Words By: Scott Bernstein
Jam Cruise :: Day Four :: 1.7.14 :: Miami, FL
Check out Scotty B’s and Andrew Bruss’s review of day three below gallery!
**Review Part 1 -By: Scott Bernstein
Jam Cruise 12 continued on Tuesday for its second “Day At Sea” as we steam towards the Bahamas, where Warren Haynes will perform on the beach for Jam Cruisers. I wanted to fill you on some of Tuesday’s early action since there’s been plenty of news aboard the boat.
The music started early on Tuesday with San Francisco funk and soul act The Monophonics and ALO kicking off the action on the Pool Deck Stage. ALO’s happy brand of rock was the perfect soundtrack for a gorgeous 80 degree day under the sun while gliding on the water. The sit-ins started early with Will Bernard coming out to join the quartet for a fitting cover of ’70s staple “Afternoon Delight.” Later, Jen Hartswick reprised her star turn from Incidental Animals’s brief debut tour by belting out Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns’s “Piece Of My Heart” (though you’re probably more familiar with the Janis Joplin version). Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass and Roosevelt Collier engaged in a slide/steel duel in between verses.
Brock Butler was supposed to be the afternoon’s first performer on the smaller Magic Hat Solar Stage. Butler couldn’t make it, so the set was turned over to the trusted hands of American Babies/Brothers Past front man Tom Hamilton. Hamilton was joined by Aron Magner drummer John Morgan Kimock and bassist Chris Chew for a breezy version of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and a bluesy run through “Franklin’s Tower” to start the set. George Porter Jr. subbed in for Chew and Steve Kimock added guitar on “Sugaree” and “Turn On Your Lovelight” to close out the afternoon’s initial surprise set.
Orgone was up next on the Pool Deck Stage and the Los Angeles based band continues to win new fans with their potent brand of brassy, high-impact soul music. The eight-piece provided just the dance party many Jam Cruisers were looking in the dead of the afternoon. A high point of the 75-minute set came when Orgone brought out members of the MarchForth Marching Band for an intense romp on The Ides Of March’s one-hit wonder from the ’70s -“Vehicle.”
Tuesday’s second big surprise set also took place on the Magic Hat Solar Stage. Pork Tornado’s slot was turned over to Electron for 75 minutes of jamtronica. Hamilton, who all of the sudden was the day’s big star even though he wasn’t originally on the schedule to perform, showed off impressive chops throughout the set, especially on the “Little Lai” opener. Electron was still on stage as of press time.
**Review Part 2 -By: Andrew Bruss
JamBase correspondent Andrew Bruss is aboard Jam Cruise to cover the Masters Camp At Sea program, which brings together faculty members Kofi Burbridge, Col. Bruce Hampton, Butch Trucks, Luther and Cody Dickinson and Victor Wooten to teach Jam Cruising students looking to learn from the legends. Andrew will file a full report next week on the program and will also provide a recap of tonight’s musical performances, so check back tomorrow for more from Jam Cruise 12.
By Day 4 of Jam Cruise, the exceptionally professional staff of the MSC Divina had bought into the party mentality and were getting down on the dance floor during The Revivalists’s late night set on the Pool Deck. Joining the New Orleans-based band at various points in the set were George Porter Jr., Roosevelt Collier and Billy Iuso. Jam Cruise 12 marked the funk-heavy rock act’s first time on the boat, but the roar of approval they elicited from the crowd makes it pretty clear it will not be their last. During The Revivalists’s two sets, as well as those of Galactic, vocalist David Shaw established himself as one of the premier frontmen on the boat. Whether he was hitting the high notes, drawing in his audience or wailing on the blues harp, he made a solid case for Rookie of the Year.
