Jam Cruise : 2004 by Kayceman
Jam Cruise 3 will set sail from Jacksonville, Florida on January 6, 2005. 1800 Jam Cruisers will hit the high seas for four days aboard Carnival Cruiselines' Celebration. The ship will stop in Freeport, Bahamas and, fulfilling a popular request on a questionnaire filled out by last year's cruisers, will offer passengers two full days at sea to enjoy over 40 musical performances. The festival lineup includes Galactic, Les Claypool, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Keller Williams, Col Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Jazz Mandolin Project featuring Jamie Masefield and Jon Fishman, Zilla featuring Michael Travis, The Remarkable Elba Kramer featuring Kyle Hollingsworth, North Mississippi Allstars, Ozomatli, Peter Rowan & Tony Rice, Robert Walter's 20th Congress, Umphrey's McGee, Garaj Mahal, MOFRO, Benevento/Russo Duo, Tishamingo, DJ Logic, and DJ Harry. In addition to incredible performances by many of the genre's most celebrated musical pioneers, the Jam Cruise experience promises once-in-a-lifetime artist collaborations and opportunities for hang time with the musicians who are so often inaccessible backstage.

One of the many musical highlights of this floating festival is sure to be the rare reunion performance of what some believe is the original jam band: Col. Bruce and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. ARU first busted onto the scene in 1988. In fact, there wasn't really even a jam band scene yet; Jerry Garcia was still alive and well and most of the improvisational music lovers were busy with The Grateful Dead's non-stop touring schedule. Still, a handful of young bands were starting to hit the clubs and festivals. ARU released two albums on Capricorn Records in 1991 and 1993, and embarked on the H.O.R.D.E festival during the summers of 1992 and 1993, where they met fellow musicians Phish, Widespread Panic, and Blues Traveler. Cross-pollination between bands was frequent, with members of ARU frequently guesting onstage or in the studio with the others.

Col. Bruce and ARU left the spotlight as quickly as they came into it, but not before planting the seeds of a music community and culture that would someday thrive, under the radar, in clubs and theatres and festival grounds around the world. The band was led by the genius antics of Col. Bruce Hampton, and the band included Oteil Burbridge (bass), Jimmy Herring (guitar), Jeff Sipe (drums), and Matt Mundy (mandolin). ARU's cosmic funk blend of Delta Blues and bluegrass blew many a mind. Their community-conscious spirit set the stage for the quiet music revolution that would follow Jerry Garcia's passing, and their impeccable chops would become a template for future work in the jam band genre.

And now, after earning mythical status via absence, Col. Bruce and the Aquarium Rescue Unit (minus Mundy who retired from professional music in 1993) are back for a small handful of reunion shows, including their very special Jam Cruise 3 appearance. A band before their time, ARU's sound is still as zany and fresh as ever, their songs are timeless, and their chops... Well, the musicians haven't set down their instruments since the band split.

Only 20 cabins remain! Prices range from $550 to $1125.00 per person, plus port charges, service fees, and gratuities. Call (303) 544-0191 or visit for reservations aboard Jam Cruise 3.

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[Published on: 10/3/04]

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