Words and Images by: Andrew Bruss
Full review below photo gallery!
Brock Butler’s sunrise set technically took place early in the morning on Day Four, but “tomorrow” doesn’t start until you wake up after your night, so Day Three it was. Day three is where passengers start to lose their voice from cheering too loudly. The night's disco theme made for some stone-cold stellar costumes, folks were legally married, a nasty bug kept JJ Grey from performing solo on the grand piano in the stairwell, and Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood gave other acts on the bill a chance to play the most incredible set of the day (by merit of departing the ship).
The first port call in Turks and Caicos was met with some windy weather along the beautiful shores of the tiny island territory that was devastated by Hurricane Ike in 2008. As far as musical content is concerned, Day Three makes Day Two seem like Day One, and that’s a wonderful thing. The jams keep getting better and Jam Cruisers didn’t even have to wait for the music to begin to make Day Three a world-changing experience.
Anyone you talk to aboard the ship will tell you, whether it’s their first rodeo, or they’re repeat offenders, Jam Cruise is the most fun to be had by a music lover. So, not to dwarf the significance of a magnificent recreational event being executed flawlessly, but the work done by Positive Legacy, the non-profit branch of Cloud 9 Adventures, is more important to the greater good of mankind than anything that takes place on the pool deck.
Over fifty paying guests, in addition to dozens of artists and staff, all spent their day rebuilding a park that was devastated by Ike. After the labor was completed, an event was held where the President welcomed artists and a local pre-teen held his own while jamming with the likes of Nigel Hall and Steve Kimock.
The island has been lobbying wealthy members of the community to throw down around $100,000 to help rebuild the battered coastline and the show of force by the Jam Cruise community could very well prove to be the lobbying campaign the island needed.
Jam Cruise revolves around the idea that a wide swath of musicians with a sense of community thrive on spontaneous, improvisational collaborations with their peers, and this rang true on Day Three. Roosevelt Collier wins MVP duties for killing it with Karl Denson's Tiny Universe on the Pool Deck moments after wrapping up an incredible interpretation of The Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider” that leaned heavily on The Wood Brothers’ string-arrangement version they recorded for "Up Above My Head". The twang of Colliar’s lap steel guitar playing could have been confused for the slide work of Allman’s guitarist Derek Trucks with eyes closed.
In addition to Collier, numerous guests/friends took a chance in the spotlight during KDTU’s performance. Stanton Moore (Drums), percussionist in residence Mike Dillon, and Ivan Neville (keys) all joined the party at one point or another. After Neville had his fill, he tapped out and was subbed in by Robert Walter, Karl D’s band mate in The Greyboy Allstars. The show drew the largest crowd to the Pool Deck at that point, and ended with the most powerful closer of any set of the week, an all-instrumental cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.”
Around 2am, the Jam Room took launch, hosted by Dillon and featuring friends of his who rank amongst the most skilled artists on the ship. Things started out with a spacey eastern-leaning jam featuring George Porter Jr. of the Funky Meters on bass, Dillon rocking the tablas and all-around freak/sax-prodigy Skerik building the audiological energy to its peak. At its most crowded, the stage featured 12 players, all from different acts. Eric Krasno (guitar) didn’t play the six-string but rocked the organ and bass. Stanton Moore made an appearance. Brock Butler played some rhythm guitar, and the overall highlight was a rap battle between Dillon, Nigel Hall (from Lettuce) and Dumpstaphunk drummer Nikki Glaspie. Who knew Dillon could freestyle?
Here’s to Day Four at sea!
JamBase | The Journey Continues
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