The single greatest musical moment of the day was only witnessed by a few dozen people, but it was a moment not a single one of them is likely to forget any time soon. The Masters at Sea program is an educational opportunity for Jam Cruisers looking to improve their musical chops with the help of instructors like Victor Wooten and Butch Trucks from the Allman Brothers Band. At the end of the day’s course-load, Wooten (bass), Kofi Burbridge (keys) and Cody Dickinson (drums) welcomed Bill Evans (sax) and Stanley Jordan (guitar god) to the stage for a 15-minute instrumental version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” that was as artistically eloquent as it was technically proficient. One grown man in the audience literally shed tears of joy. Musical moments don’t get more beautiful than this one.
Participation in the Masters at Sea program for a forthcoming feature article made catching earlier performances during our second Day At Sea impractical, but as the sun began to set, Soulive’s Alan Evans kicked off a Super Jam that was designed to produce ear-to-ear grins. The roster consisted of members of Lettuce, The Revivalists, a little help from Rob Mercurio (bass) from Galactic, and a final act featuring Ivan Neville and Tony Hall of Dumpstaphunk with Jennifer Hartswick to keep things tight. Evans confirmed that the theme was Movie Night, and his setlist was arranged accordingly. Isaac Hayes’ “Theme From Shaft,” led into Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly.” Following his ode to Blacksploitation, Evans took his crew into Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall, Part II,” and got a rise from the crowd with “Big Bottom” from Spinal Tap. George Porter Jr. and the boys from Dumpstaphunk contributed to the best piece of the set, a one-two sing-a-long punch of Prince’s “Purple Rain” and “Let It Be” by The Beatles which also featured Hartswick on vocals.
Bootsy Collins followed Evans but the set didn’t pack the punch his first show of the cruise delivered. Collins got his start playing for James Brown and the showmanship and band leading techniques he utilizes are greatly influenced by the Godfather of Soul. While this is a compliment, these techniques don’t lend themselves to the improvisational prowess or setlist alterations Jam Cruisers expect from a headliner. Collins wasn’t the first iconic bassist of the trip to repeat his performance (we’re looking at you Claypool), and this took away the element of surprise. But when you have the voice, bass tone, backing band and song catalog of Bootsy Collins, you can afford to show your hand every once in a while.
The Pool Deck was all about funk on the fourth night and following Bootsy’s set, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe took things over with a little help from bass legend Victor Wooten. Wooten is on the boat as one of the teachers for the Masters At Sea program, and during one of his lectures he spoke about the concept of “musical courtesy” in regards to showing off other players skills and giving them time in the spotlight. He practiced what he preached following his sit-in with Karl D, shaking the hand of every single member of the band and thanking them for the opportunity to jam. Denson’s set was followed by the aforementioned face-melter by The Revivalists who then handed things over to Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk.
If the Pool Deck was all about dirty funk, the Pantheon Theater catered towards music lovers looking for a sound that was a bit farther outside of the box. Thievery Corporation once again fused sample-heavy dance music with globally minded arrangements for a dance party that drew a sizable chunk of Denson’s crowd into the depths of the ship. Lotus followed with their own set of disco-infused jamtronica that couldn’t have been easier to dance to. Just when their instrumentals were starting to grow stale, they welcomed rapper Mr. Lif to the stage to spice things up a bit.
The Jam Room is a thing of legend amongst Jam Cruisers. It’s where some of the best improv takes place and offers music lovers a chance to see once in a lifetime collaborations that are unlikely to ever take place on dry land. Over a half dozen levels below the Pool Deck, back in the booty of the boat, Lettuce drummer Adam Deitch hosted the room on Night Four following an earlier drum-off with Galactic’s Stanton Moore. In addition to his Lettuce band mates, Deitch welcomed both of his parents, both drummers, Bobby and Denise Deitch, to the stage to give him some auxiliary support.
As this report is being written, the Jam Room is pulsing with the bass-heavy beat of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man,” George Porter Jr. is waiting in the wings to take the stage and it doesn’t seem like things are coming to a close any time soon. Only on Jam Cruise do you feel like going to bed at 3:45 a.m. is early, but with a solo performance by Warren Haynes on a private island tomorrow morning, getting some shuteye might not be such a bad idea. The boat is rocking slightly but dry land is calling…
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