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Archive for January, 2011

February 2011 Music Calendar

February 2011 Potential Show Run Down

Calendar updated daily!

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

  • (Free) New York Funk Exchange @ Club Groove
  • ($10) Talib Kweli @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($30-$40) Saxophone Summit: Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman & Ravi Coltrane @ Birdland

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

  • (Free) Nigel Hall Residency @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($5) Zongo Junction & Ikebe Shakedown @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($25) Todd Snider, The Storyteller @ Joe’s Pub
  • ($25-$30) Abraham Inc feat. David Krakauer, Fred Wesley, Socalled @ Le Poission Rouge
  • ($30-$40) Saxophone Summit: Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman & Ravi Coltrane @ Birdland

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

  • ($10) Charlie Hunter Solo Residency @ Rose Live
  • ($10) Donna The Buffalo @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($10-$13) Lotus @ Mercury Lounge
  • ($23.50 – $33.75) Ozomatli @ Irving Plaza
  • ($25) Todd Snider, The Storyteller @ Joe’s Pub
  • ($30-$40) Saxophone Summit: Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman & Ravi Coltrane @ Birdland
  • ($45-$85) Bebel Gilberto (Bossa Nova Singer) @ The Allen Room

Friday, February 4th, 2011

  • (FREE) Sister Sparrow And The Dirty Birds w/ Mark Guiliana @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($10) Roots of Creation @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($11) Some Cat From Japan (Part of Freaks Ball) @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($21) Buckwheat Zydaco @ BB Kings Blues Club
  • ($25-$30) Lotus @ Mercury Lounge
  • ($30-$40) Saxophone Summit: Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman & Ravi Coltrane @ Birdland
  • ($40-$85) Joan Osbourne @ The Allen Room (Lincoln Center)

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • (FREE) Sister Sparrow And The Dirty Birds w/ Mark Guiliana @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($10) Sam Kinninger @ The Blue Note (Late night)
  • ($10) Railroad Earth @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($17-$21) Brothers Past & Nutritious @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • ($20) Eric Krasno’s Chapter 2 and Big Sams Funky Nation @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • ($27.25) Lotus @ Terminal 5
  • ($30-$40) Saxophone Summit: Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman & Ravi Coltrane @ Birdland
  • ($35-$175) Idina Menzel’s New York Philharmonic Debut @ Avery Fisher Hall

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

  • ($30) Allen Toussaint @ Joe’s Pub
  • ($30) Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra @ Birdland

Monday, February 7th, 2011

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($25) Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($32-$202) Prince @ Madison Square Garden

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

  • ($35-$50) Cowboy Junkies @ City Winery

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

  • (FREE) Nigel Hall CD Release Party/Residency @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($25-$35) Larry Campbell and the band presents: The Music of Neil Young, Live Rehearsal show @ City Winery
  • ($15 ~ includes copy of CD) Brad Shepik Quartet w/ Mark Guiliana @ 55 Bar (Special CD Release Concert for “Across The Way”)

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

  • ($10) Charlie Hunter Solo Residency @ Rose Live
  • ($10) Cornmeal & Greensky Bluegrass @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($45-$150) Neil Young Tribute @ Carnegie Hall

Friday, February 11th, 2011

  • ($5-$10) Mike Borgia & The Problems w/ Mark Guiliana @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($20) Either/Orchestra 25th Anniversary Concert w/ John Medeski, Matt Wilson & more! @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • ($20) Eric Lindell @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($20-$24) Bernie Worell @ Joe’s Pub
  • ($22-$32) Emilie Autumn @ Gramercy Theater

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem (Late Night)
  • ($5) Sushi Grade Panda + Nutritious @ Bowery Poetry Club
  • ($10) Red Baraat @ Barbes
  • ($10-$35) Brother Joscephus CD RELEASE PARTY @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • ($12) Dangermuffin @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($20) Tea Leaf Green & The Bridge @ Highline Ballroom
  • ($55) Steve Miller & Friends: Celebrating the Jazz Guitar @ Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

  • ($7) Afro Funky Party w/ Zongo Junction, Top Shotta & DJ Offbeat @ Cameo Gallery
  • ($30) Allen Toussaint @ Joe’s Pub
  • ($30) Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra @ Birdland
  • ($80-$350) Andrea Bocelli @ The Metropolitan Opera

Monday, February 14th, 2011

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($25) Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

  • (Free) Nigel Hall Residency @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($22) Funky Meters @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($32-$112) Branford Marsalis w/ New York Philharmonic (Classical) @ Avery Fisher Hall

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

  • (Free) Tall Tall Trees @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($10) Charlie Hunter Solo Residency @ Rose Live
  • ($10) Jimkata featuring UV Hippo @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($22) Funky Meters @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($27.50) Jim Weider’s Project Percolator w/ Garth Hudson @ Iridium Jazz Club
  • ($30-$64) Interpol @ Radio City Music Hall
  • ($32-$112) Branford Marsalis w/ New York Philharmonic (Classical) @ Avery Fisher Hall

Friday, February 18th, 2011

  • ($10-$12) Melvin Seals and Jerry Garcia Band @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($15) Big Gigantic @ Bowery Ballroom
  • ($15) Charlie Hunter Duo & Daniel Bennett Group @ Triad Lounge (A Jazz Benefit Concert for Abingdon Theatre Company)
  • ($20-$35) Pat McGee Band @ City Winery
  • ($30-$88) Branford Marsalis w/ New York Philharmonic (Classical) @ Avery Fisher Hall
  • ($30) Dr. Dog @Terminal 5
  • ($30) Buster Williams @ Iridium Jazz Club
  • ($30) Mingus Big Band @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($50-$150) John Mellencamp @ Radio City Music Hall

