Words and Images by: Andrew Bruss
Full review below photo gallery!
After only one night at sea, Jam Cruise 11 is already shaping up to be the Willy Wonka-style fantasy experience of a lifetime for every sea-going attendee. Once the boat departed, all rules flew out the window. Sure, the golden rule is still the most important rule, but if you asked anybody in the Jam Room last night what time it was when Stanton Moore joined jam host Dan Lebowitz on stage, there’s a good chance you’d be told it was “jam thirty.”
The Jam Cruise experience is primarily a festival-going experience, but at this festival, stage hopping means taking an elevator a few flights up to the pool deck. To fully weigh in on what every return offender describes as a life changing experience this early on would be nothing short of journalistic malpractice. So between now and our return to the real world, the best way to bring you onboard from behind the confines of your laptop, Smartphone, tablet or crystal ball is with highlights of each day and lots of pretty pictures.
Best Set of the Day: Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood on the Pool Deck.
MSMW’s set started a half hour late as a result of an inch of rain and a whole lot of wind. Thanks to an impressive performance by the production crew to get the quartet on stage at all, the Jazz Fusionistas took the stage to an amped-up crowd whose enthusiasm was only fueled by the weather engulfing the ship. Medeski (keys), Martin (drums) and Wood (drums) leaned heavily on the material they put out on their last album with Scofield (guitar/icon), Out Louder. The crowd was eating it up and from the side of the stage, Stanton Moore seemed to approve. These guys have the chops to bring the ruckus and as the first headliner of Jam Cruise 11, they very successfully utilized the opportunity.
Grooviest collaboration: Dan Lebowitz/Robert Walter/Stanton Moore in the Jam Room.
By the time Stanton Moore made his Jam Cruise 11 debut, Perpetual Groove’s Brock Butler had already sat in and taken a bow during the first super jam of the week. While Lebowitz’ hosted the session, Moore was the motor running the show for every moment he was on stage. Driven by some ragtime rhythms, the trio repeatedly transitioned from a gentle groove to hard funk, with plenty of attention paid to the crash cymbal well past 4am.
Most intimate performance: Kyle Hollingsworth on the Piano in the Atrium.
With multiple levels of fans wrapped around Hollingsworth, the unplugged performance felt more like a classical in-the-round concert than a set by the pianist from String Cheese Incident. In addition to some Cheese tunes, Hollingsworth spiced up the set list with covers of Stevie Wonder's "Boogie On Reggae Woman" and Talking Heads', "This Must Be The Place." The crowd’s roar of approval often times overpowered the decibel count projected by the classical piano, but the hybrid of intense enthusiasm and graceful intimacy made this set something attendees will be talking about for a long time to come.
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