympics and Vancouver there should be lots to see and read.
I've had many emails wondering when I'm going back to work again and no one is more grateful than I am to have such love and support from my fans. You are all dear to my heart. We are scheduled to join the Golden Princess on May 9th to September 26th. We will be doing 7 day cruises out of Seattle. I have been doing the Alaska run for many years but it's been over 5 years since I did it out of Seattle. That's such a nice city too. I have some great friends there that I will be able to see from time to time during that run. Please do not book anything on the Golden until we get on the ship in May. Things can change and I don't want anyone to have any grief if they book now and find out later that they may move us to another ship. That's happened before. So please be patient. Having a long break like this is not ideal but that's how it goes and I'm making the best of it. I've had visitors from the U.K. and from Helsinki, Finland recently. I've been resting and thinking about the future as well. I guess it's a very introspective time for me but we will be back to work soon enough. The time is blazing by for me. I can't believe we are almost into March. When I was a kid the time seemed to go by so slowly and as a middle aged adult it goes by way too quickly. I would love to be able to manipulate time. Now that would be an interesting talent to have.
Spring is just around the corner. Not sure when I'll update my next blog. I close this blog with these wise words. Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain. Bless you all.
December 7, 2009
We finish up on the Ruby Princess on Dec.13th and I'll be flying back to Vancouver on Dec.14th. Looking forward to being back home, even though it's winter at the moment. I've had my fill of sun and hot weather for the time being. It will be nice to see friends and my family once again over the festive season. I'm quite exhausted! Like the song goes, "Que Sera Sera" What will be, will be. I'll be home for quite some time now and will be performing locally in Vancouver. I'll post the dates when I get them. I haven't performed locally for a very long time as I usually like to rest between contracts. Currently, we are not scheduled to go back on a ship until May 2010 unless something unexpected happens to change that date. The time off will give me time to pursue other interests as well. With the current world economic situation there are many changes and challenges to be expected for most of us in the entertainment industry. The true test to ones character, is surviving those unexpected moments and enduring. I know you all wish me luck in my endeavors. In the meantime my album "Straight From The Heart" is still available and would surely make a nice addition to anyone's music library for the holiday season as a possible gift. Enjoy!
November 21, 2009
Well, once again it seems that time has just swept by without me having time to update my blogs. I've truly been busy and tired as well after performing nightly with only 3 nights off since Aug.8th until now. That's the day we joined the Ruby Princess in Rome. You already got an update in my previous blog before mentioning all the wonderful experiences exploring the Med. Our last overnight in Venice started on October 5th and we sailed on October 7th. Once again what a beautiful,romantic city. Joining me on this 18 day trip were cruise buddies Bob and Carol from California. Both Bob and I celebrated our birthdays on October 9th. Yeah, Libra babies and another year older but far wiser. They have taken several cruises with me and love them both dearly and treat me like their family. Good hearts too. I was also surprised to have Charlie and Marie as well from Virginia who we met on the Emerald this past year. They went on my website to find out where I was and much to my delight showed up and it made the 18 day cruise that much more memorable and fun for us all. What kind people too and a pleasure to have them in the lounge every night along with Bob and Carol. Added to the group fun was David and Candy from California. They had already been on the previous cruise and stayed aboard for the Transatlantic crossing making it a 30 day cruise. Oy vey that's cruising. They were faithfully in the Wheelhouse Lounge every night as well and we were all one big happy family. David is a Sinatra fan and loves the tunes I do. He even met Frank many years ago and it made a deep impression on him. So David was in heaven with my versions of Sinatra classics and both he and Candy made friends with me. So the lounge was very homey for the crossing and packed with the nicest people nightly.
My greatest pleasure was meeting up again in Lisbon with legendary comedian and friends Marty Allen and his lovely and gifted wife Karon kate as they joined the ship there. We met 8 years ago when I worked on Royal Caribbean on the Legend of the Seas doing Australia and New Zealand and several times since then. Both Marty and Karon Kate performed two different shows on two different nights to the wow of the packed-in audiences in the Princess Theatre. They also did an interview to a packed crowd one afternoon at 2pm in the theatre. It was a question and answer fun and laugh filled hour. Both Marty and Karon left us all with a good feeling by the end of their 7 day visit and outstanding performances. What a great pleasure it is for me to be included amongst their friends and to spend so much time with them every day. You couldn't walk through the ship without someone wanting a picture or a chat with Marty and at almost 88 years old he's an institution when it comes to comedy and longevity. What an honor having his friendship. Marty has had such an interesting career that can only be imagined by those of us who would love to be where he has been throughout his career. He's worked in T.V. and film and he's a great human being and treats you like you are special. Karon Kate lights up the audience with her great style and vocal dynamics. This is the kind of show biz I grew up to and it rarely exists now in performers. Back in 1964 Allen and Rossi, Marty's partner opened for the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show which is a milestone in T.V. history. They did over 60 Sullivan shows and talk show circuit. Check out Marty and Karon's website at www.martyallenhellodere.com and Marty has worked with some of the greatest names in Showbiz Friends of Marty's happened to be on the cruise named Martin and Faye to their delight. Martin has known Marty for many years and they were added to the festivities as well daily while they were on the ship and were gracious enough to invite all the entertainers out for dinner in the Crown Grill one evening which was very generous to do. They had no idea that Marty and Karon were going to be performing on the cruise and like the rest of us who watched them performed left us all in a great mood.