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • ($10-$12) Melvin Seals and Jerry Garcia Band @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($12-$15) Orgone @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($30) Bill Frisell & Vinicius Cantuaria @ Le Possion Rouge
  • ($30-$42) Big Head Todd and The Monsters @ Irving Plaza
  • ($30-$60) Slightly Stoopid @ Hammerstein Ballroom
  • ($30) Mingus Big Band @ Jazz Standard
  • ($30) Buster Williams @ Iridium Jazz Club
  • ($37-$115) Branford Marsalis w/ New York Philharmonic (Classical) @ Avery Fisher Hall
  • ($50-$150) John Mellencamp @ Radio City Music Hall

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

  • ($5-$15) Zen Tricksters @ Brooklyn Bowl (Wetland’s Benefit)
  • ($25) Mingus Big Band @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($30) Allen Toussaint @ Joe’s Pub
  • ($30) Buster Williams @ Iridium Jazz Club
  • ($30) Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra @ Birdland

Monday, February 21th, 2011

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($25) Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($55-$200) Lady Gaga & The Scissor Sisters @ Madison Square Garden

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

  • ($5) The Constellations @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($12) Post-Trey Anastasio Show w/ Wyllys and The New York Hustler Ensemble @ B.B. Kings Blues Club
  • ($45) A Very Special Acoustic & Electric Evening with Trey Anastasio and TAB @ Terminal 5
  • ($55-$200) Lady Gaga & The Scissor Sisters @ Madison Square Garden

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

  • (Free) Nigel Hall Residency @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($10) Apollo Run / David Rogue @ Mercury Lounge
  • ($40-$100) David Gray @ The Beacon Theater
  • ($75-$90) Meat Loaf @ Irving Plaza

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

  • ($10-$12) Bustle In Your Hedgerow Featuring Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, Dave Driewitz and Scott Metzger @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($15) Leroy Justice @ The Canal Room
  • ($30-$300) Bon Jovi @ Madison Square Garden
  • ($30) Girltalk @ Terminal 5
  • ($70) Itzhak Perlman @ Metropolitan Museum of Art

Friday, February 25th, 2011

  • ($10-$12) Bustle In Your Hedgerow Featuring Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, Dave Driewitz and Scott Metzger @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($55-$65) Smokin’ Jazz Sessions: Taj Mahal Trio @ Lincoln Center

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem (Late Night)
  • ($15) Nels Cline Singers & ROVA perform The Celestial Septet @ Le Possion Rouge
  • ($20) Post Galactic/Trombone Shorty Show with Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($30-$40) Mardi Gras Madness Galactic / Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with Special Guests Corey Glover (of Living Colour) / Cyril Neville / Corey Henry (Rebirth Brass Band) / Ivan Neville plus High and Mighty Brass Band @ Terminal 5
  • ($100-$250) New York Celebrates George Harrison Feat. Roberta Flack @ New York Society for Ethical Culture
  • ($75) Smokin’ Jazz Sessions: Taj Mahal Trio @ Lincoln Center/Allen Room

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

  • ($10-$12) Julia Easterlin, Flearoy, Sammy Miller and The Congregation, The Whiskey Collection, Jonathan Batiste @ The Knitting Factory
  • ($30) Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra @ Birdland

Monday, February 28th, 2011

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($25) Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard

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Bernie Worrell: Jazz Standards @ The Bitter End (01.20.11)

The Bitter End, East Village, NYC

The Bitter End, East Village, NYC

For music heads like us, it is nights like these that we live for, nights like these that we crave! A night where one of your favorite musicians step outside of his genre to show you a softer side. A night where one of your favorite musicians surprisingly joins a stage he wasn’t slated to be on. It is the moment when the music takes a drastic turn in the most unexpected ways and the musicians you love show you that they have more to give in a way you could imagine.

On this night, Bernie Worrell, a founding member of Parliament/Funkadelic and well known for his work with The Talking Heads, would carry into his musical world and show us just how he interprets Jazz Standards.

The Bitter End, East Village, NYC

The Bitter End, East Village, NYC

As I entered The Bitter End, a venue I had never frequented prior to this night, I recall feeling a musical presence immediately.  I can’t put this sentiment into words really but in hindsight, without really knowing who I was seeing at first and eventually figuring out just who all I was going to see that night, you might possibly understand how I felt the power of all that talent in that room.  There were some heavy, HEAVY hitters joining Bernie Worrell on stage this night.

The Bitter End is a famous place!  Apparently, it is Manhattan’s longest running Rock  Club even though tonight we would be delivered jazz mixed with a bit of the FUNK!  The venue itself is small with a typical bar atmosphere towards the front.  Continuing past the bar, the stage is situated on the right side of the venue surrounded by few tables and booths. The place was not large by any means, perhaps able to hold a few hundred people, less then 100 seats to be sure.

Upon settling into our table, I took a moment and introduced myself to Bernie’s wife, Judie Worrell.  Such a vibrant creature, she was wearing fuzzy raver boots and purple tights. I liked her immediately.  We discussed the set and made a plan to talk after the show. For now, I wanted to focus.

