Since 2000, The Jammys serve to honor the best in the jam world while also providing a venue for the scene’s unlikeliest of superstar mash-ups. The Best of the Jammys – Volume One showcases these daring collaborations from the 2006 event and prior. It’s only a snippet of the eclecticism, but captures some stars who usually reside just outside the noodle-heavy genre (e.g., Ryan Adams, Travis Tritt, Perry Farrell) alongside some of the best-known names in jam-rock (Phil Lesh, Mike Gordon, String Cheese Incident, etc.).
Organized by (music journalist, filmmaker, and former Wetlands Preserve owner) Peter Shapiro and Relix Magazine, the Jammys have been touted as “the Grammys of the jam world,” a description that downplays the magnitude, fun, and honor of this rather non-traditional awards show. Richie Havens kicks things off, backed by the Mutaytor (a 40-member band involving everything from drums to fire dancers, not all of which featured or fitting on the stage). And the reprise of his Woodstock-opening song “Freedom” sounds remarkably low-key for such forces being together with so much happening.
Former “Best New Groove” artists, The Benevento/Russo Duo (who now have quite the history and following) perform aside Les Claypool, Gabby La La and the aforementioned Gordon and Lesh in an exquisite rendition of Claypool’s Flying Frog Brigade tune “Dee’s Diner.” What one would assume to be a complete cluster-f*%k comes out well-orchestrated with the necessary improvisational touch to keep with the theme of the evening. Other notable moments include a washboard opening solo for “Psychedelic Sex Machine” by Cody Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars and Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Buddy Guy strutting his blues stuff with John Mayer, Lesh, and ?uestlove on “Hoochie Coochie Man."