From the Dock to Our Desks: Jam Cruise Collaborations
On Friday the fourth Jam Cruise returned ashore after a voyage to Jamaica, the Grand Cayman Islands and Mexico. Over the six days, countless collaborations took place throughout the ships multiple performances spaces, often on the ships aptly dubbed jazz/jam-stage. Jam Cruise also saw the return of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, who performed its first pair of shows since beginning its year-long road hiatus in 2004. In addition to offering material for its recently released album with the Felcktones_The Hidden Land_, Victor Wooten made a surprise appearance with the Lee Boys during a gospel themed jam-session Sunday. According to reports, the weeks breakout performance was a unique collaboration featuring Umphreys McGees Jake Cinninnger, Kris Myers and Brendan Bayliss, alongside the Disco Biscuits Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein. Performing as the Brain Damaged Eggmen, the quintet offered a pair of sets, one devoted to Pink Floyd and another to the Beatles. As out embedded reporter David Steinberg points out this might be the first time the following six words have ever been uttered: the maturity of the Disco Biscuits helped calm down the ADD stylings.
While sit-ins were easier to find than all you can eat buffets, a few particular appearances stood over the course of the six day voyage. Of note, Steve Kimock sat in with New Monsoon for its entire final, 90-minute performance. On After Midnight, Reggie Watts also bolstered the Kimock-enhanced group. String Cheese Incidents Jason Hann, who took home the cruises collaboration award, also sat in for the entirety of two of New Monsoons three shows. On a sad note, New Monsoon dedicated its performance to its longtime friend Missy, who died in a car accident last week.
Throughout the weekend, several musicians also tried out different instruments. During a late night power jam with Rodney Holmes and Steve Kimock, Eric Krasno provide his considerable his bass-skills, while Michael Kang fashioned himself a DJ during the ships final hours.
Umphreys McGee, who many considered by many to be last years breakout performance, returned for two poolside shows this year. On the heels of their joint New Years Eve performance, Keller Williams joined the group during its first performance for David Bowies Fame and Play This, later yielding to Jennifer Hartswick and Cheme for Memphis Underground. The horn section of Hartswick and Jeff Coffin then emerged during the groups second a few nights later adding some extra um, umph, to Tell Me Something Good. During a drum jam leading out of Jimmy Stewart Jamie Janover, and Jason Hann also joined Umphreys McGees tandem percussion section, while the rest of the groups lineup slipped offstage.
Custom designed for collaboration, the ever changing Everyone Orchestra served as a springboard for countless collaborations during its two free-form performances.
Alongside founder/facilitator Matt Butler, the Everyone Orchestras Sunday show featured appearances by String Cheese Incidents Kyle Hollingsworth, Michael Travis, and Jason Hann, Umphreys McGees Joel Cummins, Critters Buggins Brad Houser, the Flecktones Jeff Coffin, the Honkytonk Homeslice duo of Billy and Jilian Nershi, Jennifer Hartswick, Steve Kimock, JFJOs Reed Mathis and Jamie Janover. During the performance, Michael Travis spotted Steve Kimock Band drummer Rodney Holmes in the front row, and stepped out from behind his left handed kit to bring Holmes onstage.. While the band improvised without drums, Jason Hann, Travis, and Holmes all flipped their drums around on the Travis kit, as Homes a right-handed drummer. Through environmental advocacy group, Rock the Earth, the Everyone Orchestra allowed a fundraising raffle winner the chance to guest conduct the Orchestra with a passenger named Burton taking the nights honors.
Thursday evening’s Everyone Orchestra featured a more electric lineup including New Monsoons Rajiv Parikh and Brian Carey, Honytonk Homeslices Scott Law, Tiny Universes Karl Denson, Brian Jordan and Carlos Washington, The Lee Boys Roosevelt Collier, Jennifer Hartswick, PFunks Kim Manning, Zillas Aaron Holstein, the Disco Biscuits Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner, Reggie Watts, Robert Walter, Umphreys McGees Joel Cummins, String Cheese Incidents Jason Hann, Jamie Janover, Galactics Stanton Moore and Souleye.
Be sure to check out David Steinbergs full report below and be on the lookout for Jeff Wafuls photo essay in the near future.