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The Blue Note at Sea Experience: The Blue Note Name Is Jazz Royalty

Recently, we shared our belief that the Blue Note at Sea Experience is special because it is the sum of many beautiful elements, creating a musical mosaic like no other.

Mosaic Element #1 was our amazing lineup of main show headliners (Marcus Miller, Robert Glasper, Chris Botti, Sheila E, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Christian McBride, Brad Mehldau, David Sanborn). Nowhere else in the world is there a gathering of such top musicians, not just for an evening, but for days at a time. (If you missed Mosaic Element #1, read it here.)

Equally stunning is the long and fabulous list of Featured Performers, each of whom is a star. We hoped you enjoyed our chat about our All-Star Lineup of Featured Performers. and why they are Mosaic Element #2. (If you missed Mosaic Element #2, read it here.)

Mosaic Element #3 is a bit more cerebral and is driven by illustrious and iconic histories. Let’s delve into why the cruise is called Blue Note!

Not all names can trigger an immediate reaction and conjure up a clear image. Advertising agencies are paid big money to make that happen, but doing so is difficult. Creating that special imagery and connection in the music world is even more difficult.

Okay, MOTOWN has the goods. You say that name and the image of great music and great groups flash in front of you. You can see Berry Gordy, Jr. and Smokey Robinson. You can hear the Four Tops and The Temptations and visions of Diana Ross are clear as a bell.

Though perhaps not as electrifying as Motown, Blue Note, as both a record label and the name of great jazz clubs is both iconic and regal. Yes, the “Blue Note” name is jazz royalty. Its history and evolution are fascinating.

Blue Note began in 1939 as a jazz record label founded by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis. Named for the “blue notes” of jazz and blues, notes that were different and distinct from traditional music, Blue Note ruled the jazz world from 1947 to the mid-60s. During the end of the run Blue Note was purchased by Liberty Records and Lion retired.

Eventually, the label was phased out, only to reappear in 1985 under the leadership of Bruce Lundvall who revived the label, establishing Blue Note Records, once again, as a dominant jazz record label. Innovator and producer Don Was took over from Bruce Lundvall and holds the position of President today.

Blue Note Jazz Clubs came on the scene in 1981, created by Danny Bensusan, father of current President, Steven Bensusan. With the record label mothballing the “Blue Note” name a few years earlier, Bensusan could rightfully claim that name for his jazz club.

Part of the resurrection of Blue Note Records included a “sharing” arrangement for projects that both parties would want to undertake. So, when Jazz Cruises began its hunt for the right name for a cruise program that was originally dubbed “The Contemporary Jazz Cruise” and landed upon the name “Blue Note,” not only did Jazz Cruises secure a great name, it secured two iconic jazz forces at the same time.

As a group, Blue Note Records, Blue Note Jazz Clubs and Jazz Cruises cover the “waterfront” of jazz…clubs, record labels, and cruise ships. With all this history and lineage at stake, no wonder the Blue Note at Sea Experience is so rich and exciting. It has large shoes to fill.

What is in a name? In the case of Blue Note, it is a name synonymous with great jazz, being a guardian of the legacy of the music and being a force that will sustain the genre as well as forge new paths.

We are proud to be known as Blue Note at Sea.

Stay tuned, the next piece of the Blue Note at Sea Experience mosaic will be shared on May 18.

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