Jam Cruise Day 4: Dr. John, Anders Osborne, Snarky Puppy and Cozumel

The fourth day of Jam Cruise began with a stop at the ship’s second and final port—the picturesque island of Cozumel, Mexico. Unphased by three days of non-stop revelry, thousands of cruisers trickled on to the island throughout the morning hours to check out everything from Mayan ruins to coral reefs and duty free malls.

It was a perfect start to a day that, for all intents and purposes, hadn’t even begun by the time the ship set sail for the last leg of its journey. Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe were on hand to score the send off, with the saxophone master and his band delivering a heavy dose of funk as the sun set behind the Mexican mainland. The group was followed by a high-energy set from British funk outfit The New Mastersounds, while Louisiana native Marc Broussard treated fans to a low-key show in the jazz lounge.

The excitement wasn’t just reserved for the music either. At least it wasn’t when Chefs at Sea coordinator (and Nola Crawfish King) Chris “Shaggy” Davis offered a bevy of New Orleans-inspired dishes for the ship’s 24-hour buffet, including red beans & rice, cochon po-boys, jambalaya and shrimp & grits.

Chris "Shaggy" Davis bringing New Orleans cuisine to the masses.

Chris “Shaggy” Davis bringing New Orleans cuisine to the masses.

Speaking of New Orleans staples, Dr. John returned to the action yesterday when he headlined the Pantheon Theater with his backing band The Nite Trippers. The group kept things pretty similar to the previous night, while Anders Osborne followed with his first (non-Southern Soul Assembly) performance of the weekend. The guitarist and his current band were flanked by Ivan Neville, who took up the keys for the duration of the set.

Over in the Black and White Lounge, Skerik, Marco Benevento, Adam Deitch and Robert Walter teamed up for a rare Worship My Organ set, which took a pleasantly sharp turn into dark, psychedelic territory. The performance was a perfect contrast to the immaculate grooves emanating from the nearby jazz lounge, where Bernard Purdie was leading a jam session with Karl Denson, members of the New Mastersounds and more.

Lotus kept the psychedelic vibes going during their pool deck show, and they even invited Roosevelt Collier to the stage for a surprisingly coherent combination of jamtronica and slide guitar. However, it was Snarky Puppy that laid the foundation for the night’s most transcendent guest collaboration when they brought guitar god Stanley Jordan out to the Pantheon Stage for what can only be described as a supremely impressive display of musicianship.

With Snarky Puppy’s set finally out of the way around 4am, the crowds—and the musicians—began to coalesce around the jam room, where Dumpstaphunk bassist Nick Daniels had been leading a masterful exercise in improvisation for the previous two hours. Snarky P mastermind Michael League was among the late night additions to the ensemble, as he and other members of the band made their way straight from the theater to the jam room, where they managed to weave themselves into a seemingly endless groove that took the party into the wee hours.

Jam Cruise will wrap up today as the MSC Divina heads back to the Port of Miami. Scheduled performances include sets from Galactic, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Anders Osborne, Marco Benevento, JJ Grey & Mofro, Keller Williams, Everyone Orchestra, Electron and, of course, a solo piano set from Ivan Neville.

All photos by Jeffrey Dupuis.