When we reached Ft. Lauderdale on October 25th there was a steady stream of cruise buddies join us. Joy and Mary Ann were with us and Mary Ann went out of her way to bake some recipes that she took off my website to the palatable pleasures of my quartet. She made my mom's cinnamon buns and her Sesame crescent cookies and her own ugly brownies. They sure didn't taste ugly. Thanks Mary Ann for making Halloween more festive for us and bringing your love in the shape of some tasty goodies that you went out of your way to prepare for us. You know how much I love you and Bert and wish he was with you for that cruise but you had the wonderful companion in Joy who also made us feel special when she comes on the ship bringing her love and generosity to everyone she meets. Joy took us all out to the Crown Grill one night for a fantastic steak dinner and I can't thank you enough for being so kind to boys and myself. Joy's name is aptly put as she brings Joy with her to everyone she comes into contact with and helps turn my lounge into a very special place while she is on any cruise. Thanks for you love and kindness you always bring whenever you are on a cruise with me. What can I say about Laree and Dona from Denver, Colorado who have been on several cruises with me over the years and are two of the best dancers. Everyone who watches them on the dance floor has a grin from ear to ear as they dance in their own style that just makes you want to watch and enjoy. Not unlike Harold and Jan who would have loved to be a part of that cruise too. Laree and Dona are also very special fans and friends and it's always a great time with them on any ship and in my lounge doing their thing.
So, it's now the last days of November and soon this contract will end on December 13th and fly home on Dec. 14th after working are collective butts off performing nightly. Everyone thinks what we do is easy and effortless but let me assure you that a great deal of energy and concentration goes into what we do to keep up the momentum and bring guests back night after night. I look forward to the rest and please forgive me if I don't do another blog update until after I return to Vancouver for a well deserved rest. As yet, we have nothing pinned down after this contract ends for the 2010 cruise season and I'll hopefully have some knowledge of what our future will hold later in the year so please be patient with me. I wish all my American friends a happy Thanksgiving holiday and maybe try one of my recipes posted in my recipe section for your holiday feast. I will add some more recipes when I get home and thanks for your patience in waiting for my blog updates.
September 23, 2009
I Know,I know. I'm long overdue for a blog. I'm currently in Livorno, Italy today at an internet cafe with Domenic, my bass player. It's a lovely day here today. We just went to the outdoor market to buy some fruit and walk around and enjoy the sights. The time here in the Med has flown by so quickly since we joined the Ruby Princess on Aug.8th in Rome. We have been to some the the most beautiful places in the Med. Venice of course tops the list of beautiful cities to see in the world. The sail in's have been marvelous and your never tire of it's beauty and it's history. I can't believe how expensive Europe has gotten, especially Italy. The Euro is really kicking the U.S. dollar which makes everything cost so much more unfortunately. But, as they say, you only live once. They charge $2 U.S. to use a public toilet in Venice. Maybe they flush with holy water. A coke can cost from $3 to $6 too. Ouch! Not the Italy I experienced back in the 70's that's for sure. Greece and Turkey also were wonderful places. I loved Istanbul. Steeped in history and fascinating places to visit and see. The Grand Bazaar has over 4000 shops and all the store keepers are all over you as you walk through the market. Lots of great foods to eat too in all these wonderful places as well. So it's been quite the tour so far and it's not over yet. On October 25th we will be back in Ft. Lauderdale again doing the Caribbean until we leave the ship in mid December. Our last trip will be out of Venice on October 8th and we will visit some ports one more time before we make the Transatlantic journey. It has been a marvelous experience seeing the ports of call in the Mediterranean and I have some great photos to document it all. Some great gastronomic experiences as well along the way. I do love to eat and more than enjoyed all the foods that are tradtional to the places we have visited. I even had Chinese food once in Naples. Not one of my best experiences but not too bad either.
One juicy story you may find interesting. My drummer Phil missed the ship in Venice and we were without him for two days. I would have loved to see the look on his face when he found out the ship left without him. Priceless, I'm sure. Somehow he got the departure time mixed up in his head. Unfortunately, he had to pay for two days in a hotel and a flight to Athens. Anyone who misses the ship whether it's a passenger or crew member is responsible for getting to the ship in the next port, with the help of the port agent of course, who was waiting patiently for Phil to show up at the dock. I've seen many passengers over the years miss the ship because of mixing up departure times as well as crew. Never thought it would happen to someone on my team though. He joined us in Athens two days later and got his wrist slapped but all is well and back to normal once again. I'm sure Phil will one day remember this untimely adventure and perhaps smile. A costly adventure for him too. Life does provide us all with lessons sometimes when you don't expect it.