Bernie Worrell and Friends @ The Bitter End

Evan Taylor – Drums
Andrew Kimball – Guitar
Will Bernard – Guitar
Tim Luntzel – Bass
JT Lewis – Drums
Glen Fittin – Percussion
Chops Horns: Dave Watson and Daryl Dixon

Bernie’s rig was situated on the left side of the stage, a peninsula of keys consisting of  a Mini Moog, Hohner Clavinet, ARP Pro Soloist, Kawai PH 50 (keyboard on top of the other keyboard), a Baby Grand and a Melodica (handheld).

He slipped into the seat, alone on stage, and proceeded to start the show with the gorgeous solo piano piece “Take the A Train”, a signature song of The Duke Ellington Orchestra and written by Billy “Sweet Pea” Strayhorn.  I was speechless.  Completely taken aback.  I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but watching Bernie Worrell, the king of funky keys, sitting there playing this beautiful jazz arrangement, sitting only a few feet from us, it was very special.  It was an elegant moment for an otherwise dive-y bar/location.

Peep the pimpin jacket...

Peep the pimpin jacket...

Worrell studied both jazz and classical music at New England Conservatory of Music which makes me love him even more.  After the lovely solo piano intro, the rest of the stage filled up with the remaining musicians that would provide a superb complimentary background to Bernie’s performance.  A wonderful surprise was revealed as Will Bernard took the stage with his guitar.  This is one of my favorite jazz guitarists on the NY scene and a complete surprise as, I believe, Smokey Hormell was slated to play.  This cemented the night in my mind.

Bernie Worrell is a man full of flavor. He was wearing leather pants, purple and gold Nike kicks, a styling hat, and this trippy fish jacket. Oh man, I wish I could describe his jacket. But alas… the picture must suffice. Bernie introduced all the men on stage graciously. Apparently, the baby faced mutton chop wearin’ drummer Evan Taylor, was to thank for this night of music. It was his idea to put this project together and Bernie was ecstatic over this fact. So was the audience!

“It’s so GREAT to be able to play with these youngsters” ~ Bernie Worrell

The second song, wonderfully caught on video (thank you labellemusic), was Benny Golson‘s “Killer Joe.” The Chop Horns, consisting of Dave Watson and Daryl Dixon stood in front Steven Cage in the middle. I was unaware of who many of these artists were until tonight.  I knew Bernie of course, and Will Bernard. But the other musicians on stage would proceed to slay me with their talent.

“Well, here we go!” screams Bernie as they head into “Aqua De Beber.”  Andrew Kimball on bass took the first solo on this a bossa-nova jazz standard.  I was shocked at how well the horns blended into the room. I was thinking that with horns like this in such a small space that we were going to be blasted.  But either the sound guy works magic or this trio was just on point with each other because they melded seamlessly and never once overpowered any other part of the stage.  It was here that the Parliament/Funkadelic side of Bernie Worrell came alive, producing his signature sound, bending the notes and giving us a trippy, spacey vibe behind the jazz.  Will Bernard took his first solo and everything seemed to come together.

The Chop Horns exit and we got a salsa vibe radiating from the stage. The hearty jazz standard “Take Five” had Bernie standing and playing the synthesizer. Bernie went a little wild on his machine as he played the meat of the song on his keys the only way Bernie could and the crowd went wild. Shooting back to the Baby Grand, he manipulated the notes with one of his many contraptions. The rest of band just floating in the background, all eyes were on Bernie. I thought the song had changed but Will and Co. had just laid out their instruments. It got really heady in there. This jazz standard had been touched by a funkadelic angel. It’s flavor was 110% Bernie’s.-+

Bernie and his krewe

Bernie and his krewe

“You’re My Thrill” was next.  A favorite song of mine for the ladies to sing even though we would get no singing here. It has been covered by Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and just the complete cream of the female voice crop.  Bernie was back on his synthesizer for this song and only he played the opening of the song as JT Lewis provided the beat.  At some point during this song, there seemed to be a bit of mis-communication that led to Bernie going rouge on part of the song.  They were trying to figure out when to head into the bridge of the song.   As Bernie flew through a solo on the Moog, Will Bernard tipped his hat to the keys genius, as if to say: “This is your time, do your thing music god!” And then Bernie looks up and realizes that all eyes are on him and they head into the bridge.

Gettin' Some!

Gettin' Some!

Will Bernard soloed into the second bridge and he really took his liberties with his guitar, overpowering any other guitar that was on stage. I got to be honest, I can’t even recall hearing another guitar let alone focusing on another guitar. Honestly though, Andrew Kimball was probably stoked to be playing along side Will Bernard. He is THE MAN after all.

Then came a drum solo that had me silently flipping out. Being a closet drummer lover, I LOVE drum solos/drum battles. JT Lewis was this drummer’s name and I left The Bitter End so wrapped up in his sound, I can’t describe it. I couldn’t wait to go research him. I recall leaning over to Maurice and asking, “Who is this guy!?!”  Maurice preceded to hand me his Iphone showing a never-ending, big named list of the projects that Mr. Lewis had been a part of. The man has performed/recorded with over two hundred artists from all genres. The list Maurice showed me was endless. I hope you check him out. Wish I could link a site to his name but the man doesn’t have a website? He is so acclaimed yet no website? If you are seeing this Mr. Lewis, please have your staff create a sanctuary for us to go and listen to your beats or find where you will be performing next. You are amazing.

