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Published: 2015/01/09

Jam Cruise Day Three: Galactic, The Word, Pretty Lights and More

Photo: Dave Vann

Yesterday on Jam Cruise saw the boat dock for the day in beautiful Roatan, Honduras under mostly sunny skies for the first time all week. While fans were out and about participating in excursions and whatnot, the music would start later in the day at the all aboard signal as Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires hit the stage. Bradley’s unique delivery style captivated the pool deck audience as the singer serenaded the crowd on his tunes as well as an interesting cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.”

For those who weren’t quite ready for music just yet, there were other interesting offerings around the boat. For starters, Kung Fu and Lettuce battled in an entertaining ping pong match that saw Lettuce edge out their fellow brothers in funk by one point. In the Black Crab Restaurant, Ivan Neville also hosted his annual Texas Hold’ Em Tournament.

After the ping pong matches were decided and a champion poker player anointed, Galactic took to the stage on the pool deck with a guest-filled setlist starting with Mike Dillon, who would sit in for the whole set. Sax player Ben Ellman would routinely shoutout his (and their) native New Orleans as the band trotted out some of the best and brightest from the Crescent City aboard the ship. Guests would include Charlie Gabriel of Preservation Hall Jazz Band, vocalist Erica Falls, Papa Mali, George Porter Jr., John Gros, Carly Meyers, Ivan Neville and The Revivalists’ David Shaw.

Falls was a recurring guest throughout, adding vocals to several tunes including a cover of Tina Turner’s “I Can’t Stand the Rain” played, appropriately enough, as rain began to pour on the crowd. Trombonist Carly Meyers would become an instant fan favorite, pushing the energy to an unreachable level with her playing and interaction with the rest of the band. Porter Jr., who was in a walking boot, locked in with drummer Stanton Moore for a jam that included teases of Chuck Brown’s “Bustin’ Loose.” As for The Revivalists’ frontman, who has already jammed with the M&M’s this week, Shaw closed the set by fronting Galactic through a cover of Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.”

Another one of the late night highlights came in the Jazz Room as John Scofield put together an all-star revolving cast of musicians for a jazz-inspired superjam that featured appearances from Karl Denson, Oteil Burbridge, George Porter Jr., John Gros, Nigel Hall, Stanton Moore, Corey Henry and the Snarky Puppy horns (who will host the Jazz Room themselves tonight). The revolving ensemble saw a variety of jams with different lineups and musicians arriving periodically to play on the tiny and crowded stage. At one point, Scofield even left the stage for a short break, allowing for Karl Denson, Stanton Moore, John Gros and the Snarky Puppy horns to take over for a brief moment.

Those not in the Jazz Room could be found in the Pantheon Theater where Pretty Lights was playing with his live band. Flanked by Eric Krasno, Adam Deitch, Eric Bloom, Scott Flynn, Borahm Lee and Brian Coogan, the DJ delivered an energetic set with a full-on laser light show and instrumentation. The highlight of the set came with a sit-in from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band horns, who combined with the Pretty Lights horns for an around-the-horn jam with each taking a solo over the sample.

As the night wound to a close, The Word was over on the pool deck jamming with the likes of Roosevelt Collier, Jennifer Hartswick and George Porter Jr. as the ensemble played their second set of the cruise. The Motet took the crowd into the morning in the Pantheon Theater with their second of the week while Robert Walter hosted the Jam Room and Marc Brownstein manned the DJ booth in the Disco Room until near sunrise.

Another moment of note occurred early in the morning as Nathan Moore, Anders Beck and The Shook Twins helped a cruiser propose to his girlfriend to the tune of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” After she said ‘yes,’ those in attendance celebrated with more acoustic renditions of Bill Withers songs and additional covers.

Today on Jam Cruise, the ship will dock in Costa Maya, Mexico with scheduled sets from The Revivalists, John Scofield’s Uberjam Band, Umphrey’s McGee, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Lettuce and a Snarky Puppy-curated Jazz Room and Roosevelt Collier leading the charge in the Jam Room.

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