Day 2: Somewhere Between Pie and InfinityI was born at precisely 1:09AM and have strictly adhered to a nocturnal sleep schedule ever since. Add to that a winter trip overseas, some New Year’s Eve jet leg, and a not-so-heady Atlantic Ocean time change and the line between day and night has blurred to the point where eggs only taste good at night and, for some reason, pizza sounds good for breakfast. Which makes Jam Cruise the ideal place to vacation since, no matter what time of day or night it is, you can stumble out of bed and into a game of poker, a guest-laden performance or, yes, a slice of pizza. And, if the sun never set on the British Empire, the show is certainly never over for Funk Nation, which sent a number of able-bodied representatives on Jam Cruise to answer the age-old algebraic question: How many ways can you add up the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Meters, the Neville Family, the Greyboy Allstars and Galactic, divide by Skerik, and get a supergroup which has never played before.
As it turns out the, answer is, luckily, somewhere between pie and infinity and Jam Cruise has been able to produce a number of jazz/funk, or really slightly jazzy, really funky, supergroups the likes of which have never been seen. Want to hear Meters bassist George Porter Jr. jam with the Dirty Dozen horns? We got that covered in the Jam Room on deck six! Want to see what he sounds like when placed next to some of Jerry Garcia’s favorite psychedelic musicians (rolled into a new version of the proto-jamband Zero)? Just walk down the hall and hear him play bass with Steve Kimock! Want to hear him with the current kings of New Orleans funk, Galactic? Well, while you went to the bathroom he rode the elevator upstairs and is playing with them right now on the Pool Deck. Oh, and while you were scoring big at poker (just kidding, alas) or watching Allman Brothers Derek Trucks and Oteil Burbridge in Jam Cruise’s Mass wedding (no, seriously!), Karl Denson and Skerik staged a not-so-hostile takeover of both Dumpstaphunk’s set in the Caruso Lounge and Galactic’s abovementioned poolside set. Oh, and even though I’d never really expect Berklee guitar master Eric Krasno to be a fan of the Band, he’s also tearing it up on a cover of “The Weight” with Derek Trucks and his wife Susan Tedeschi (who scored Trucks’ plus one on the boat and has remained busy onstage for a girl on vacation).
But the best part of Jam Cruise is that it takes that blurry-eyed New Orleans Jazz Fest enthusiasm and resets it in guitar fantasy camp. For instance, what better way to bond with Disco Biscuits’ Jon Gutwillig than by stealing his earning from a near sold-out show at Camden, NJ’s Tweeter Center in a game of poker (just ask my podcast co-host, Benjy, when he gets back from filming an episode of Wookies Gone Wild on the beach) or watch the Deep Banana Blackout/Rolls couple Fuzz and Carrie weigh the pros-and-cons post-jam poolside at the bar (which, by the way, has been stocked with some heady beer thanks to Starr Hill). And, is it the Starr Hill talking, or is that kid Avi G who spent a night sleeping at the foot of the Relix tent at All Good onstage with Kimock and that dude from P-Groove in the Jam Room? And holding his own at that!?
Not that Day 2 is only about jazz and funk. For urbanites like me who miss their Blackberries, the Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood filled his solo set with the type of hipster heartache that made you feel like you walked out of the pool and into New York’s East Village (and what a damn good feeling it is at that!). Plus, Burning Spear proved to a generation of jam kids that, yes indeed, great music existed before Jerry.
I’m going to go get in line for some pizza now because, according to my clock, it is somewhere around 10AM and last night’s eggs have finally digested. I think when I get back Cold Turkey is going on a diet. I definitely quit my beer-and-veggie burrito-on-lot meal plan for this festival-like adventure, but we’re already signed up for next year!