The Chop Horns were back on stage now for “All the Things You Are.” This song was originally released through a Broadway play, Very Warm For May .  So fun! I LOVE BROADWAY. As the sultry song began, Dave Watson took to the microphone, announcing that Darryl Dixon was the horn player for Parliament/Funkadelic‘s “Flashlight.”  Thunderous applause came from that tiny venue. You have to  love when artist talk to us, give us back-stories, emotions become involved, you are part of the music, the culture, if only for a minute in time. You’ve played some part in making that musician who he is while the musicians enhance our moment in time through entertainment. Such a symbiotic relationship between artist and fan.

Bernie teases “Flashlight” and they plug his CD. “It’s all about all of us,” says Bernie.  Bernie feels the symbiotic thing I was talking about, doesn’t he haha? A funky flavorful jam with horns and Bernie bending his sounds with his many contraptions.  I noticed the night got progressively funkier and obscure as it progressed.

Glen Fitten ~ Percussion

Glen Fittin ~ Percussion

Bernie directs a compliment towards Daryl Dixon.  “I knew what he had when he first joined P-Funk.”  There were smiles.  It was a touching moment and you could see the thanks in Daryl’s eyes as he smiled back at Bernie.  Bernie then intro’d the solo to Bye Bye Blackbird”, another one of my personal favorite ballads!!!  A little confused, I leaned over to Maurice Brown, a SUPERB trumpet player from Chicago who joined our musical krewe that night, and asked him if his trumpet “had that wide base like that as well.”  He proceeded to tell me that the instrument I was looking at in Steven Cage’s hand was a flugelhorn, not a trumpet.  Learn something new everyday! Dave Watson had changed to a flute to close the song and once his lips finally pulled away from his instrument, he said: “That song was like a pretty woman…you don’t ever want to let her go.”

Bernie brought the Melodica to his lips for “Moon River”, but not before throwing out an intro on the keyboard.  Oh, how I LOVE this song.  The one thing I took away from this song was the fact that Bernie is passionate. His eyes close as he slowly and severely played the Melodica.  I am not the biggest fan of this instrument as it sometimes sounds childish but Bernie took this song and ran with it.  Quietly, softly, romantically.  I found myself very moved in the moment. Bernie requested a glockenspiel solo from Glen Fittin and the xylophone raged in a soothing manner.

Bernie holds Melodica during Keys intro...

Bernie holds Melodica during Keys intro...

The show had started off as jazzy and cool as it could have been and gradually, over the course of the show it got funkier, more obscure. And then Bernie brought it. He brought the jazzy funk goodness into “Watermelon Man”. Everyone was back on stage, Bernie was on his synthesizer and the horns were in full blast. I loved watching Daryl Dixon move as he played, with confidence and grace in his jiving moves.

At this moment, and many other moments throughout the night, I realized how desperately I wish there had been a taper present. I was sad for everyone outside of this little hole-in-the-wall venue. They were missing this great show. Bernie turns to the Rhodes, called out to The Chop Horns and Will Bernard charged through on his guitar. This was a spectacular funky ending to an otherwise wonderful jazz performance touched by a funk god!

Bernie and Friends!

Bernie and Friends!

 

When the show was over, everyone was on their feet. This was both completely unexpected and expected at the same time. I was blown away over the quality of sound, the quality of music but at the same time, I knew this was going to be special and that is why I was here.

Setlist:

1)  Take A Train
2)  Killer Joe
3)  Aqua De Beber
4)  Take Five
5)  You’re My Thrill
6)  All The Things You Are
7)  Bye Bye Blackbird
8)  Moon River
9)  Watermelon Man

Tiny Rager with Will and Bernie!

Tiny Rager with Will and Bernie!

 

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Thank you Cloud 9 Adeventures and MSC Crusies!!

Thank you Cloud 9 Adventures and MSC Cruises!!

There are music festivals and then there is Jam Cruise!!  A musical festival on a cruise ship that travels international seas for 5 to 6 days.  I said it last year and I will say it again now.  IT IS THE GREATEST MUSICAL ADVENTURE anyone can take.

Last year, I was at a complete loss for words.  It was my Virgin Cruise and I was awestruck by the magnitude of what I had just experienced.  Considering this was my second year, I thought the hype would be just a bit dimmer, I figured I would be a little less anxious and calm.  Nope!

Even now, while I could burst at the seams ATTEMPTING to explain these EPIC musical journeys, I find it so hard figuring out where to start. It’s all so unbelievable.  I could tackle these articles by day, or perhaps by subject regarding the atmosphere, the music or the people and so much more. I could write a five page article just on the relationship cultivations that took place this year.  There is just so much!!! And the fact that I only slept about 10-12 hours over the span of 5 days gives me an arsenal of memories to pull from.

Jam Cruise 9 Website Banner

Jam Cruise 9 Website Banner

Last year Tinyrager.com didn’t exist as it’s own site.  I wrote for other sites but mainly for my own personal cataloging of memories and would just save the documents on my computer.  So, after last year’s Jam Cruise, I began writing out my adventure and I never made it past the Sail Away Party.

My life took off before I could finish my personal Jam Cruise manifesto.  But I did make an attempt and the end result was all the glorious details about the embarkation line to the ship, the embarkation process, what happened when I explored the boat stumbling across the various venues and checking into my room with the gift bags and what not.  I wrote about everything I could remember up until the Sail Away Party….and then I stopped.

