On Tuesday evening, Jam Cruise 17 set sail from Miami, FL to begin a newly-expanded, six-day floating musical excursion that stopped in Belize on Thursday; Cozumel, Mexico on Friday; and Progreso, Mexico on Saturday. On Monday morning, following one final day of music today, the Norwegian Jade will dock back in Miami to bring the musical voyage to a close.
After cruisers returned from a day exploring Progreso, Saturday’s lineup on the ship featured performances by The Porter Trio, Melvin Seals, Andy Frasco & The U.N., Hot Tuna Electric w/ Steve Kimock, Star Kitchen, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, SunSquabi, ALO, The Motet, TAUK, and more.
With multiple sets running simultaneously throughout the day, night and well into Sunday morning, it was impossible to catch all the amazing performances and collaborations that went down onstage throughout the Norwegian Jade. However, here’s just a few of the most memorable moments from the penultimate day of Jam Cruise 17. (You can also head to Live For Live Music‘s Instagram and Instagram stories to follow along in real time).
George Porter Jr. Reminds Us He Loves Us At Sunset On The Pool Deck
Following a port day in Progreso, Mexico, The Porter Trio—comprised of George Porter Jr. (bass, vocals), Michael Lemmler (keys), and Terrence Houston (drums, vocals) took to the pool deck took to the Pool Deck for a sunset performance. The moving performance featured a number of classic The Meters tunes, as well as some later-vintage Porter songs like the beautifully wistful “Talkin’ Bout My Old Friends”, which featured a plea to tell each other we love one another while we still can (We love you too, George). They also worked through a number of crowd-pleasing covers including a rendition of “They Love Each Other” with help from Mike Dillon and Joe Marcinek and a fantastic “Turn On Your Love Light” with Dillon and Roosevelt Collier. Later, Porter and company welcomed the young Brandon “Taz” Niederauer to rip some guitar solos with the bass legend.
Melvin Seals Gathers An Unbelievable Crew For A Memorable Set In The Atrium
Following Porter’s set on the Pool Deck, JGB organ maestro Melvin Seals headed indoors to the Atrium for a solo piano set. However, seeing as this is Jam Cruise, the set turned out to be a not-so-solo affair. As Seals sat down at the piano, he introduced his band for the brief but memorable performance, including the likes of George Porter Jr, Jennifer Hartswick, Steve Kimock, Mike Dillon, and Sunshine Becker (JGB). Acknowledging his excitement at having Porter on the set, Seals opted to open with The Meters’ “Cissy Strut”, which saw each of the instrumentalists take a tasteful solo and flirted with a “Fire on the Mountain” jam before returning to the “Cissy” theme. As the set continued past its scheduled 8:15 stop time, Seals welcomed JGB guitarist Zach Nugent to lead the band through “The Harder They Come” and a set-closing “Deal”.
Andy Frasco & The U.N. Conga Line Around The Pool Deck With A Gaggle Of Guests
Frasco and Co’s Stardust Theater set has been the talk of the ship since they finished their set-closing second line parade to The Spot on Thursday night. Their Pool Deck set on Saturday evening continued the theme of rowdy, joyful collaboration as they welcomed yet another lengthy list of guests to join the party—from Taz to George Porter Jr. to Mike Dillon to Big Sam, Joe Marcinek, Tierinii Jackson (Southern Avenue), Josh Fairman (SunSquabi), Deshawn “D-Vibes” Alexander, The Sweet Lillies, Vince Herman, Skerik, and more. As always, the Frasco crew delivered a party for the ages, as Andy and the horns jumped down into the crowd for some Bar Mitzvah antics like and audience Horah, a conga line that made its way around the deck and up to the balcony, and more. The set also saw Frasco and company perform the title track from their forthcoming record, the bluegrass (Jewgrass?)-inspired “Change of Pace”.
Star Kitchen Welcomes Taz, Jen Hartswick, & More In The Spinnaker Lounge
Following their excellent Jam Cruise debut on the Pool Deck on day two, Star Kitchen—comprised of bassist Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits), guitarist Danny Mayer (Eric Krasno Band), keyboardist Rob Marscher (Addison Groove Project), and drummer Marlon Lewis (Lauryn Hill, John Legend)—mounted their highly anticipated second set in the Spinnaker Lounge on Saturday evening. The relatively new band once again showed that they mean business, welcoming guests like the Turkuaz Horns, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, and an extended stint from Jennifer Hartswick. Watch out for Star Kitchen when they come through your town in the near future. They are truly a band not to miss.
Karl Denson Plays Funk Preacher On The Pool Deck
While many of the highlights at Jam Cruise come in the form of surprise collaborations, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe made a statement with a mostly guest-less set (aside from percussive contributions by Mike Dillon). From his stable of brass and woodwind instruments to his engaging groove evangelism at the mic, Karl D and his team of talented players had the packed out Pool Deck dancing along and hanging on their every note from start to finish.
Erica Falls Recruits Some Of The Boat’s Baddest Vocalists For Her Jazz Lounge Soirée
As Karl D, ALO, and SunSquabi played their respective simultaneous sets throughout the boat, the lucky few who made their way the Bliss Lounge for Galactic’s Erica Falls‘ Jazz Lounge set caught a truly special performance by a crew of powerhouse vocalists, from Shira Elias (Turkuaz) to Tierinii Jackson (Southern Avenue) to Adryon de León and Kim Dawson (Matador! Soul Sounds). The backing band was no slouch either, as drummer Nikki Glaspie (The Nth Power), bassist Nate Edgar (The Nth Power), Michael Lemmler, Jay Cobb Anderson (Fruition), Mimi Naja (Fruition) and more rotated in to hold down the instrumentals. In addition to a number of soul classics, this badass band welcomed Lyle Divinsky (The Motet) to sing lead on a cover of “Skin Tight” by Ohio Players.
The Motet Gets Wet On The Pool Deck
We’ve been blessed with truly perfect weather on the ship all week, but as the sun set on Saturday night, grey clouds threatened to rain on Jam Cruise’s parade. While it held off for most of the evening, the skies finally opened during The Motet‘s late-night performance on the Pool Deck. How do you know a show is good? When it starts to rain midway through, and virtually nobody seeks cover. Even as the crowd revelled in the rain, the funky dance party “kept on don’t stopping,” making for a truly special Jam Cruise memory.
The Jam Cruise faithful is set to disembark in Miami first thing tomorrow morning, but we’ve got one more full day of music to enjoy together before then. Don’t forget to tune into Live For Live Music‘s Instagram stories to follow the action in real time.
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