The MSC Lirica - Photo by Dave Vann

Aaron Benor (Relix)

1. Jan 10 - Brain-Damaged Eggmen, poolside stage. First set ended with "Hey Jude" with Kris singing. I don't think I've ever heard him sing (or noticed that it was him singing). He nailed the vocals, then for the "na na na" coda, the Jam Cruise staff and 15 musicians came out to sing it. Very beautiful moment. Then the second set, the Pink Floyd set, was straight up dirty--great grooves, tight jams and excellent guitar work. Kris and Marc locked in to form a fantastic rhythm section and Aron's keys added the perfect layering.

2. Jan 12 - Last night, pretty late, on the back deck behind the late-night disco. Marc Brownstein and Brendan Bayliss were freestyle rapping. Brownie and Brendan were dropping the beat while anyone who could (or dared to) freestyle over it. I tried and failed miserably. Magner kept it going for a while (mostly knocking on Brendan). When Jennifer Hartswick approached, they begged her to join in, but she wouldn't-- hilarity ensued.

3. Tie between Jan 11--the craps table with Ethan Schwartz, Eric Gerber, Seith "Shimon" Weiner, Dan Berkowitz, Lou (Keller's Sound guy), Renee, Rick from Deleware, David "Sugar Daddy", Josh (Carrie's husband) and Rob from the OC. I rolled the point the hardway, everyone won big and celebratory cigars ensued -- and Jan 12 -- New Monsoon with Steve Kimock. That show was HOT! Let Bo sing!!

Photo by Dave Vann

Jeremy Jones (JamBase Photography, Uber Music Fan)

1. Michael Franti and Spearhead by far the official band of Jam Cruise. A poster child for getting on a boat and having a good time while keeping in touch with the world around us, reality. I love keeping in touch with reality, it is where I live and I don't want to forget that there are people still out there that need me, us, to keep their world turning. His first set was during the day casting off from the Cayman Islands. That was my first Spearhead show - seen Franti solo with other bands, and it was everything and more. Then we were treated to the documentary "I am not alone" about his travels to Iraq, Israel, and Palestine. The moment where Franti took the Palestinian man to speak to the Israeli soldier at the wall was incredible. WOW!

Gomez - Photo by Weintrob

2. My number two is seeing one of my best friends, Burton, conduct the Everyone Orchestra. The EO was raffling off tickets for people to guest conduct at both shows and Burton won the Sunday raffle. Burton is one of those guys that loves music, loves talking about music, talking about who played with who, who is the best drummer, where is the next big show, how many times that song has been played, and so forth. So who better to get up there and conduct than him. His insistence on Rodney Holmes going into a drum solo was classic.

3. Gomez bringing two of the best sets in recent memory. I was really into the Karl Denson and the Les Claypool, the Eggmen were a lot of fun and really different, Galactic was tight, Bela was back, Similak Chyld was rolling, but Gomez was the heat. It was one of those moments where my only previous encounter with these guys was on the CD player. The fellas from England brought amazing lyrics, towering vocals, and tight playing. Did I mention their vocals are sublime? Their tightness was a nice contrast to the long play of the majority of the bands and the "Soul Kitchen" and "Going Out West" with Antibalas Horns was a fabulous ending to their last show. Hey Julie McCoy! More bands like this next year...

William Fenner (Returning Jam Cruise passenger, 51 year old engineer)

1. Catching the Critters Buggin show in the Lirica Lounge and being just blown away by Skerik's oh-so intense sax work against the pounding pulsating drum work from his band mates drum circle. T hat is still resonating through my soul.

2. Being on the beach in the fisherman's village at Costa Maya and watching the entire beach become a mini festival with a beautiful white sand beach and the cruise ship at port in the distance.

3. The second day at the end of his show (at 4 a.m.) when the crowd is asking, screaming & pleading for more, Karl Denson advised the crowd to "pace yourself". That became our catch phrase for the cruise.

3a. At our last sit down dinner our waiter (who we had dinner with every day by our choice) had tears in his eyes as we said good-bye and told us in very broken English how this was the best cruise he had ever seen.

Gabby La La & Mike Dillon - Photo by Dave Vann

Mike Dillon (Critters Buggin, Les Claypool)

1. Skerik dissing the pizza during the Critters set, last day at sea.
2. The Lee Boys Rocking out first day at sea.
3. Drinking Espresso.

Photo by Weintrob


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