This year, I am going to continue where I left off at the Sail Away Party with a few backtracking steps.  There is no need for me to re-write the exact same information about the boat for this article. If you would like to know about all the things listed above then CLICK HERE!  The article is totally relevant to this one and worth the read and would help cement your mind if you are still debating on getting on the boat.  Jam Cruise staff actually found it last year and blasted it over their page a few times due to the comprehensive nature of the article.  So, enjoy that! It’s got great pictures too!

Now, let’s get this party started!!!

Hello Pretty Ship!! (Photo by Murray)

Hello Pretty Ship (Photo by Murray)

~ Boarding & Pre-Sail Away ~

Within MINUTES, sooooo much can happen to you on Jam Cruise.  This year, I boarded the boat in what felt like 15 minutes but was really a little over/under an hour.  As we get our room keys and begin the walk into the ship, I gaze to my right and Bob Weir is standing next to me. He pulled himself from the line and leans against the wall looking dazed, confused and very skinny. Had he been standing by us the whole time and we been too excited to notice?  He didn’t have an entourage and he looked so frail I guess it’s possible.  As my friends and I realized the magnitude of this moment, we all said “Hello Bob!” and he flashed us a forced smile.  I couldn’t tell if he was happy or sad but I knew how we felt! FREAKING STOKED!!!

A few more feet through the line and we were shuffled into the section where you get your boarding pictures taken. You could purchase the pictures for $30 if you wanted, but whoa that is a lot.  However, in the group behind us, Steve Kimock jumped into the picture.  Now THAT is a $30 moment worth purchasing!!  And there you had another group of people whose minds were just blown and we hadn’t even made it on the boat yet.  Sadly, my hunt for these pictures has come to a dead end. They are gone once you leave the ship.

Before all hell broke loose :) (Photo By Murray)
The NYC Krewe + some before all hell broke loose 🙂 (Photo By Murray)

I was in line with two of my best friends from NYC and we were in different rooms. Once we boarded the boat we separated so I could take my luggage to my room and unpack as fast as possible as not to miss a moment.  I was wearing my Big Sam’s Funky Nation tee-shirt, READY for the Sail Away Party. READY to see my main man Big Sam.  As I step into the mirrored elevator with my luggage, I was covered by this giant shadow of a man who had followed behind me.  And as I turn around, I am embraced by none other than Big Sam. Having reached out to me after he saw one of my reviews of his show, he flashed a smile that melted me as I got a huge hug! What a super duper dude! I will have TONS to say about him later in these articles.

(Photo by Jeffery Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffery Dupuis)

Last year I was in the Singles Program.  The layout of my room this year was exactly like last year except that I was now with two friends I had met on my virgin cruise: Aaron and Victoria, a super cute Jam Cruise couple who completely enhanced my journey. Thank you both for being such wonderful roommates.    I entered an empty room and unpacked as fast as I could. When I walked out of my room, I just didn’t know which way to turn. There were SO many people I wanted to see who I hadn’t seen since last year’s journey and whose relationship was cultivated through Facebook over the year as we waited patiently to all be together again.  There was so much I wanted to do all in one moment but I knew where I needed to be.    This year, I had a krewe from NYC on the boat and one of them was a virgin, my dear sweet friend Jessica.  I wanted to see their room and be with her.  I just wanted to watch her take it all in because that must have been what I was like last year with my jaw on the ground.

Jam Cruise is over but we know that time will last forever. From the minute I walked into 10242 there was nothing but LOVE. Jessica who I’vereally never met treated me (and everyone) like I was a saint or angel or something. We constructed the door decor (bonding) and the RAGE was on ! Off to Eric’s to gather the troops and start the search for the bottom of the tequilla bottle. A short time later we were off to the pool deck to find the angel Karen has been talking about: Hillary! ~ Murray Ballz

~ Door Décor Competition ~

Sharon & Said's Decor!!  (Photo by Richmand Images)

Sharon & Said's Decor!! (Photo by Richmand Images)

As I entered their room, the faces looking at me were already more shiny and sparkly then when we had left in line.  The Jam Cruise blood was flowing through their veins. Their room was bigger with a balcony.  It’s always good for SOMEONE in your rage krewe to have a balcony! They had taken out all the makings for their door décor and were attempting to assemble it.  Their concept was beautiful.  Using pictures of multiple artists and groups that inspired them, along with artists that couldn’t make it on the boat as well as pictures of allllllll our friends and families who couldn’t make it on the boat, we were to create a collage covering the door and then we placed a mirror in the middle.  On the mirror’s top it read: “We are all on board together.”  On the mirror’s bottom: “And so are you!” So, that when you look into the mirror, everyone is together, connected somehow on board together.  I loved it!

A typical hallway on Jam Cruise (Photo by Chad Smith)

A typical hallway on Jam Cruise (Photo by Chad Smith)

(Photo by Murray)

(Photo by Murray)

We spent a few hours cutting pictures, tapping things.  The rest of our NY posse rolling through the room to say Hi and get the best hugs in the world.  This also began the utilization of the deck for party breaks which, as time passed, began making it hard for us to focus and use tape correctly HAHAHA!!  The mirror began messing with my head; Rob couldn’t roll a piece of tape to save his life! It was awesome! Oh, you should have seen it.

During this time, the magic of the boat presented itself to us with the introduction of Rob and Jess’s neighbors.  When we ran out of tape, they came right in for the rescue. When we needed writing done for the mirror, they were right there with a solution and Maker’s Mark on the rocks. No matter what you want, you get what you NEED on Jam Cruise! From masking tape to enlightenment.

