Covers sell: After a day on dry land in Costa Maya, Mexico, we once again set sail as the Infamous Stringdusters served their Pool Deck crowd a hearty serving of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by The Band. Later that evening, under a star-filled sky, Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath invited both Skerik and Mike Dillon to the stage to join their horn and percussion sections to augment their already energizing funk interpretations of Black Sabbath. Their lead singer could stand to cut back on his on-stage banter but both his pipes and showmanship were extraordinary.
Below decks, while Ivan Neville hosted his annual poker tournament, former-Motet frontman Jans Ingber cohosted a yoga session in the room next door. Down the hall, Djembe Master Weedie Braimah was in the middle of leading an event that was part instruction and all dance. While a crew of the finer percussionists on board joined Braimah on rhythm, women in attendance were taught how to participate in a traditional dance ritual that has historically been a right of passage for young women in parts of Africa.
Jazz beats Jam: Mike Dillon hauled ass from Brownout to the Jazz Bar where it was his turn to host a marathon jam that climaxed with the pairing of Dillon with Galactic’s Stanton Moore (drums) and keyboard alchemist Marco Benevento. For the second year in a row it seems as though the Jazz Lounge is stealing the Jam Room’s thunder. Last night Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff (guitar) of Lettuce hosted the late night Jam Room set and it was one of the weakest Jam Room sessions of the past several years. It was unorganized, technically sloppy and on a cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” (already a song beaten to death in the Jam Room) it seemed as though the tempo kept getting slower and slower. As for the guests that joined him, let’s just say it was clear he wasn’t stacked with a deep bench.
God Only Knows: Arguably the best set of the past three days was the solo piano set in the Atrium masterfully executed by Snarky Puppy’s Corey Henry (keys). On yesterday’s post we talked about some of the features that make him such a preternatural talent and those traits were amplified when he held down the fort on his own. After closing his set with a take on The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” Henry notified his three-story audience that he wanted to do a favor for a friend he just met on Jam Cruise. That’s when a fellah from the front row stood up in front of the audience, got down on one knee, and proposed to his girlfriend. She said yes, tears were shed, faces were sucked and a new family was born. While Jam Cruise engagements aren’t anything new, they always reaffirm the power of the energy between these steal beams.
As of press time, Eric McFadden is slated to kick off hosting duties in the Jam Room while Lettuce plays into the early morning in the Pantheon Theater. Tomorrow brings a port of call in Cozumel, Mexico, an unofficial Star Wars costume theme and a late night set by Snarky Puppy that is more than worthy of the hype.
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