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  • Writer's pictureJason Leppert

Herbie Hancock at Sea: Blue Note Jazz on Queen Mary 2

Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 has hosted some big names in entertainment over the years – even including film director Francis Ford Coppola and his wife last month – and on our sailing that followed, my wife and I enjoyed the jazz music of Herbie Hancock.

As a special Blue Note Records sailing, Hancock performed three sets and also sat in for a fascinating Q&A session, and as a jazz fan myself, I ate it all up. The transatlantic crossing was in many ways a theme cruise, uniquely offering specialty entertainment to everyone onboard for free.

To follow the traditional format of one show per dinner seating, Hancock played an early evening set and a late-night set one day and an additional set the following evening to accommodate every passenger. His first was about 50 minutes as it ended right as we lined up for the second, and we were most pleased that the latter went on for about 20 minutes longer.

He was an effortless performer who shared the stage with his equally talented band comprised of Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocals; James Genus on bass; Terrace Martin on keyboard, saxophone and vocals and Trevor Lawrence Jr. on drums. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that Genus is one of the familiar televised faces of the Saturday Night Live Band.

The entire performance was high energy and featured Hancock’s self-described “funky jazz tunes” that really transcend genres with experimental electronic sounds that are very space age-inspired. It was not uncommon for Hancock’s keyboard and keytar playing to

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