Putting "our" door decor!! (Photo by Murray)

Putting "our" door decor!! (Photo by Murray)

The final product was perfect. A door COVERED with people and musicians we love that couldn’t be on the boat with us, yet they were, even if it was only in this small way.  Throughout the week, any number of our NYC posse could be found sitting on the floor starting at our door. Staring at our loved ones, staring at Jerry and Janis.  Personally, I was found passed out with my hand on the picture of myself and my boyfriend on the first night and was guided back to bed for what would be the only night I would sleep in my cabin!!!

And in terms of what door enhanced my JC experience the most??   Door number #9211.  This door was covered in 3D pictures from last year’s Jam Cruise.  There were numerous 3D glasses attached to the wall by string so you could see the pictures.  It just got cooler every time I saw it. And at one point, I didn’t even NEED the glasses to see it in 3D.  So, anyway, TINYRAGER award to Room #9211 for making us go OUT of our way at least 2 times a day to check out your door!

Forum Party/ Sharon's Birthday Rage! (Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Forum Party/ Sharon's Birthday Rage! (Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Once we finished the door we  realized that we missed the forum party on the pool deck.  They had gathered to give Sharon R. a proper Happy Birthday.  I am so sorry I missed this Sharon!  Love you! And now…it was time for the Sail Away Party!!!

Jam Cruise Day One Schedule!!

Jam Cruise Day One Schedule!!

~ Big Sam’s Funky Nation / Sail Away Party ~ Pool Deck ~

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

The wonderful Julie McCoy (Photo by Chad Smith)

The wonderful Julie McCoy (Photo by Chad Smith)

The Sail Away Party is phenomenal and truly defines the rest of the voyage.  Julie McCoy, the ship’s activities coordinator/manager/queen bee, comes on to the stage.  Free champagne is distributed amongst the cruisers lining the pool deck and The Captain and Julie McCoy toast us off on our journey.  Then the horns blow and you now know…the party has OFFICIALLY begun. As well, Sweet Water Brewery gives out free beer at during this set, wonderful news for the alcohol drinkers, if you like their flavors!

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

I walked to the front row with my friends, toasted, and then stepped away for a moment alone. I was alone on the top level of the Pool deck last year for the beginning of Trombone Shorty’s Sail Away Party and I wanted to be in the similar location and just be alone, connecting with the ship, for a few moments.  If you read my post from last year, you know the turmoil I was in before I boarded this magical vessel that changed my world.  So, I walked up to my sacred spot, snapped a picture of the amazing sight I was staring at and took one giant breath. Upon exhaling that breath came SO MANY tears, I almost collapsed.  The flood gates opened upon the realization that I was back. I was back in this music world; this musical WONDERLAND that completely CHANGED MY LIFE! And this year was going to be SO different than last year.

~ Big Sam Sail Away Party~ Raging Audience Shot from Stage ~

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

After letting the tears flow for 2 songs, I gathered myself, with the help of a few people around me, and went back down to the front row, puffy faced and all smiles.  For those of you who don’t know much about the boat or who are not large into the music scene, the front row is where it’s at.  I was greeted into the front row where all the best people reside in most musical scenes, let alone Jam Cruise. But I suppose I need to talk about music here at some point right?  Wasn’t this a music festival on a ship?

THE FUNKY NATION:

Big Sam– Trombone
Danny Abel – Guitar
Eric Vogel – Bass
Drummer Boy Milk Williams – Drums
Da Phessah Drew Baham – Vocal/Trumpet

Not so great mobile pic of the View from my "alone" spot (Photo by TinyRager)

Not so great mobile pic of the View from my "alone" spot (Photo by TinyRager)

I have seen Big Sam numerous times throughout the year. I was worried that his Sail Away party would be the same formulaic shows that I had seen him perform over the year.  But that wasn’t the case.  Where there was a similar flow to it all, Big Sam covered some great songs, added some new dance moves…they just brought us a new show and the audience ate it right up.

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

During the fourth song, the ship’s debarking horn blew, the pool deck erupted with cheers and we started moving.   Immediately, the heavy hitters started joining the party.  If nothing else, Jam Cruise is about the various musical combination of artists you can find  performing on the boat. You NEVER know who is going to sit in with whom.  In this case, Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) joined Big Sam for “Gonna Get Funked Up Tonight” and Fred Wesley (JB Horns) followed for “See Me Dance”.

~ Big Sam Sail Away Party~ Top of Pool Deck Perspective ~

Now, The Funky Nation is know for their ability to rage cover songs as well as create new edgy music. Throughout the set he blew some heat into Gnarls Barkley‘s “Crazy”, The Black Crowes/Otis Redding‘s “Hard To Handle”  and their final song of the set was a mash up of Cee Lo Green‘s “Fuck You” and Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Religion”.  This moment was special for me because when the song first came out, Josh and I literally blasted that Cee Lo Green song for a month straight every morning while getting ready for work.  The song is hilarious and the video is even more so.  In this moment, I looked around the pool deck and saw people kinda staring blankly.  Except for a few people, they didn’t recognize the song.  The entire set lived up to it’s expectations.  It was high energy, full of flare and raging rock funk.