So that's about it from me. I will update my blog again after we are back in the U.S. It's been a marvelous experience being in the Mediterranean after such a long absence. The crowds in the Wheelhouse have been great too. We have met people from many parts of the world on this cruise and it's been great fun. Love to do it again some day. One final note before I close this blog. When we were in Monte Carlo/Monaco the Red Arrows performed their air show at the Yacht show. The Red Arrows are like the Blue Angels,Thunderbirds and like Canada's Snow Birds. What a spectacular 30 minute show they put on. There were three other ships in port and many yachts enjoying this great air show. After it was all over all the ships and yachts blew their horns. WOW! It sounded like an New Years eve celebration echoing off the mountains. A nice way to end off a cruise that's for sure. You should have seen the yachts there. Unbelievably expensive. I picked one out for myself. Anyone have a million or two to spare? One yacht called the Lady Moura which had a crew of 61 and owned by a Saudi finance minister. Wonder if he has entertainment on board. As the song goes
"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie,That's amorŤ!
August 4, 2009
My vacation at home was great! It's been ages since I've been off during the summer months and the weather has been so wonderful here,except for the past week. We had one hell of a heat wave. Record high temperatures here and throughout the province. The heat wave extended down through to Washington and Oregon states as well. I guess it's a sample of what the current weather will be like while I'm in the Mediterranean over the next couple of months. I fly to Rome on Thursday Aug.6th. and arrive late afternoon on Aug.7th. You can imagine how exhausted I'm going to feel after spending so many hours in the air. OY VEY! I really enjoyed my time off though. I love summer in Vancouver. This is such a beautiful city. If you've never had an opportunity to visit Vancouver, then you must put it on your must see list. The city is in the final stages of preparation for the Winter Olympics in 2010. The Olympic village is near completion and new transportation has been added as the city hosts this esteem event. Most of it will be held in Whistler B.C. which has an international reputation for it's mountains and winter sports. It's an exciting world event happening in my own back yard. Something to be proud of too.
The Bruce Gordon quartet will be on the Ruby Princess from Aug.8th to Dec.14th. Once again Biff,Domenic and Phil will be joining me on the bandstand as we sail to some of the most exotic destinations on our itinerary. I'm now getting my luggage in order and getting myself in performance mode after a nine week hiatus from the ships. Hope I can still remember all those lyrics after this much time off. Where does the time go? I will miss sitting on my balcony and the lovely view of the mountains I see every day. I will miss the freedom of taking my car out for a drive. I do enjoy driving somewhere. I will miss my family and friends. However, I will be making new friends as I do on every trip. I am grateful to be working at what I love and bringing pleasure to those who enjoy a good tune,especially in these tough times when many fellow musicians and performers are being cut back. I am blessed. What more can one hope for. I've had time to recharge my internal battery and do most of the things I wanted to do while on vacation.
I hope to post pictures of Biff and Domenic soon. So, that's it from me, for now. I will not post another blog for some time. It's a pain in the butt accessing the internet while I'm away but I'll try and post something in September to let you know how life is unfolding. I hope that some of you have taken advantage of trying out the recipes I posted. Most of all have fun making them. There will be more along the way. I leave you with this wise quote from Harriet Du Autermont. "No vision and you perish. No ideal, and your lost. Your heart must ever cherish some faith at any cost. Some hope,some dream to cling to,some rainbow in the sky,some melody to sing to,some service that is high."
July 13, 2009
I've just added the first recipe to my website for those who like to entertain family and guests. This will be updated from time to time with some of my favorite recipes,plus some contributions from fans. I know you will enjoy them as much as I do. I start the new recipe section off with my mom's coffee cake which I know everyone will enjoy. Go for it! Try it out. The Bruce Gordon Quartet will soon be off to the new Ruby Princess in early August to cruise in the Mediterranean for the summer. I will post the dates soon. I'm really looking forward to this run. I have not been to many of these places for a very long time. Would you believe since I was 21. Yes,that is well before the stone age lol. I was a student at the University of British Columbia back then and Europe in those days was extremely inexpensive. You could certainly get by on $20 a day back then and still have a great time. I back packed with my best friend for 4 months and we stayed mainly in youth hostels which were very reasonable and traveled mainly by Eurail once we got to Europe. Our charter flight was also unbelievably cheap. Would you believe $275.00 Canadian funds to fly to London,England return from Vancouver. What an experience that was. Those were the days! Forever etched in my memory. Back then we went to Israel,Greece,Italy,France,Germany,Austria,Switzerland,Spain and England. Portugal was in the midst of a coup and Spanish dictator,Franco was on his death bed when we were there last. I still have fond memories of these countries. To experience the different customs and cultures in each country and compare them with your own was an education in itself. It's no wonder that I ended up on cruise ships as traveling the world is a rewarding experience and broadens your own perspective and beliefs.
Some of the places we will be visiting until we reposition back to Ft. Lauderdale in early October are: Italy,Monaco,Greece,Turkey,France and Spain. Once in Ft. Lauderdale we will do the Caribbean until mid December. I will be updating my gallery and post pictures of the quartet before I leave Vancouver. It's been so nice being home to enjoy part of the summer here and I'm looking forward to seeing some of the places I toured many years ago once again. Who knew back when I was a student that I would one day have the good fortune to explore some of these places once again.
