Yesterday evening, Jam Cruise 17 set sail from Miami, FL to begin a newly-expanded, six-day floating musical excursion that will make its way to Belize City, Belize as well as two different Mexican ports before returning to Florida on January 21st.
The opening day schedule wasted no time heating up once the ship left port, as the Jam Cruise faithful enjoyed performances by Matador! Soul Sounds, Leftover Salmon, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Toubab Krewe, The Motet, Umphrey’s McGee, Turkuaz, SunSquabi, and much more.
With several sets running simultaneously throughout most of the night, it was impossible to catch everything that went down onstage. However, here’s just a few of the most memorable moments from the first day of Jam Cruise 17. (You can also head to Live For Live Music‘s Instagram and Instagram stories to follow along in real time).
Sailing Away With Matador! Soul Sounds
Once everyone was settled in and briefed on safety protocols, it was time to get the show on the road (er…water) with a Pool Deck champagne toast and a sail away set from Matador! Soul Sounds. As the sun dipped below the fading Miami skyline, the relatively new project comprised of Eddie Roberts (The New Mastersounds), Alan Evans (Soulive), Chris Spies, Kevin Scott (Jimmy Herring), Adryon de León (Orgone), and Kimberly Dawson (Pimps of Joytime) took the stage for a tight, skillful performance. While the set appropriately showcased the individual abilities of each of the band’s talented members, de León was quick to clarify: This isn’t a supergroup. This is a real band. And they keep getting better.
Leftover Salmon Is “The Most Metal F*ckin Bluegrass Band You’ll Ever Meet In Your Goddamn Lives”
That caption above comes from Andy Frasco‘s introduction to the set, which opened the music schedule at the ship’s Stardust Theater. The band’s first Jam Crusie 17 set surely didn’t contradict that notion. With Frasco and members of his band, The U.N., still onstage after introducing Leftover Salmon, they charged into an opening fast-paced blues ode to the “Big Jam Cruise”. The energy never dipped from there as the band picked their way through the performance at lightning speed, welcoming guitarist Brandon “Taz” Niederauer and saxophonist Skerik at various points throughout the set.
Sister Sparrow Meets You All The Way…Rosanna
Sister Sparrow was the first band to take the stage at the Pool Deck once the sun went down, and they kicked the nighttime off right with a dance party in the cool ocean air. Among many highlights in the set was a sing-along rendition of Toto favorite, “Rosanna”, which the band and its charismatic frontwoman, Arleigh Kincheloe, infused with their own characteristic soulful spin. Later on in the set, they welcomed The Motet vocalist Lyle Divinsky for a surprise vocal duet.
Umphrey’s McGee Matches Blustering Wind With Searing Riffs…In A Jam Cruise Wasteland
Umphrey’s McGee opened their schedule on Jam Cruise 17 with a dark and dirty prog-rock performance on the Pool Deck, a stark contrast to the soul, funk, and bluegrass that preceded their set. That stylistic diversity was the perfect vessel to take this vessel, the Norwegian Jade, from evening into late-night. As always, the band played with the technical dexterity that’s earned them a reputation as one of the most talented groups of musicians on the scene. After a performance filled with notable Umphrey’s compositions, the band capped their set in chilly, whipping winds of the top deck with The Who‘s “Baba O’Reilly”.
Alan Evans Leads A Late-Night Beatles Jazz Jam
Following their set with Matador! Soul Sounds to kick off the cruise, Alan Evans and Eddie Roberts linked up once more for Evans’ late-night Jazz Lounge set. The intimate performance saw this creative cast of musicians take The Beatles‘ “A Day In The Life” on an extended instrumental improv journey. The whole segment had a similar feel to the Beatles covers frequently played by one of Evans’ other projects that doesn’t play together much these days, Soulive.
Check back tomorrow for more coverage from aboard Jam Cruise 17, and don’t forget to tune into Live For Live Music‘s Instagram stories to follow the action in real time.