Set List:

01. Intro
02. ?? (jam/instrumental)
03. Feelin’
04. King of the Party
05. ?? (instrumental)
06. Gonna Get Funked Up Tonight
07. See Me Dance
08. Big Ole Booty
09. Hard to Handle
10. Do Watcha Wanna > Everybody Needs Someone to Love > You Are My Sunshine tease > ??
11. Dance Floor
12. Up In Here >
13. jam >
14. ?? >
15. Crazy > Get Low >
16. band intros/banter >
17. Fuck You > Bad Romance tease

Download Big Sam’s Funky Nation Set

At this point we had half an hour until any music started. Being that this was the first night, I can’t believe they had lulls but this year’s scheduling seemed to be staggered differently so whatever. Gave us time to debate!  The options were:

1) Bob Weir‘s Scaring The Children on the Pool Deck (9:30pm-11:30pm)

2) Greensky Bluegrass in the Zebra Bar (9:15pm-10:45pm)

3) Robert Randolph and the Family Band in Teatro Carlos Felice (9pm-11pm)

Already, my heart was racing with the fact that I knew I would be missing things I didn’t want to miss.  This year, I knew I would be spending a significant amount of time the first few days cultivating relationships and so I made a point to schedule the music I loved but also plan to hang out where a large percentage of my Jamily might be.

Most of the performers have two sets over the course of the week so I was ok with missing things here and there and catching them later.  In general, the inner turmoil for me over what music to see is the most stress I feel on that ship.

Carlos Felice Theater! (Photo by TinyRager)

Carlos Felice Theater! (Photo by TinyRager)

I took off for Robert Randolph and the Family Band, riding on a cloud.  When I got there, the theater greeted me with all its purple and gold majesty.  This is my favorite venue on the ship. Again, you can learn about the ship from last year’s posts.  But I will tell ya that the purple and gold colors are beautiful and remind me of my college, there are two levels to rage on, the elevated steps in front of the stage are perfect for our drinks, extra costume accessories like boas, hats and what not.  The stairs are also rounded and this allows for a much larger front row throwdown.

I got to the theater and no one was really even in there and the roadies were still setting up.  Speaking of cultivating relationships, I met a lovely twin set named Cindy and Mindy, who inevitably raged the front row with the best of us the whole cruise. Rage on ragers. Big hugs to you both!

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)
(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

~ Robert Randolph and the  Family Band ~ Theatro Carlo Felice ~

Robert Randolph – Pedal Steel, Guitar and Vocals

The Family Band:

Danyel Morgan – Bass and Vocals
Marcus Randolph – Drummer
Adam Smirnoff – Rhythm Guitar
Lenesha Randolph -Vocals
Brett Haas – Keyboards and Guitar

Special Geusts:

Eric Krasno – Guitar
Big Sam – Trombone
Ivan Neville – Keys
Taylor Hicks -Vocals & Harmonica

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)
(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

As I sat there, making new friends, old ones started arriving.  Said and Sharon’s smiling face made their way to our side of the theater. (Thanks to Said for the RR&TFB set-list below).  Then one by one the Jamily krewe gathered until we were 25+ deep on the left side of the stage. Oh, how I just want to talk about all these lovely people, not the music. It’s insane.  But that is not the purpose of this so…

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Having seen Robert Randolph and the Family Band a few times this year and being disappointed in the performances, I was PRAYING that he would kick it back to his roots and focus on older songs, perhaps melt our faces without playing Lady Gaga tunes to fill time.  Perhaps give us some great covers; perhaps show us some great collaborations.  And that is exactly what they did.

Blasting off his set with “Ted’s Jam,” he shot me right back to ten years ago when I first found Robert and Danyel at Star Hill in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The newest addition to the clan, Lenesha Randolph, was on stage, backing up her brother.  I am still weary on her talent.  I won’t say anymore regarding that topic.

“The March” is one of my all time favorites Robert debuted years ago.  I was right up front with my musical posse and when Robert got off his seat and started dancing for us, we all knew the dance and joined along.  He asked us to teach those around us but he was doing a fine job wiggling his body for us….mmmmmm. And Danyel‘s bass thumped away. I am absolutely IN LOVE with Danyel and his voice.   Always have been!

A re-worked “Thriller” cover saw Eric Krasno and Big Sam join the stage and over the remainder of the set Ivan Neville and American Idol’s Taylor Hicks, yup Taylor Hicks, also joined the stage.


“Tears of Joy” brought the blues to an otherwise raging set and my faith in Robert Randolph and his family, however swaying it may have been hours earlier, was restored and his #1 fan was back on top, in the front row, loosing her mind!

Set List:

01. Ted’s Jam
02. ?
03. ?
04. The March
05. ?
06. If I Had My Way
07. Deliver Me
08. I Miss My Girlfriend (Her Name is Molly)
09. Thriller Jam
10. I Need More Love
11. Voodoo Chile
12. Tears of Joy
13. Traveling Shoes

Download Robert Randolph and the Family Band Theater Set

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

As soon as set ended, I hightailed it to the Pool Deck to check out the remainder of Bob Weir‘s Scaring The Children.  I ended up on the upper deck looking down at the sea of Dead heads who were staring doe-eyed at Bobby and Co. The wind was blowing warmly over my body as I realized we were so far from land now I couldn’t see lights.

I gave Bobby as much time as I could before wanting to leave.  Personally, I thought it sounded pretty slow and that is not a bad thing, I just needed something more to move to.  I wish I could recall the song that was playing.  Even though it was tough for me to look at Bobby, as all I could imagine was the scene from Indiana Jones where the guy takes the sip from the wrong chalice and his skin melts off,  it appeared that he was giving the people what they wanted.  Smiles abounded on the faces below me and I just knew that Jerry was smiling down upon the ship.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

So, after Robert Randolph‘s set, we were faced with more difficult choices.

