A Jam Good Time: The Artist’s Perspective on Jam Cruise
Greg   January 27, 2014 at 1:55 pm   0 Comments

Jam Cruise 12 was one of the greatest musical experiences in years.  So many amazing bands together on a boat sailing through the Caribbean.  It really doesn’t get any better.  You’ve heard from fans on the boat about how much fun they had, you may have read reviews from the music community.  But what about the artists?  Check out what some of the musicians on board Jam Cruise had to say about their experience on the boat this year.


“I will go on record and say this Jam Cruise was the best yet. This was the sixth in a row for Ara and I and although I said I was going to take it easy, I did not.

From day one I played with nearly every one and had a wonderful time doing it. It began with Bonerama on the first day,  then Anders Osborne w/ Billy Iuso and Cyril Neville, Stanton Moore Trio w/Robert Walters and Will Bernard and at 2am on to the Jam Room where I was the jam host.  The last time I hosted we played 5 and a half hours straight from midnight to 5:30am when I said I quit gents and left the kids in the sand box. This year I once again I left at 5:30am 2nd day.

Day 3: From 6:30pm to 7:30pm Ara and I joined a room full of fans to see Stanley Jordan stand on a stage. He played his guitar with both hands  each doing their own things like each hand had it’s own brain.  I was awed and at one point in a song each hand took a solo at the same time like two players playing off each-other, I was about to lose it. DAMN’.  Later that day I took the stage for the first to two sets with John Popper, Adam Deitch, DJ Logic and Stanley Jordan a band that has never played together before that had no rehearsal and took the stage for a 90minute set of off the top of our heads musically. I was sure that set could not be outdone.

Day 4: I started my day with the Stanton Moore and Adam Deitch drum off it was a grab back to the old days and it was great, then the Alan Evans Super Jam sit-in was very nice.  I also played with the kids from home The Revivalists and Dumpstaphunk and with my last stop of the night around 3am in the Jam Room hosted by Adam Deitch

Day 5: There came another great unforgettable set of the same quality as the Popper Deitch Jordan DJ Logic set,  when I sat in with Warren Haynes and a 10 year old name Brandon Niederauer. OMG this kid stood toe to toe with Haynes and went for the gold I was losing my mind.

Next up the second set w/John Popper, Adam Deitch, DJ Logic Stanley Jordan and I on the pool deck for another 90 minutes that did not call on anything from the 1st set it was un-real and very musical.  I know we should have rehearsed and learned some songs that the kids in front of us knew but it was too much fun, to see music come together as we listened to each-other and played off of what we were hearing.  Bill Evans and Nikki Glaspie came up and joined us again one for the books. Thank You Annabel Lukins Stelling, smilin’.

After dinner, we packed put our bags out side our door Ara called it a night and I went to sit-in with Galactic and one more stop in the jam room actually in bed before 3:30am.

As I said in the beginning this was the best Jam Cruise to-date. I cant wait till we do it again in 2015. Pre Book you hear.”

—George Porter Jr. (The Meters)


“This was my first Jam Cruise and I must say, its is one of the most inspirational musical experiences I have ever had. Everyone played their heart out and really bonded with the crowd, where it really felt like the crowd was an extension of the bands!  To be able to get to know musicians on not just a musical level, but a social one as well, was very special. Most of the time you pass other musicians in airports, festivals, where we’re all moving pretty quickly to the next event. Jam Cruise allows us to play together, hang together, and create unforgettable experiences not soon to forget. ”

—Bill Evans (Soulgrass)


“I just returned from my third Jam Cruise and I have to say that this was the best one yet. This year, Jam Cruise upgraded to a larger ship named The Divina, which left most of us scratching our heads trying to figure out how something so large could stay afloat. I was also impressed by the lineup this year. The diversity of artists encouraged a lot of newcomers to get on the boat, especially in the younger age demographic. It was a blast to spend time with so many musicians and fans, including many that I have known for over a decade. One of my friends even organized a private excursion for us in Jamaica.  Exploring caves and tubing down turquoise water with amazing Jam Cruisers was truly an outstanding experience.

I was fortunate to play two shows with Lotus, one on the Pool Deck and the other in the Pantheon Theater. We recruited several impressive guests to sit in including Dominic Lalli, Roosevelt Collier, and Tom Hamilton. I also sat in with Conspirator and was able to squeeze in a surprise Electron set. I actually received several emails in the weeks leading up to the cruise from fans asking for an Electron show since all the members were on board with separate projects but I didn’t think the schedule would allow for it.  The feedback from the show was stellar and quite humbling.

I would like to congratulate Cloud 9 Adventures for throwing such a well-organized festival.  I can’t imagine the amount of time and energy it takes to put it all together when there are so many variables at hand.  Until next time!”

—Mike Greenfield (Lotus/Electron)


“One of the greatest moments this year was playing percussion and singing with the great Aston “Family Man” Barrett in Jamaica. Not only have I listened to his bass lines probably more than any bass player ever, but I think he’s is one if the great p-bass players who single handedly created a style of playing that defined a whole movement in music. I was playing very sparse percussion like on my favorite Dub tracks, a little cabasa, a little clave and he looked me in the eyes, smiled big and nodded in appreciation. That was it….. done…. All the affirmation I needed. I could have packed it in right there and been totally satisfied.