I already have some cruise buddies joining us so they have told me. That's always very special for me. I appreciate your loyalty and friendship and I know Princess does too. It's like having family with you. Always a fun time. So until my next update I leave you with a quote from Confucius: "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life". Oh what the heck one more by Robert Louis Stevenson: "There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner: That,in the dinner,the sweets come last". Enjoy!
July 4, 2009
Happy 4th of July to all my American friends. May this day renew your hopes and wishes for you and your family and all the special people in your lives. Life without liberty is like a body without spirit-Kahlil Gibran. Be the change you want to see in the world.......
July 1, 2009
Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadian friends. What a beautiful day it was today in Vancouver. Not too hot. It was a gorgeous sunset as well and the night skies were a lovely cobalt blue and perfectly clear. I spent the evening with my family which included my cousins Gene and Louise visiting from Dallas,Texas. I barbecued steaks and fresh corn on the cob and then at 10:30pm we watched the Canada Day fireworks from my balcony. I'm rarely home this time of year. How sweet it is!!
June 16, 2009
Some words of wisdom that was sent to me and thought I would post it. "Life is not measured by the breaths we take,but by the moments that take our breath away." From George Carlin. I like that! Cherish the moment.
June 10, 2009
Home at last! I flew in from Copenhagen via Chicago on May 26th after four months on the Emerald Princess. This contract was the debut of the Bruce Gordon Quartet and as usual we kept the crowds happy in the Wheelhouse Lounge every night. Well at least they looked happy or was that just gas. After our stint in the Caribbean we took the Transatlantic crossing to Europe and the Baltic's. You will find the countries we visited in my April 26th 2009 blog. What a wonderful experience visiting some of the coolest cities in the world. It took me back to when my best friend and I traveled to Europe back in the 70's for four months visiting many different countries and the multifaceted cultures and customs we encountered. It was educational and fascinating walking the streets in some of the most beautiful and historic places in the world. Europe in those days was still reasonably inexpensive. Boy have things changed! I highly recommend experiencing this itinerary to all of you who love to cruise. For all those who have already taken this cruise, I think you will agree it's worth experiencing. Drenched in history and culture. It also helps you to define the values we so take for granted in our own back yard.
This was a particularly demanding gig work wise than some previous contracts but Biff,Domenic and Phil gave it their best to the delight of the crowd. Besides the demands of performing nightly their was the time changes to contend with as we entered the different time zones along the way. We made new friends and were especially happy to have some of my fans join us during our time there. Bert and Mary Ann,Joy,Nancie,Eugene and Bessie,Marvin and Diane,Paul and Leilani to name a few. It's so nice to have had them all on the ship with us at different times. It made my cruise. When you are away as much as I am, you cultivate wonderful friendships along the way and they become an extended part of your family. Having fans travel with me is always my great pleasure and great fun too. Hope to have some visit us on the Ruby Princess this summer. And speaking of extended family, I also want to mention that while I was in Ft. Lauderdale, our home port, I spent my time off the ship with Lil Abrams and Judy Rapp. Lil and I have know each other for years, back when I was with Royal Caribbean Cruises. Lil is a wonderful friend and great human being and probably my biggest fan. Now don't get territorial on me here. I love you all! Lil shlept me to Lion Country Safari,the flea market,Miami and of course to find a great deli amongst other special things she had planned. Every time I was in port she would drive all the way in from Boynton Beach, Florida and we would spend the day. Of course Judy another ball of beautiful energy like Lil, would join in the fun as well from time to time. Those were good times and a wonderful way to spend a day off the ship, especially with loving friends. I will always cherish those memories. I look forward to more fun times with Lil and Judy when I return in late October and I will post Lil's pic in my gallery while I'm home. We were like The Three Musketeers. I miss you!! I was also surprised how nice the seas were during the transatlantic crossing. We didn't really experience anything out of the ordinary until we were going to Spain. It got pretty rough that night and we missed Dover because of bad weather. Oh well perhaps another time.
So now I'm just chilling out here in Vancouver. My mom suffered two mini strokes while I was away but my brother Harley and twin sister Shelley really stepped in to take good care of her. My mother has always been in my corner. She turned 82 on April 24th and has always given me encouragement throughout my career. There's been some good times and bad but my mother Rosely, always nurtured me and gave me the strength to endure. Show biz is never easy to break in to. There's so much heartbreak and disappointment that can derail ones self confidence. My mother always said that one day you will find your niche. You can have all the talent but few breaks. When I entered the cruise industry in 1999 things changed and with two CD's out with national radio play and many fans all over the world it gives me a wonderful feeling that I stuck it out and never gave up. Most parents tell their kids to stay away from Show biz and get a real job or something that is more secure but both my mom and dad thought I was a natural from a very young age. I started out as an actor and now my singing is my main shtik. Besides, what is secure these days. So much unemployment and tough times all over the world. I'm extremely happy to have the reputation I have and I'm still working. Mom is at home and tires easily and has some problems with short term memory but in our loving hands she will be fine.
