Jam Cruise 16 was one for the books, offering up one of the best editions of the music cruise since its start in 2004. Aboard a new boat, the Norwegian Jade, fans and musicians alike embarked on a loop around the Carribean after leaving port from Miami, on January 17th, 2018. Two music-packed days at sea bookended the five-night voyage in between stops at Roatan, Honduras, and the Grand Cayman Islands before Jam Cruise returned to Miami on the morning of January 22nd.
The stacked lineup featured a huge range of artists, including Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood, Galactic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Maceo Parker, Lotus, Electron, Lettuce, Steel Pulse, Keller Williams, Voodoo Dead (Steve Kimock, Anders Osborne, Jeff Chimenti, George Porter Jr., John Kimock), The New Mastersounds, Dumpstaphunk, Antibalas, Turkuaz, The Marcus King Band, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Con Brio, The Main Squeeze, Naughty Professor feat. Chali 2na, Andy Frasco & The U.N., Aqueous, and more.
Jam Cruise 16 also hosted a number of all-time super jams, ranging from Robert Randolph’s super jam on the final night on the main stage, to a fan-favorite performance by Everyone Orchestra in the Stardust Theater, to late-night (into the early morning) sets in the Jam Room hosted by George Porter Jr., Jennifer Hartswick, Roosevelt Collier, Dan Lebowitz, and Michelangelo Carruba. Outside of these, the event also saw nightly jazz jams curated by the likes of Shira Elias, Eddie Roberts, Skerik, DJ Logic, and Mike Dillon, though these performances frequently took on a life of their own and ranged outside the constraints of typical “jazz” performances.
Of course, while the music stands out, as Jam Cruise frequently hosts some of the greatest musical moments of the year, the main draw and beauty of the event is the close community it draws together. Jam Cruise offers fans the chance to connect with their favorite musicians on a more personal level, through events like a poker tournament (hosted by Ivan Neville), ping pong tournament (hosted by Pigeons Playing Ping Pong), curry “jam” (hosted by chef Archna Malhotra and featuring a number of artists onboard), and more. However, outside of these curated events, considering that everyone onboard calls the boat home for the better part of a week, there is a unique sense of camaraderie that is exceptional for any musical event—new friends are made, new bands discovered, and magical moments created.
You can relive some of these special moments below, with an extensive photo gallery from Jam Cruise provided by Dave Vann. Enjoy, and see you next year!