The third day of Jam Cruise got off to a relaxing start as the MSC Divina pulled into Costa Maya, Mexico on Friday morning. The low-key Caribbean port—a last minute itinerary switch after the stop in Belize City was cancelled—made for a nice change of scenery after two days out at sea. Most cruisers caught taxi or golf cart rides to the many bars that lined the beach, while others gave back to the community at Positive Legacy’s annual Day of Service, where one-man-band Zach Deputy teamed up with a number of local musicians.
As the sun began to retreat, the Divina disembarked to the sounds of The Infamous Stringdusters, who delivered the day’s first set on the pool deck stage. Nevertheless, a few enterprising music lovers sat the music out so they could try their luck at Ivan Neville’s annual Texas Hold ‘em tournament on the other side of the boat.
Dr. John was up next on the pool deck, where he worked through his standard set of New Orleans classics. Mr. Rebenack and his backing band the Nite Trippers generally kept things laid back, though there were some interesting improvisational moments when trombonist Fred Wesley and virtuoso guitarist Stanley Jordan joined the fray. The Good Doctor was then followed by Austin-based funk ensemble Brown Out, who treated the pool deck to a full set of funky Black Sabbath covers.
The Pantheon Theater played host to the Royal Family Ball for most of the night, as the label’s own Dumpstaphunk, Soulive and Lettuce invited countless friends to join them in the packed indoor venue. Dumpstaphunk got things started following a screening of the Lettuce documentary “Let Us Play,” at one point inviting Trombone Shorty, Nigel Hall and Roosevelt Collier out for a veritable funk superjam. Anders Osborne, Oteil Burbridge, Karl Denson, Tony Hall and Chris Stillwell were among the guests that sat in during the ensuing Soulive set, while Lettuce closed out the room with a jam session that didn’t wrap up until after after 4am.
Speaking of jam sessions, there were a few officially ones on the schedule yesterday. Following a rousing atrium set from the Stanton Moore Trio, a collection of New Orleans masters—James Singleton, Johnny Vidacovich, Will Bernard and David Torkanowsky—headed over to the Jazz Lounge to join their friend Mike Dillon for an exciting set of propulsive, improvisational wizardry. The spirit of that performance then moved to the Black and White Lounge (aka the “jam room”), where guitarist Eric McFadden led an all-star cast of rotating musicians that kept the party going until damn near sunrise.
Other highlights from the day include Marco Benevento’s trio set in the Black and White–which ballooned to much more than three musicians as Eric McFadden, Will Bernard, Karl Denson and Mike Dillon all made guest appearances–and a pair of late night jamtronica parties from The Werks and Electron, who were both augmented by Umphrey’s McGee keyboardist Joel Cummins.
Jam Cruise will hang around Cozumel, Mexico this afternoon before setting sail for Miami later this evening. Tonight will feature performances from Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, Snarky Puppy, Lotus, Anders Osborne, Keller Williams with More Than a Little, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, The New Mastersounds, Tauk and many more.
All photos by Jeffrey Dupuis.