On July 15th we fly to Barcelona, Spain to join the new Ruby Princess. No Alaska this year. It's not that I don't like going there but I've been there so many times over the years and Princess was very accommodating in my request to try something different. The weather in 2008 was miserable in Alaska. So I am excited about the wonderful countries we will be visiting over the next few months in the Mediterranean. More on that before we leave and I'll post the dates too. I don't want to have people book cruises and the office decides to send us somewhere else. I usually post the ship dates a week before we go. There is plenty of time to decide as we will be there until December 14th.
I wish all of you an enjoyable summer. The weather has been beautiful since I came home and that's very satisfying especially when you're on vacation. Sometimes I feel like a visitor in my own city as I travel around 9 months of the year. There's no place like home. I'll post another blog before I leave but I just wanted to share some of my thoughts with you and hope that you enjoy reading these blog entries. One more thing before I go. I will be posting recipes on my website. My favorite dishes and other recipes that will be shared with you and some sent in by fans. Please know that all these great recipes for baking etc. are the very best and I know when you make them that you will enjoy them as much as I have. My parents owned a bakery-delicatessen for 30 years and Rosely has given me permission to share some of her great recipes with all of you who enjoy entertaining. So that will probably be happening before I leave in July. If you care to share some favorite recipes that are to die for then please feel free to pass them on and I will give you credit for it on the recipe section which will be added soon. Enjoy and keep my music in your heart.
April 26, 2009
You must think I've dropped off the face of the earth by now. I do humbly apologize for not updating my blog sooner. It's extremely challenging taking care of email while I'm working on a ship, let alone find time to write in my blog section of my website. Finally I have an opportunity before we set sail across the Atlantic on the final leg of our contract here on the Emerald Princess. It's been a nice run here in the Caribbean but I guess I'm spoiled as the real part of my adventure really begins in Europe. We set sail on April 29th from Ft. Lauderdale to reposition the ship to the Baltics. Not that I don't appreciate the beautiful ports of call we have been doing since we arrived on the ship January 29th. I've been here so many times over the years and I guess I'm anxious to see all these great places we will be visiting soon. This will be my first transatlantic crossing since performing on ships in 10 years and I'm very excited and so are the guys in the band.
It will be a six day crossing with hopefully smooth sailing. Keep those fingers crossed! I will let you know how the crossing went after I return home towards the end of May. The ports of call will be Azores Islands-Portugal, Lisbon-Portugal, Vigo-Spain, Le Havre-France, Dover-England, Zeebrugge-Belgium, Rotterdam-The Netherlands, Oslo-Norway, Copenhagen-Denmark, Stockholm-Sweden, Helsinki-Finland, St.Petersburg-Russia, Tallinn-Estonia, Gdansk-Poland. You can see why I'm so excited about this part of our journey as I've not been to most of these places before except for the U.K. and France. Please feel free to check out these ports of call on the Princess website. You can access Princess in my Schedule section of my website by clicking on Princess Cruises.
I will be going mad taking pictures with my camera as I did when went to Asia last year on the Diamond. I love exploring new destinations and it should be an awe-inspiring experience. I've logged on hundreds of thousands of nautical miles over the years and this will probably be one of the highlights. I especially am looking forward to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.
My new pianist Biff Hannon has really worked hard for me these past months on the Emerald and he has delighted many passengers with his unique style on the piano. My new bass player Dominec Vechionne also brings a great new touch to the bandstand with his great chops and wonderful sense of humor. So the great reviews keep happening and that is so very satisfying for me. Everyone in the band has worked their butts off keeping the quality of music at it's peak. It's not easy replacing musicians as everyone has their own way of doing things. Several of my cruise buddies that follow us from ship to ship were very supportive and positive in their comments as well with the new players. Everyone that joined us over the past few months made them feel welcome. Thanks!!All the fans who join us and keep in touch are important to me. You started off as cruisers and then became fans and now you are a part of my extended family. Thanks so much for spreading your love to include us. Love you all!!!
So that about wraps it up for now. I promise to update my blog after we finish towards the end of May or early June. Please be patient with me and also I won't be doing much email while we are in Europe over the next month. Please write me after May 27th when I'm back in Vancouver. Our next contract takes us to the new Ruby Princess on July 15th doing the Mediterranean for the summer. I promise to tell you more about that in my next blog.I will also add some new pictures of Biff and Dom too plus some in the gallery as well. So until my next blog keep the music in your heart! Happy 82nd birthday to Rosely, my mom on April 24th. Love you!!!!! See you soon.
January 28, 2009
I hope the holiday season was everything you wanted it to be. Let me first begin by wishing each and everyone that visits my website the very best for the New Year. As Mr. Spock would say, "Live long and prosper." We had the worst winter in 40 years in Vancouver. It started snowing on Dec. 13th and by Jan. 2nd we accumulated 3.28 feet of snow causing havoc at airports and making car travel a giant pain in the butt. I was born and raised in this beautiful city and it was mind boggling to see such weather. In fact, it snowed right across the country. This was my first holiday season at home in three years. I'm usually performing in some exotic location at this time of year. I'm delighted I was home to witness the winter with all it's wrath. Can somebody help me push my car out of this slosh?