But…… then I would have missed…..

Another highlight this year was that I brought a Brazilian drum with me called a tan-tan that I could carry around and play. Needless to say, I was enjoying myself tremendously on the boat and I carried that drum with me from sit-ins to shows. After an awesome Dumpstaphunk set on the pool deck where I was dancing my ass off with an amazing group of dancers, I called out to all that could hear that we were parading to the Jam room. The impromptu parade started on the 14th floor with maybe 20 people following behind, dancing, clapping, humming……once we were about 5 floors down, I decided to stop and lead a little breakdown, dance moment, well the people started pouring in from all side and pretty soon what started as 20 had grown to about 100 and ready to JAM…. Harmonicas, saxophones, clapping, chanting, rapping, It kept growing, and getting more boisterous until the boat security shut us down!!

It’s the unexpected moments like those that make Jam Cruise unexplainable. I could show you pictures, I could play you recordings, I could show you the lineup but it just doesn’t explain the energy and enthusiasm that is created in those 5 days.”

—Jans Ingber (The Motet)


“I do not have the proper vocabulary to describe how incredible Jam Cruise is. To be surrounded by so much love, friends, musicians, talent, the nicest crew and even nicer fans all enjoying life to the fullest…all I can be is grateful. Galactic fans have hearts the size of Texas, and i have never been welcomed with wider, more loving arms by a fan base in my entire life. I cannot wait to experience it all over again next year, whether I am a hired musician or a participating fan.”

—Maggie Koerner (vocalist w/ Galactic)


“I love playing live, but I also get a ton of inspiration form watching good live music.  Usually, when we are on tour, we play shows with just one other act.  Of course, we also play festivals where there are a ton of other bands on the bill, but usually we get in, play our set, and get out.  It’s just the nature of being on tour… You gotta keep moving!  Jam Cruise on the other hand is 5 days, where besides playing your sets and sitting in with other musicians, you actually get to go see a ton of live music! On the road, this is quite the rarity!  Every time I do Jam Cruise I come home armed with inspiration, and in the end, that’s what it’s all about!!”

—Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz (ALO)


“First and foremost, there is nothing on the planet like Jam Cruise.  It’s the only time a musician can have a vacation (what’s that?) and play at the same time.  So many great artists and bands to hear and see.  So many fans to interact with, intimate, fun to the tenth power.  And to get rest.  That’s what I did.  I enjoyed every moment of it.  Can’t wait to do it again!!!”

—Nick Daniels III (Dumpstaphunk)


“Jam Cruise was the most amazing experience of my life. I Played with Gregg Allman in Daytona the night before, then we drove to Miami. I saw this huge ship and could not believe how nice it was. I brought my guitar because I was enrolled in Masters Camp at Sea. This camp was run by Butch Trucks, Luther and Cody Dickinson, Victor Wooten, Col. Bruce Hampton, and Kofi Burbridge. It was so good learning from them all week.

The first night we were standing by the stage and I met Robert Randolph. I went to the front of the stage and mid set he waved for me to come up onstage and play. It was so much fun. Things just got better from there after people saw that I could play. All the musicians and all the people were so nice to take a chance and let me play with them. I also got to play with The Revivalists, Anders Osborne, George Porter and Lettuce on stage. In the jam room had so much fun because it was loose and everyone was coming on and off the stage sharing the music. I played with Cyril Neville, Tony Hall, Roosevelt C, Ian Neville, Ivan Neville, Nikki Glaspie, Kofi Burbridge, Eric Krasno and many more in a 20 minute Jam of Okie Dokie. It was so much fun and I appreciate them letting me join them on stage. I did not have any offers to play before the trip, things just happened. On the last day I was talking to George Porter and Cyril Neville and Warren Haynes walked by. He stopped and said hi and George and Cyril told Warren that I could really play. Midway through Warrens set they told me that I may be asked to play with him. When he came off before the encore he told me to be ready to come out and play a solo in B flat…I was so excited. Playing with Warren was a dream come true. Playing with all these great musicians is a dream come true. I was on stage with Warren H, Eric K, Alicia C, George P, Karl D, and Ivan N. It was unbelievable.

I did not expect this to happen but these musicians were willing to let me play. I hope I played well in their eyes. And I hope to play with them again.

Jam Cruise is great because there is music all the time.”

-Brandon Niederauer


“My experience on Jam Cruise was one part out of body and 1,000,000 parts out of this world. The people, the costumes, the vibe, the mood, the love and the music were all perfect to me. Like most of us on the boat, music is my passion and I believe that this passion is the driving force behind the cradle of positive energy that we all resided in for the duration of our stay. It was my first time on Jam Cruise, so I had no other previous experiences like it to compare to. I will say though, with out hesitation that it was a one of the best experiences I’ve ever had the privilege to be involved in, and I can’t wait to go back!”

—David Shaw (The Revivalists)