Jam Cruise Day Five: Maceo’s Super Jam, A Mini-Meters Reunion
Music continued until Jam Cruise 9 returned to Ft. Lauderdale, FL at around 5 AM this morning. As the ship neared land, Wyllys DJed in the S32 Disco while many of Jam Cruise’s marquee names performed for the final time in Jam Room. Hosted by Steve Kimock, the jam segment featured an eclectic mix of performers, including New Orleans drummer Johnny Vidacovich, ALO guitarist Dan Lebowitz, trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick and saxophonist Karl Denson, among others. In addition, Kimock offered a duet with Mickey Hart and super group featuring Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, Meters bassist George Porter Jr., God Street Wine guitarist Aaron Maxwell, keyboardist Marco Benevento and Lettuce’s Adam Deitch (who took a rare stab at keyboards). Porter and Kreutzmann also revisited the Grateful Dead’s “Sugaree,” a song Porter discovered and fell in love with by playing with 7 Walkers.
The jam session capped off a collaboration-heavy day that kicked off with a set by The Pimps of Joytime on the ship’s Pool Deck. Both keyboardist Ivan Neville and Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli showed their approval of the young funk band by sitting in during the set. Soon after, Nathan Moore and his songwriting partner Bryan Elijah Smith offered a short set on the ship’s eco-friendly Solar Stage that included their third version of a special song written onboard Jam Cruise. Cruise veterans ALO followed with an extended set on the Pool Deck stage that featured a diverse mix of guests: Mother Hips/Rhythm Devil Tim Bluhm, singer/songwriter Nicki Bluhm and Living Colour singer Corey Glover. The Bluhms emerged first for a version of “Stick With Me” off Nicki’s forthcoming solo album (which features contributions from the members of ALO and Railroad Earth among others). Glover appeared later in the set for a take on Living Colour’s “Glamour Boys,” a song the members of ALO covered together in a previous incarnation of the band while in high school. Wyllys and Perpetual Groove guitarist Brock Butler performed a few yards away after and brought out Umphrey’s McGee keyboardist Joel Cummins for a few songs. Wyllys also invited out a few “friends he met because of Phish”—including Hidden Track editor Scott Bernstein—to sing backup on a cover of Phish’s “Sanity.” Cummins also offered his own solo piano set in the ships’ grand atrium that included a take on “In the Kitchen” with Van Ghost’s Michael Berg on vocals.
Later in the day, guitarist Anders Osborne appeared on the Pool Deck with George Porter Jr. and Vidacovich, as well as special guests Neville, Nocentelli and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux. (who made a rare appearance without his Mardi Gras Indian garb). The collaboration marked the first time Nocentelli and Porter—two of the four founding members of The Meters—shared the stage onboard the cruise. Meanwhile. Matt Butler conducted a special Everyone Orchestra performance for passengers who paid to offset their carbon footprint. The improvisational segment featured all four members of ALO, Jennifer Hartswick, the Lee Boys’ Roosevelt Collier, Steve Kimock, Rob Wasserman, Van Ghost’s Mike Berg, American Idol star Taylor Hicks and others. Near the end of performance, longtime jamband scene publicist Dave Weissman proposed to his longtime girlfriend Heather onstage with the band (she said yes).
The members of the Everyone Orchestra then marched upstairs for Jam Cruise’s annual “all musician photo” on the ship’s deck. The photo led directly into Maceo Parker’s Super Jam, which featured Parker and a rotating cast of musicians, including two other classic members of James Brown’s The J.B.‘s, Fred Wesley and Pee Wee Ellis. A slew of others artists also appeared, including Nocentelli, Porter, Robert Walter, Stanton Moore, Taylor Hicks, Big Sam Williams, Karl Denson, Will Bernard, Eric Krasno, Lettuce bassist Erick “E.D.” Coomes, Lettuce drummer Adam Deitch and The Lettuce Horns. The performance brought together multiple members of The Meters and James Brown’s band for the first time in recent memory. After an Awards Show where Big Sam took home the ship’s sit in award and Collier was awarded the “jammiest” performer onboard—Robert Randolph performed with the Family Band. The show found Hicks sitting in on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” as well as Collier, Eric Krasno and Glover. Lotus then closed the Pool Deck stage with a midnight set that also featured Collier on pedal steel.
The Rhythm Devils and Galactic closed Jam Cruise’s entertainment in the Teatro Carlo Felice. Steve Kimock sat in with The Rhythm Devils throughout its set and George Porter Jr. emerged for a jam that led into a jam based around “That’s It For the Other One.” Kimock performed during both The Rhythm Devils’ sets as well as both of Bob Weir’s shows earlier in the week. Galactic—the only band to perform on each Jam Cruise—also welcomed a number of the ship’s musical passengers, including Collier, Big Sam, Will Bernard, Rebirth Brass Band’s Coney Henry and all four members of ALO (who sang with the group). Likewise, Glover—who came onboard as a vocalist for Galactic—sang on a number of songs, including Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”