In my last update I mentioned that my talented pianist Matt Dawson decided to leave the band after three years of dedication, hard work and sacrifice. I'm going to miss him so much as we now expand to a quartet. If you did not read my Dec. 17th blog please read the well deserved tribute to Matt. Taking his place is Biff Hannon from L.A. Biff has had a distinguished career supporting some of the biggest names in music. He spent 25 years with Doc Severinsen, including many appearances on the "Tonight Show" with the beloved Johnny Carson. He spent a few years with Buddy Rich and five years with Maynard Ferguson. He was musical director with Nancy Wilson and Anita O'Day, to name a few, and has many recordings to his credit. Biff has his Masters in music from Eastman. On bass guitar is Domenic Vecchione from Windsor, Ontario. Domenic is no stranger to ships and I'm excited about this alliance with Biff and Dom. I welcome them both to the new Bruce Gordon Quartet. There is no doubt in my mind that this is going to be a great listening experience, having such wonderful players together on stage with me and Phil on drums.
The Bruce Gordon Quartet will be heading to the Emerald Princess on January 29th to May 26th. We'll be sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale doing the Caribbean. At the end of April 2009 we will reposition to the Baltics, where we will remain until we sign off the ship on May 26th. I'm sure that there will be some great opportunities price-wise to cruise. I invite you to book a Princess cruise and enjoy our melodious sounds. Relax with us nightly in the beautiful Wheelhouse Lounge. You deserve a break from routine and worries.
2008 was a great year cruise-wise. There are so many people to thank for making it successful. They are all in my heart. My website is one year old now. I had some nice comments about it over the past year. I know you want more pictures posted and I'll try to make some changes and additions to bring you back from time to time. After two months of rest, I'm ready to go back out and do what I love best. I know we have had tough times over the past year with frustrations, disappointments, and economic woes. At the end of every cruise I always say to go out and do something nice for someone. There's a lot of troubling issues that affect each of us in some way. The only way to overcome this is to persevere and individually make the difference by being the best you can be. Keep the Love in your heart. I make the difference through my music. Music is healing and music makes you young. Let's all make this our resolution for 2009. Heal the past. Live the present and dream the future. Yesterday was history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.
December 17, 2008
Seasons greetings to you all. I'm finally back in Vancouver after almost seven months on the Diamond Princess. We started the contract on May 5th in L.A. and left the ship in Bangkok on Nov. 23rd. It was an excellent contract from beginning to end. The weather in Alaska this year was nothing less than shitty. Lots of rain and gray skies filled most of the season and it was chilly. We did have some nice days of course but they were few. I've been cruising up there for many years and as much as I love the scenery and the peacefulness I was very happy to reposition to Asia on Sept. 20th. I love the sun and if I want Alaska type weather I can find it here in Vancouver. It was my first time in the 10 years I've been performing on ships to tour Asia.
For the boys and myself the real cruise was exploring Asia and the marvelous ports of call we visited in our remaining months on the ship. The five day crossing was pretty rough sea wise, until we arrived at our first port in Russia. Vladivostok. We were in Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Viet Nam. Malaysia and Thailand. So many great memories and experiences. It was extremely educational as well. We climbed the Great Wall of China. That was an interesting experience. It was quite a challenge too. Some parts had a very steep incline and it was physically challenging but worth the attempt. I was fascinated by China. Living in a large Asian community as I do in Vancouver, I always wanted to travel there to investigate and explore its history. Hong Kong was very impressive both in architecture and its size. Towering high rises, beautiful office towers; the hustle and bustle of daily fast paced life was interesting to be a part of. We overnighted there and of course we all burnt ourselves out doing as much as we could possibly do in the hours spent on shore. On two occasions we went to Ned Kelly's, a British pub in Kowloon to hear jazz. What a fun place that was. I even performed there with a combination of their house musicians and members of our ships orchestra and Matt and Phil. It was such a blast. People from different countries that had one thing in common. Great music to listen to. So I can say that I performed in Hong Kong. The crowd loved it too and we met some interesting people. Thanks to Colin who is an Englishman who has lived in Hong Kong for many years and performs there. We were treated with special attention. We would arrive back on the ship at 4am after a fun night partying. Tylenol anyone? Every night at 8pm they do a light show on Hong Kong Island. Many of the buildings and skyscrapers were lit up for a ten minute laser and light show that was synchronized. It was spectacular to see.
Shanghai was also intriguing. Like Hong Kong it was dotted with tall skyscrapers and interesting architecture to fill your hungry eyes. People watching was fun too. Both Matt and myself went to a tea ceremony. A bit costly but worth the experience. Be careful they don't charge you too much if you are invited to go to one. Dalian too was interesting with much to see and do. I loved the markets there. In the markets they were selling deep fried scorpion and tarantula on a stick. Not exactly your corn dog type of cuisine. I tasted the scorpion. Interesting. What these people won't eat. It was all fascinating to experience. Viet Nam was very third worldish with a lot of poverty. We visited Nha Trang and Phu My. It made me count my blessings that I live in Canada although it had it's charm too. An hour foot massage was only $6 U.S. and it was the best I've had. I tipped generously as the price was too good to be true. I went back the next time we were there as well. They sell snakes that are soaked in alcohol in large jars. They say it's medicinal for you to drink. It did have a bite that's for sure.
