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Published: 2011/01/07
by Mike Greenhaus

Jam Cruise Day Three: Positive Legacy, Panic Pals and George’s Dream

The Jam Room back on Jam Cruise 7

Jam Cruise arrived in Roatan, Honduras at 10 AM Thursday morning. Surprise musical performances helped bridge the gap between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Perpetual Groove guitarist Brock Butler played one of his now signature three-hour sunrise acoustic sets on the ship’s pool deck. Soon after, Zach Deputy—one of the ship’s breakout artists—performed his own surprise early morning set on the deck for a few passengers who still weren’t ready to go to bed.

The music continued as passengers disembarked in Honduras. One group of musicians and passengers participated in the cruise’s Positive Legacy outreach trip to meet with local school children. Participants met with locals in Marine Park and handed out notebooks, pens and other school supplies to those in need. Through Positive Legacy, several passengers also donated eight used laptops to school. While passengers played with the children and shared some local food, artist Lebo painted a huge, colorful mural for the school. A local reggae group also performed a few songs for guests. Partway through their set, Fred Wesley and Pee Wee Ellis of James Brown’s horn section sat in with the band for a few selections (the local musicians didn’t know Wesley and Ellis by name but were aware of their legacy through their music). The set slowly segued into a set of continuous music by various artists on Jam Cruise who donated their time. The members of Pimps of Joytime played first and were followed by Nathan Moore and his songwriting partner Bryan Elijah Smith. ALO’s Zach Gill, Dan Lebowitz and Steve Adams backed Moore and Smith for most of their set—perhaps foreshadowing some future collaborations on their upcoming tour together later this month. ALO drummer and Everyone Orchestra leader Matt Butler then emerged for a short set of ALO songs.

Once back onboard, The Easy Star All-Stars played an outdoor set on the Pool Deck as the ship pulled away from Honduras. A Moog Workshop hosted by the Robert Moog Foundation followed in the ship’s Teatro Carlo Felice. Part workshop, part super jam, the 60-minute performance featured a brief overview of Moog’s instruments as well as a jam sessions featuring Wesley, Umphrey’s McGee keyboardist Joel Cummins, Royal Family keyboardist Nigel Hall, RANA/Some Cat from Japan guitarist Scott Metzger, Lotus bassist Jesse Miller, Lettuce/Pretty Lights drummer Adam Deitch and members of Pimps of Joytime. Meanwhile, ALO/Jack Johnson keyboardist Zach Gill was preparing to play a solo piano set in the ship’s grand, multi-level atrium. The piano player opened with MGMT’s “Kids” and proceeded to run through numerous sing-alongs by artists such as the Beatles (“Hey Jude,” “A Little Help from My Friends,” “Let it Be”), Journey (“Don’t Stop Believing”), The Eagles (“Hotel California”), Billy Joel (“My Life”), Prince (“Purple Rain”), Warren Zevon (“Lawyers Guns & Money”), Elton John (“Bennie & the Jets,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues”) and the Rolling Stones (“Loving Cup”),

The evening’s full lineup of music kicked off at 9 PM and the collaborations started soon after. Stockholm Syndrome—a band that isn’t known for sit-ins—performed on the ship’s Pool Deck and brought out Karl Denson while Greensky Bluegrass performed in the Teatro Carlo Felice with guests Joel Cummins and Steve Kimock. Zach Deputy continued to win over fans with a packed performance in the Zebra Bar that featured Big Sam on trombone for a few songs. Ivan Neville also showed off his drum skills on some tunes, including a unique medley of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” and “Ninja Rap.” Later in the night, JoJo Hermann performed in the same space with his Mardi Gras Band for a crowd that included his Widespread Panic bandmate Dave Schools. Though Schools did not sit in with Hermann, American Idol star—and Panic fan—Taylor Hicks played harmonica with the band on a few songs. Meanwhile, Lettuce performed in the nearby Teatro Carlo Felice with guests like Karl Denson and Living Colour’s Corey Glover, the latter of whom is onboard with Galactic. Nigel Hall—who often sings with Lettuce—filled in for Neil Evans on keyboards throughout the set.

Later in the night, Big Sam’s Funky National performed in the Zebra Bar—with Hermann sitting on keyboards and Hicks on harmonica and vocals—while electronic duo Big Gigantic won over a number of fans with a packed, outdoor Pool Deck show. As Thursday segued into Friday, George Porter Jr. held court in Jam Cruise’s loose Jam Room. In addition to drummer Johnny Vidacovich and keyboardist Ivan Neville, the set featured bassists like Nick Daniels and Rob Wasserman. Porter said his goal was to have “more bassists onstage than drummers for the first time.”

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