Photos and Journal | Jam Cruise 13 | Day Three


Words by: Scott Bernstein
Images by: Joshua Timmermans

click here for day one’s recap and photos and click here for day two’s recap and photos

Jam Cruise 13 continued on Thursday with our first port stop in Roatan, Hondurus. Many cruisers disembarked the ship and either headed to a beach not far from the port, wandered around the nearby area or took part in one of the handful of excursions put together by the cruise line or by JC organizers Cloud 9 Adventures. When we gathered back on the ship before the 5 p.m. departure from Roatan, everyone had a different story about how they spent the day including a good number that caught up on sleep.

Before we dig in to Thursday’s action, there’s an interesting story from the boat that I missed earlier. Elephant Revival’s bassist had to deal with a family matter at home and wasn’t able to join his mates on Jam Cruise. The group called up Oteil Burbridge to fill in and The Allman Brothers Band bassist accepted the charges. With little time for preparation, Burbridge winged it on Wednesday night and showed off just how amazing of an ear he has. At the time, I didn’t know the back story and thought Oteil was an old friend of the band because of how seamlessly he fit in. I had no clue Burbridge was learning the tunes on the spot!

[Photo by: Joshua Timmerman]

When everyone was back aboard the boat, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires took the Pool Deck Stage just as the Divinia was setting sail from Hondurus to Mexico. Bradley’s emotional and gutsy vocals captured the attention of many Jam Cruisers. The highlight came when Charles and his talented band treated us to a heart-felt rendition of Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold.” Elsewhere around the boat in the late afternoon, Kung Fu faced off against Lettuce in an epic ping pong battle, while Ivan Neville hosted his annual poker tournament. Meanwhile, in the ship’s atrium, New Orleans fixture John Gros played a 45-minute (mostly) solo piano set that featured a sing-a- long to The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” It was a beautiful thing watching the crowd chime in with the song’s familiar “nah, nah nah nah, nah nahs.” Over at the extremely intimate Jazz Lounge, guitarist Steve Kimock led Jeff Chimenti, Andy Hess and Bill Vitt through a riveting batch of originals in front of an adoring crowd.

Snarky Puppy’s second set of the cruise took place in the theater, my favorite venue on the boat. The theater has a large floor and smaller balcony. No matter who is playing, you can always find a seat or three in the balcony to watch the show. That’s one of the many treats of Jam Cruise: you have all the space you want to dance or lounge out. One of the many high points of Snarky Puppy’s set was a cover of Parliament’s “Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)” featuring Nigel Hall who split lead vocal duties with the band’s Sean Martin.

[Photo by: Joshua Timmerman]

You can always count on Galactic, a band that has performed on each and every Jam Cruise, to bring their very best to the boat, and Thursday night’s Pool Deck Stage set was no exception. The skies opened up during the group’s set leading to a fitting version of “I Can’t Stand The Rain” sung by new Galactic collaborator Erica Falls, who showed off her soulful and exuberant vocals at various points during a set that also featured guest spots from the likes of George Porter Jr., John Gros, Carly Meyers and Ivan Neville. The set came to a close with The Revivalists front man David Shaw leading the charge on an impactful “All Along The Watchtower” as Stanton Moore was crushing away behind the kit.

John Scofield hosted a three-hour session in the Jazz Lounge that saw contributions from the likes of Hall, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Skerik and Mike Clark. The pickup band put together an insane take on Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” that needs to be heard to be believed. Mid-song, Oteil Burbridge passed bass duties over to Porter Jr. seamlessly as one legendary bassist passed the baton to another. The Jazz Lounge has been a big winner this trip and gives cruisers yet another incredible option during “prime time.”

[Photo by: Joshua Timmerman]

California Honeydrops drew a sizable crowd for their performance on the outdoor Solar Stage. The harmonies this band sang left me in awe and their impressive songwriting skills have made me a believer. Guests included Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass, Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz on tambourine and The Motet’s Jans Ingber on vocals. Pretty Lights and his live band then took the stage in the theater. The band features three members of Lettuce (Eric Bloom, Eric Krasno and Adam Deitch) and their signature brand of funk tied together nicely with the sample-heavy music of Pretty Lights. Members of Preservation Hall Jazz Band returned the favor of Wednesday’s Pretty Lights guest spot during their set by sitting in and taking a turn blowing over the samples laid down.

The Word’s second performance on the trip closed out the action at the Pool Deck Stage between 1 and 3 a.m. Robert Randolph was in particularly fine form throughout The Word’s joyous set, one that was well attended. Roosevelt Collier sat in for a good portion and Jennifer Hartswick and G. Love came out for a positively spiritual version of “Glory, Glory (Lay My Burden Down).”

[Photo by: Joshua Timmerman]

There were plenty of options late into the night including The Motet in the theater, where Ivan Neville and Nigel Hall were among the guests, Robert Walter holding court in the Jam Room with the likes of Eric Krasno, Rob Mercurio, Stanton Moore, DJ Williams and Mike Dillon, The Spot was kicking again with Nathan Moore and Benjy Eisen spinning tunes from the likes of Phish and the Grateful Dead at the infinity pool, and Disco Biscuits bassist Marc “Brownie” Brownstein playing a rare DJ set in the disco.

On Friday, the rest of Umphrey’s McGee boards the boat (Joel Cummins is already aboard), bringing their “fresh legs” to the Divinia for performances on the Pool Deck Stage and in the theater before we head back to Miami. Two more days to go! Stay tuned for more coverage.

JamBase | Day Three
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