Japan was lovely. Very clean and good food too. In the markets you would find interesting stuff. Loved the sushi bars and tasted the best Japanese oranges there. Everyone was friendly all over Asia. I never felt out of place and people made you feel welcome in all the countries and cities we visited. Singapore was pretty. The only thing I really was amazed by was the pollution. It was like fog in Shanghai and Hong Kong especially. Not pleasant to breathe either. (As I light a cigarette.) Unfortunately we had our tour cancelled in Beijing to see the Forbidden City and hope to make it back there one day. I could fill many paragraphs with all that we did and saw along during our time traveling but those were some of the highlights I thought you might find interesting. Would I go and see it all again? Yes!
Leaving Thailand was uneventful but the next day it turned out to be a nightmare for over 300,000 tourists who were stuck there as some protesters blocked the two biggest airports there. I must have horseshoes up my butt that's for sure, as people were stranded there for over two weeks. The 16 hour flight back to Vancouver was exhausting. Nothing, compared to the people who could not get out. There's no place like home. We left the ship and said our goodbyes as the ship moved to Australia and New Zealand. It's now summer there.
The last night on the ship was a somber one for me. Matthew Dawson, my wonderful pianist and musical director decided that he wanted to stop working on ships and completely have a change in careers to the dismay of many of our colleagues and friends who have listened to his artful style. Although I had several months advance warning that he was leaving; it really didn't sink in until the last note was played and he locked the piano. Matthew has been part of my team since the fall of 2005. Where has all that time gone. Matthew is from Comox, B.C. which is on Vancouver Island. When I met him he was green around the gills but over the next 3 plus years he became an important part of my artistic life. He contributed a great deal to the success of the trio and I love him for that. In the past three years he has honed his craft and turned into a fine musician and friend. His skill as a left hand bass player brought him much acclaim and it was first rate. He attracted other musicians to sit in with us to jam. Personality is just as important to me as talent. There is so much interaction with passengers, fellow musicians and entertainers while we are on a ship and Matthew added to the charm of the trio both on and off the bandstand. I'll never forget his audition. He played All of Me over the phone and some other tunes. So, I invited him to Vancouver to audition for me in person. He was a good looking skinny kid that loved to play the piano and although his audition made him nervous, there was something inside me that said give him a chance. I'm glad I did. He made many friends along the way and I know where ever I go now, people will be asking about him. I wish him good fortune in his pursuit of life and hope that he connects with his goals. Life is a struggle filled with obstacles and hurdles to overcome. I hope many years from now when he reflects on his life as we all do and I'm no longer around this earth, that Matt smiles and remembers the good times making music together and all the laughs we had. He will always be like a son to me. (huge sigh)
Princess has given me permission to add a bass player to the bandstand. It was long overdue but I'm grateful to Ricky Neal who runs Music Services at Princess for this nice gesture. So my next blog will announce the replacement for Matt and the new bass player. I want to wait until everything is in place before I make this public. I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and prosperous year ahead. Please do something nice for someone during these troubled times. Look for my next update over the next few weeks and the birth of the new "Bruce Gordon Quartet."
September 1, 2008
Well it's been two months since I last updated my happenings to you all. We are still knocking them dead on the Diamond Princess doing the Alaska run. The weather this season has been yucky for the most part. When it's nice here, there's nothing more breath taking than the scenery that surrounds you. It can be a very spiritual experience. I've been doing Alaska for many years now. Maybe next summer would be a nice time to experience something different as the weather factor is an important component to my voice production. When it's cold and damp and you live in an air conditioned climate it can cause problems.
Back in July we had the pleasure of having the phenomenal saxophonist Doug Webb on the ship along with his family enjoying a cruise. Doug gave us the pleasure of his company on the bandstand several times throughout his cruise dazzling us, along with the audience. Doug has played with the who's who in the music industry and has had a very distinguished career playing with many famous musicians including a long time association with Doc Severinsen as well as playing saxophone for Lisa on the famed TV show, The Simpsons. You should definitely check out Doug Webb's website as it's impressive. His discography and filmography is so cool. I can't tell you how flattered I was to perform with this gentleman during his time on the Diamond. Doug is such a cool guy and we were all in heaven musically jamming and hanging with this man. His website is www.dougwebb.us I'm sure you'll enjoy checking it out.
We also had a visit from Ricky Neal who is in charge of music services at Princess in L.A. for three days. Ricky was extremely generous with his comments about the trio and told us that we were the best in the fleet. That made us all feel very good, but then those of you that already follow me already know that we're the best. LOL. Ok Bruce, cool your jets. Seriously though, Ricky's visit helped demonstrate the importance of seeing what assets Princess has working in their lounges up close and personal. We had some productive chats and hopefully some good things will generate out of his timely visit in the future.
I continued to perform the big band sets with the Diamond Princess orchestra under the direction of drummer extraordinaire Doug Tann. I mentioned this in my last blog update and it was a blast. I'm still doing this from time to time and enjoying it. Plus, we continue to jam with members of the orchestra from time to time each week when time permits for them. We are looking forward to the Asia cruise after the last Alaskan cruise wraps up on Sept. 20th. We have been looking forward to this leg of our journey for some time and I wish to thank Roger Hawk-director of entertainment at Princess for his generosity in making this Asia extension happen and our cruise director Dan Gibbons.
