The Jammys came to NYC with full force and brought some unique on-stage collaboration to match the odd March weather occurring outside. In presenting the fourth installation of the Jammys, the producers had much to prove. Media attention was the highest it has been, sending the message that the public eye is turning to see what this grassroots musical movement is all about. The ceremony began with opening remarks by Dean Budnick regarding the scene and its subsequent growth and maturity. He sported a nice platinum tux, setting the overall tone of professionalism.
The Harlem Gospel Choir provided an uplifting "Higher and Higher" followed by Soulive and Reggie Watts accompanying them for "Stop Messing Around." As Reggie left the stage Soulive proceeded to dump into a fine rendition of "Fast Maceo." Peter Shapiro then took the stage and reaffirmed Dean's beliefs on the growth of the scene. Peter then introduced Robert Randolph, one of the hottest musicians and most positive guys around, who was very happy and excited to play MC all night.
The Harlem Gospel Choir
Warren Haynes stepped in to receive the Song of the Year award on behalf of the Allman Brothers Band for "Old Before My Time." Ironically, as Warren exited the stage with the award in hand he walked past Dickey Betts, who adorned a smile from ear to ear as they shook hands. Next was a solid performance from Reid Genauer and the Assembly of Dust. The band was joined by Dickey Betts and Eddie Brickel for "Franklin's Tower" into "Blue Sky" and a tumbling "Ramblin' Man." It was at this point, with the Assembly of Dust, Brickel, and Betts blazing, that the evening really began to unfold.
Terry Stewart from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame presented the next award to the Grateful Dead for Archival Album of the Year in their release Closing of Winterland: December 31, 1978. The Disco Biscuits then took the stage and started their dance-trance quasi-rave rock sounds with "Rock Candy." In the middle of that jam the beat switched and they called out Slick Rick to join them. As he walked out covered in the classic 80s gold medallions and chains look, he asked, "Does anybody remember 1984?" If you do, then you would have remembered "La-Di-Da-Di" which apparently many in the audience did as they rapped along. Showing themselves to be true showman, The Biscuits seamlessly transitioned back into "Rock Candy" to finish the jam.
After Bisco finished up, Steven Bernstein from Relix awarded New Groove to The Breakfast (formerly Psychedelic Breakfast). The New Orleans Allstars featuring Dr. John, Matt Abts, Brian Stoltz, George Porter Jr. and Toots Hibbert followed with "Right Place, Wrong Time" and "Pressure Drop." At this point the NOLA Allstars welcomed Mr. JoJo Hermann of Widespread Panic fame on stage to add a bit of his special JoJo mojo for a rousing rendition of "Hey Pocky Way."
Next up we found Mike Gordon handing over the award for Best Live Album to Gov't Mule for Deepest End. Following the transaction was the Derek Trucks Band with Solomon Burke performing "Home in Your Heart." Mike Mattison then joined them for "I Wish I Knew" before Dickey Betts and Susan Tedeschi came out to help with "Yield Not to Temptation" and "Lovelight."
Betts, Trucks, Burke, Tedeschi, Mattison
(left to right)
Keith Mosley of String Cheese Incident then unexpectedly delivered the award for Community Service to The Conscious Alliance, an organization started by Keith's friend responsible for the concept of food drives at SCI shows. Next to perform were Oteil Burbridge, Victor Wooten, and Derrico Watson resulting in an unparalleled jam of bass fury. There are certain things one experiences that words simply could never do justice, and this was one of them. To say it was amazing would be an understatement, and we shall leave it at that.
String Cheese Incident was then brought back on stage to receive the Jammy for Album Art of the Year. Following that Robert Randolph awarded Best Live Performance to Gov't Mule for the 5.03.03 New Orleans show that is now a legend throughout our burgeoning scene. String Cheese graced the stage with "Valley of the Jig" before commenting on the unseasonably warm weather with "Round the Wheel" and the plethora of snow references found within. Bill Nershi then stopped to say, "We'd like to introduce a brand new friend of ours. We just met him the other day and we'd like to try something new with him." Kang's voice announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, Perry Farrell and the Soulive Horns." It totally shocked everyone in the place. "Idiots Rule" off of Nothings Shocking (Jane's Addiction's first LP) was played like I have never heard it before. Imagine the raw rock energy on that album mixed perfectly with the jam power of SCI; it was an incredibly unique moment that seemed to capture the crowd at large.
Dean Budnick then awarded Studio Album of the Year to moe. for Wormwood. From receiving to giving, Al Schnier of moe. awarded Tour of the Year to Phish's Mike Gordon for their hard-hitting Summer Tour. Gordon made a lengthy acceptance speech about the formula to a successful gig and tour. He ended his speech by saying, "I'd have to be a pretentious asshole to think I can tell the future." That moment, along with the crowd booing the Dave Matthews Band being awarded Live DVD of the Year, were the lowest points of an otherwise wonderful evening.
Next Gov't Mule took the stage and played "Drums" > "Pygmy Twylyte" > "Blind Man in the Dark." Warren then summoned Chris Robinson to join in and they nailed "Southern Man" perfectly. The shocker of the night was when Warren then called ex-Crowe and feuding brother Rich Robinson and Ed Harsch to join in creating The Black Crowes reunion or, as some have dubbed it, Gov't Crow, or even Black Mule. "Sometimes Salvation" was the song covered and at the conclusion hugs onstage where matched with great applause. This was the set of the night, no question.
Finally Steve Winwood collected his Lifetime Achievement Award and said, "It's nice to finally know what I've been doing for the last 40 years: jamming." He then played "Different Light" and "Dear Mr. Fantasy" with his band before bringing out the guests. A loaded "Low Spark of the High Heeled Boys" with Warren Haynes led to "Gimme Some Lovin" with Warren, Michael Kang, Robert Randolph, and Dickey Betts to finish the evening. As I exited I walked past Bill Nershi signing autographs in the crowd and I reflected on how far our scene has come and the new grassroots-yet-professional direction it is heading in.
|Black Crowes & Gov't Mule (left) Steve Winwood (right)
Words by: Lorie McDonald
Images by: Tim McDonald
JamBase | New York
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AND THE WINNERS ARE:
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
ARCHIVAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Grateful Dead: Closing of Winterland: December 31, 1978
DVD OF THE YEAR
Dave Matthews Band: Central Park Concert
STUDIO ALBUM OF THE YEAR
TOUR OF THE YEAR
The Breakfast (formerly Psychedelic Breakfast)
LIVE PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
Gov't Mule w/ Claypool, Fleck, Landreth, Wooten & more | 5.3.03 | Saenger Theatre, New Orleans
String Cheese Incident: Untying The Not, Art by Alex Grey
LIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Gov't Mule: Deepest End
SONG OF THE YEAR
Allman Brothers Band: "Old Before My Time"
MIMI FISHMAN MEMORIAL COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
The Conscious Alliance
GRAHAMY JAMMY (INDUSTRY AWARD FOR SUPPORT OF THE SCENE)
Don Strasburg: Fox Theater, Boulder