Jam Cruise Day 5: Galactic, Everyone Orchestra, Marco Benevento, New Mastersounds, Toubab Krewe and More
Music continued deep into Saturday morning as Jam Cruise 10 made its way back to Ft. Lauderdale. Hosted by New Mastersounds guitarist Eddie Roberts, the cruise’s final Jam Room opened with a stealth performances by Roberts’ new project featuring drummer Adam Deitch and keyboardist Robert Walter. As Deitch and Walter left the stage, countless additional players joined Roberts for the week’s last official show, including Big Sam Williams, Slip/Surprise Me Mr. Davis drummer Andrew Barr, Perpetual Groove drummer Albert Shuttle, New Mastersounds bassist Pete Shand, New Mastersounds keyboardist Joe Tatton, members of Toubab Krewe, and many others. Meanwhile, on an outside walkway located near the Jam Room, Surprise Me Mr. Davis frontman Nathan Moore and Slip/Surprise Me Mr. Davis guitarist Brad Barr hosted their third consecutive, unannounced troubadour session (Barr and Moore were spotted in their regular outdoor walkway spot as late at 6AM the night before running through covers with Ryan Montbleau). The duo performed a range of covers and originals with guests like Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone, Greensky Bluegrass’ Anders Beck, Andrew Barr and many more joining in from time to time. Moore and Barr performed until 8 PM, including a short tribute to Jerry Garcia consisting of songs like “Friend of the Devil” and “Brown-Eyed Woman.” Barr introduced the number by saying, “None of us would be here if it was not for Jerry.”
The late night hootenanny brought the day’s festivities full circle since Surprise Me Mr. Davis actually played Friday’s first show on the ship’s outdoor pool deck stage at 11: 15 AM. The quintet—which includes Moore, The Slip and Marco Benevento—opened with a fitting version of their song “Sleepyhead” with Carbone on fiddle and also brought out Benevento’s young daughter Ruby to play keyboards alongside her dad (in a more memorable moment Brad Barr musically sparred with the young keyboardist). Later in their set, Davis also invited out Jessica Lurie for “Poor Boy” and brought Carbone back for another few songs including “When a Woman Cuts Your Hair.”
The afternoon’s other pool deck activities featured some of the ship’s emerging bands. LA funk group Orgone—who have been around for a decade but only recently broke out on the national circuit—performed to swelling audiences on the ship’s pool deck stage while Toubab Krewe played a surprise set as part of the cruise pool party. The pool party also featured a few pun-filled games like Marco Polo (led by Marco Benevento) and Simon Says (led by New Mastersounds drummer Simon Allen). Soon after, Ryan Montbleau played a soul-filled acoustic set on the ship’s Solar Stage with special guest Greensky Bluegrass mandolin wiz Paul Hoffman . Perpetual Groove guitarist Brock Butler also offered an acoustic show on the Solar Stage with Gary Paulo on saxophone and (his annual take on Talking Heads’ “Native Melody” was a highlight). Another afternoon treat was Railroad Earth’s pool deck stage show, which featured Karl Denson on saxophone for “Mighty River.”
Every Jam Cruise, Matt Butler leads a Positive Legacy benefit Everyone Orchestra jam in the ship’s Teatro Carlo Felice. Drawing from both the ship’s jam and jazz/funk contingents, this incarnation of the Everyone Orchestra featured a staggering numbers of musicians over the course of the 90-minute set: Steve Kimock, Umphrey’s McGee keyboardist Joel Cummins, Anders Beck, That 1 Guy, Mike Dillon, Andrew Barr, Brad Barr and Perpetual Groove drummer Albert Shuttle as well as members of New Mastersounds, Toubab Krewe, Orgone and others. The entire cast then marched up to the ship’s pool deck for photographer Michael Weintrob’s annual Jam Cruise version of the A Great Day in Harlem photo. The photo shoot led into the ship’s annual super jam. Hosted by Dumpstaphunk bassist Tony Hall—a onetime member of Trey Anastasio Band and Dave Matthews & Friends—the set drew in most the weekend’s funk heavy hitters: Ivan Neville, Eric Krasno, Dumpstaphunk’s Nick Daniels Karl Denson, Ian Neville, the members of Galactic, Neal Evans, Alan Evans, Skerik, Adam Deitch, Nigel Hall, Big Sam Williams and many others. Living Colour singer Corey Glover—who is onboard with Galactic—also joined in the festivities.