We have had a visit from our cruise buddies Larree and Dona from Denver, Colorado for the past two weeks. They are pictured in my cruise buddy section of my website. They dazzled the passengers nightly. They are both very gifted dancers. Such style and grace they both bring to the dance floor. I love them to pieces. The only other couple that wows them on the dance floor is Harold and Jan from Beverly Hills, California. I introduced Larree and Dona to them a couple of years ago and they are great friends and part of my extended family. Love you all! Plus we now have a new member of the Cruise buddy list. That's Joy from Athens, Georgia. She surprised us with her visit and we all bonded so nicely. She has such a good heart and treated us with such love. It was such a pleasure to have her on our cruise along with Larree and Dona for the past 2 weeks. We had so much fun.
The next update on my website will not happen until I return from Asia on the Diamond Princess as we reposition form Alaska on September 20th. The boys and I are looking forward to this leg of our contract and I'll have lots to say when I return home to Vancouver after November 24th. So stay well everyone and catch you later.
July 19, 2008
Well finally I've had some time to update my blog. Thanks for your patience. We've been on the Diamond Princess since May 5th. It was the last two days of wet dock when we joined her in Los Angeles. Wet dock and dry dock is when the ship goes in to have needed renovations and repairs done. This usually occurs every two years and lasts seven days. Of course there are no passengers on the ship while this goes on.
On May 7th we set sail for Vancouver to begin the Alaska season. The Diamond is one of my favorite ships. We have some great memories from our last assignment just over a year ago. We are now the only band in the Wheelhouse. Those of you who travel with Princess recall that we usually share the lounge with another band; usually another trio or a duo. So, we now find ourselves with the great responsibility of holding down the fort ourselves for the most part. However, there are also other musicians that help out as well for the early part of the evening. So please don't think that we are chained to the bandstand all day.
Great news for me to share! I have had the opportunity to headline once again in the Princess Theater with the orchestra for the Farewell show. It was great fun. I have also been doing big band sets with the orchestra lately in the Wheelhouse Lounge as well, which has been a real kick for me. I love my trio but you can't imagine how wonderful it is to sing with 8 pieces backing you up with some great charts. I'm hoping to make this a regular thing now on the ship while we are here and hope to perform again in the Princess Theater. I wish you all were in the audience when I was on stage. I know you would have loved it.
More great news! The Bruce Gordon Trio has been extended on the Diamond Princess. We are now on the ship until November 23rd. After the Alaska season ends in mid September, we will take the Diamond to Asia visiting such wonderful places as like, Russia, Korea, China, Japan, Singapore, Viet Nam, and Thailand. Now that's going to be a marvelous traveling experience for Matthew, Phil and myself. After doing the last three years of Christmas and New Years on ships we finally will have this holiday season off to enjoy with friends and family. Thanks to the generosity of the people at Princess for giving us this precious time off during the holiday season, when I know they would rather have us entertaining the guests. That was cool! This will be the longest contract I've ever done. 6 1/2 months to be exact. Now that's a lot of performing! I'll keep you all posted along the way to let you know how we are enduring. I wish you all a very enjoyable summer where ever you may be around the world as the three sea gypsies aka. The Bruce Gordon Trio continue to entertain the international guests on the lovely Diamond Princess. Look for another update in August.
April 9, 2008
After another successful contract, I am currently back in Vancouver, B.C where I live. My trio was on the beautiful Crown Princess doing the Caribbean from Nov.10th to March 8th out of San Juan,Puerto Rico. We met some wonderful people and made some new friends along the way. We were blessed to have our cruise buddies Bert and Mary Ann Cheney from Dallas, Texas and Bob and Carol Kilb from L.A. the last week of out cruise making it a perfect way to end our run.
From time to time I will be updating this blog with various entries including comments from me and perhaps I will share some of my favorite recipes that I know you will enjoy preparing. My mom has some delicious recipes that she will glady share as well for you to enjoy. I hope you will visit my website from time to time to see what's new.
Currently, Matthew Dawson, my creative pianist is driving his new car from Vancouver Island to Toronto to visit with friends and enjoy his well deserved time off, after we all worked 9 out of the last 10 months. Philly Jo Shinbone my energetic and stylish drummer is back in Windsor, Ontario partying his face off until we all go to the Diamond Princess in early May to Sept. doing the Alaska season. This will be my 8th year up in Alaska and it's a beautiful run. The weather of course can be unpredictable. I will post the dates as we get closer to the sailing time, in my schedule section. Sometimes things can change at the last minute. It would be very nice to have you join us for this cruise. It's great being at home again and enjoying a well earned vacation from singing 7 nights a week. It's wonderful to sleep in my own bed again, seeing family and friends and taking a break from being sea gypsies. My CD is still available for you to purchase for friends or family that might enjoy this genre of music. Please feel free to pass my website onto whomever you wish. It's Spring! Enjoy!