On Wednesday, January 17th, Jam Cruise 16 set sail from Miami, beginning a five-day musical excursion that will detour through Central America and the Carribean before returning to port on January 22nd. Following Friday night’s massive festivities, following a quick stop in The Grand Cayman Islands, Jam Cruise began the journey back to Miami.
Mid-afternoon, after all the cruisers returned to the ship from The Grand Cayman Islands, Con Brio kicked the musical madness off with an energized sail-away set. From there, Jam Cruise offered up sets by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Dumpstaphunk, Keller Williams, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Aqueous, and more. Closing out the night, Dan Lebowitz hosted a late-night yacht rock-themed jam session, which saw him collaborate with Jen Hartswick, Natalie Cressman, Shira Elias from Turkuaz, Simon Allen from The New Mastersounds, Ziek McCarter from Con Brio, and more.
With three or four sets of music running simultaneously throughout the night and into the early morning, it was impossible to catch everything. However, here’s a list of six of our favorite moments from Saturday, day 4, of Jam Cruise 2018. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more coverage of Jam Cruise before it heads back to port on Monday!
1. Andy Frasco & The U.N.
Andy Frasco might be the funniest man on the boat. During his set in the Spinnaker Lounge on Saturday, he had total command over the packed audience, cracking hilarious jokes throughout (“Is anyone else pissed you can’t watch porn on the cruise? I’m an adult!”), orchestrating a number of musical “battles,” and crowd surfing multiple times.
“It’s like a fucking variety show up here,” he said during the show before inviting a horn player from Naughty Professor to join him and the other dozen musicians he had on stage. His performance also saw him welcome Marcus King, Holly Bowling, and members of Steel Pulse, The Main Squeeze, Antibalas, and more. Highlights of the set were his cover of Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend” and the group’s explosive set-ending rendition of The Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House”.
2. Ivan Neville Atrium Set
Ivan Neville’s Atrium set was one of the biggest highlights of Jam Cruise day 4. During his soulful set that kicked off the festivities for the day, he invited numerous guests to join him, including the likes of George Porter Jr., Nick Daniels III, Nigel Hall, Tony Hall, Eric “Benny” Bloom, Alvin Ford Jr., Shira Elias, and Erica Falls. His set ranged from originals like “Money Talks” and “Not Just Another Girl” to an expansive set-ending run of covers. Closing out his set, he invited his guests to help him perform The Beatles’ “Imagine”, Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'”, Sly & The Family Stone’s “Everyday People”, and more.
3. Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
On the pool deck’s main stage, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe drew huge crowds with his tribute set to the Allman Brothers Band. In recent months, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe has been promoting a number of “Eat A Bunch Of Peaches” shows across the country, and it’s clear why. The musicians on stage looked like they were having a blast as they offered up takes on “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”, “Whippin’ Post”, and a blissful set-closing rendition of “Jessica”. During their set, Karl Denson also welcomed Marcus King to join him as well as trombonist Greg Boyer.
Turkuaz has been on a tear recently, and the group packed the stage of the Stardust Theater for their late-night set. Dressed to the nines and beyond tight as always, the band invited up former tourmate, Joe Tatton from The New Mastersounds, as well as jazz saxophonist Skerik. Stand out moments included the group’s take on Sly & The Family Stones’ “Babies Makin’ Babies” led by saxophonist and vocalist Josh Schwartz.
Ivan Neville certainly got a lot of performances in yesterday, with a nighttime Dumpstaphunk set following his solo acoustic Atrium show. During their show, the group welcomed up Nigel Hall, Maurice “Mo Betta” Brown, Greg Boyer, and more to help assist on a number of originals and funk-fueled covers. Standouts of the set included the group’s high-energy rendition of their original tune, “Turn This Thing Around”.
6. Eddie Roberts Jazz Night
In the Bliss Lounge on Saturday night, The New Mastersounds’ guitarist Eddied Roberts, was tasked with assembling an all-star crew for a jazz jam. Roberts certainly rose to the occasion, using his work with Green Is Beautiful, his tribute to prolific jazz-funk fusion guitarist Grant Green, to help build out the set. While many of the former jazz jam sets this week have loosely used the label “jazz,” instead frequently drifting more towards R&B or funk, Roberts went a more traditional route. His rotating cast member of musicians included the likes of his fellow New Mastersound Joe Tatton, as well as Mike Olmos, Chris Stillwell, and more.
[photo: Jam Cruise Facebook]