During the evening’s designated break, Marco Benevento entertained fans in the ship’s atrium with a solo piano set. The keyboardist drew from his extensive stable of covers like My Morning Jacket’s “Golden,” The Knife’s “Heartbeats,” Ween’s “Baby Bitch,” Pink Floyd’s “Fearless” and Phish’s “My Friend, My Friend,” the latter of which was dedicated to Phish lighting designer Chris Kuroda—who is on the ship—and was preceded by a bit of Phish’s “Magilla.” He also performed some of his original songs like “The Real Morning Party,” which he described as a song “he sings a lot at home” and included a dance routine by his young daughters. The Jam Cruise staff also hosted the week’s annual award ceremony where Orgone won “sleeper set” of the festival and Big Sam took home the week’s coveted sit in award for the second year in a row.
Though billed as a regular set, the Soulive show that followed might as well have been a second power jam. Throughout the performance, no less than Trombone Shorty, Karl Denson, Skerik, Big Sam and the Lettuce Horns section added some extra brass while Robert Walter and Nigel Hall sat in on keys. Hall also fronted the band for a spell as he did when he first started working with Soulive’s Royal Family records. Trombone Shorty also admitted to Krasno that he loved Soulive’s song “Turn it Out” and that he wanted to steal part of it for his next record. Chris Kuroda also sat in on lights throughout the entire show.
Elsewhere on the boat, reggae legends Toots & the Maytals performed in the Teatro Carlo Felice. For the second show in a row, Toots invited some Jam Cruise musicians to sit in during his set. This time Anders Osborne played guitar. Though Toots Hibbert did not know his name, he gave him room to solo and positively described Osborne as “you bad, man.” The Heavy Pets—who opened the Zebra Bar on Monday—closed out the stripped room with a trance-influenced, Sublime-sounding show that featured cameos by Big Sam, The Lee Boys’ Roosevelt Collier and Perpetual Groove drummer Albert Shuttle. DJ Logic also spun in the ship’s disco.
Jam Cruise’s final marquee shows featured two very different types of roots music. On the ship’s pool deck stage, Toubab Krewe offered their trademark mix of native West African sounds and southern rock. The members of Toubab Krewe boarded Jam Cruise with an expanded ensemble that included members of the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars and other friends (the band mentioned from the stage that they plan to raise money through Kickstarter to record a Toubab Krewe Orchestra album in Mali with a variation of this big band). The band’s line-up swelled a few times during the set too: Soulive’s Eric Krasno and Alan Evans emerged in tandem while Roosevelt Collier sat in on pedal steel. Not content to sit still after his award, Big Sam also took the stage with Toubab Krewe for his final pool deck show. For his second unexpected cover of the weekend, Ryan Montbleau also emerged for a cover of Foster the People’s ubiquitous “Pumped Up Kicks.”
A few floors down, Galactic—the only band to play every Jam Cruise—held court in the Teatro Carloe Felice. The group’s guest list nodded to their recent hip-hop, New Orleans and Brazilian-flavored albums. At one point, the entire Dirty Dozen Brass Band horn section—including onetime member Big Sam—emerged (the band described Dirty Dozen as their heroes). Later on, Jurassic 5 MC Chali 2na sat in for some material off Galactic’s hip-hop disc From the Corner to the Block while Living Color’s Corey Glover fronted the band for some of their more recent tunes. Roosevelt Collier, Mike Dillon and Nigel Hall also emerged throughout the late night show.
As the sun peaked out over Ft. Lauderdale, Brock Butler performed one of his now customary surprise acoustic sets on the ship’s pool deck. Fans and passengers started to disembark from the ship around 11: 30 AM but not before Jam Cruise’s Annabel Lukins gave the crowd some more good news: Papa Mali has just left the ship when he heard his wife went into labor, and he is about to welcome another child.