1) Pimps of Joytime in the Zebra Bar (11:00pm-1:00am)

2) Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe on the Pool Deck (12:30am-3:00am)

  • Sadly, I can not find a link for this set. If anyone finds one, please pass it along to me.

3) Anders Osborne with Stanton Moore and Carl Dufrene in the Teatro Carlos Felice (11:45pm-1:15am)

Having just seen Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe numerous time over the past year and just a few days earlier as the Phish After Party on New Years Eve, I decided to skip KDTU on the Pool Deck and focus on the Anders Osborne set.

Performing on same stage as Robert Randolph, the Anders set was going to take a little time to prepare as they transferred over the equipment.  I used this time to gather my thoughts, fill up my water bottle and grab a bite to eat. I don’t want to go into the food just yet…too stressful.

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

~ Anders Osborne with Stanton Moore and Carl Dufrene ~ Teatro Carlo Felice ~

(Photo by Dave Vann)

(Photo by Dave Vann)

I had missed Anders Osbourne the few times he made his way through NYC the past year and having seen him in the past, I KNEW he would rip up whatever stage he was on with his rouge, wild, rockin’ New Orleans vibe.  That is exactly what I was looking for at this time in the evening.

His back up band was a force to be reckoned with.  Joining  the stage this set was:

Anders Osbourne – Guitar and Vocals
Robert Walter – B3 Organ
Carl Dufrene – Bass
Stanton Moore -Drums

Special Guests:

Scott Metzger – Guitar
Will Bernard – Guitar
Skerik – Saxaphone

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

This set was complete fire!!!  I mean absolutely out of control, rock-laced guitar shredding jams, backed by outrageous solos by Skerik and added guitar layers by way of Scott Metzger and Will Bernard.  At the time, it was my favorite set of the night and in hindsight, it is in my top five sets of the week.  The inclusion of Skerik‘s hyper-driven saxophone layered upon Anders songs was, well……take a look at this….seriously.

Set List:

1. Tuning
2. Love Is Taking Its Toll
3. Echoes Of My Sins
4. Darkness At The Bottom
5. Burning On The Inside
6. Got Your Heart
7. Me Donkey Want Water

Download Anders Osborne Theater Set

(Photo by Dave Vann)

(Photo by Dave Vann)

And here we were back having to make decisions!!

1) Papadosio in the Zebra Bar (1:45am-3:15am)

Set List:
1. Utopiate
2. Unparalyzer
3. Magreenery
4. Bionic Man
5. All I Knew
6. Method Of Control
7. Cue
8. Polygons
9. Eyes Have Eyes

2) Stockholm Syndrome in the Teatro Carlos Felice (2:00am-4:00am)

3) Nutritious in the Disco (2:00am-6:00am)

4) AND THE LAST CHOICE!!!!  The Jam Room: Hosted by Tony Hall (12:00am – 6:00am)

Now we come to the greatest and grandest part of the Jam Cruise experience. THE JAM ROOM!! Each night, a different musician (generally a guitar player, keys player or bass player) hosts The Jam Room.  The Jam Room is a entertainment space located in the rear of the ship where these musicians play host to who ever wants to join them on stage.  Sometimes, there are pre-arranged gatherings or sometimes a musician just jumps up for a song and adds to the insanity.  Always, there are free jams, group rages and it’s all off the cuff improvisational jamming.

~ The Jam Room with Host Tony Hall ~

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Tonight’s Jam Room host was Tony Hall, New Orlean’s Dumpstaphunk bass player. Tony is one of the most charismatic musicians around.  He is always invested in engaging with his audiences, making faces, pulling girls on stage, dancing with the audience.  He is one of my favorites in that aspect.

Sadly there is not a lot of footage from the Jam Room to show you.  Many Cruisers had already gone to bed to save their strength while others were raging so hard they couldn’t manipulate a camera or video device to save their life.  But I can tell you that it was a RIPPING good Jam Room.

It was an epic moment lost on the winds of the ocean and remembered only by those that were present… ~ Ananda Atmore

Tony Hall was backed by many of his bands mates from Dumpstaphunk to include:

Ivan Neville – Keys
Nick Daniels III – Bass
Raymond Weber – Drums
Ian Neville – Guitar

Other Guests:

Big Sam – Trombone
Nigel Hall (Lettuce/SCFJ)- Keys
Danny Louis (Gov’t Mule/Stockholm Syndrome) – Keys
Eric Krasno (Lettuce) – Guitar
Adam Deitch (Lettuce) – Drums
Ron Johnson (SCFJ) – Bass
Zach Deputy – Guitar
Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys) – Pedal Steel Guitar

There was so much happening on stage there is no way to recall it all.  One of the last songs played in the jam room that night was Jimi Hendrix‘s “Hey Joe”. The Lee BoysRoosevelt Collier jumped up on stage and confused the hell out of us as he was only a passenger on the ship thus year!  SO FUN when things like that happen.  You know it’s a good time when other musicians pay to get on board.

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Tonight would be the only night that I came back to my room to sleep.  The theme one must know and get to embrace on Jam Cruise is: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint!” It appeared that everyone had taken that creed to heart as I wondered around the pool deck wondering where everyone was.  Where were the late night jam sessions and/or drum circles on the pool decks?  Where was Brock Butler playing his acoustic guitar to the people watching the sunrise.I am sure that they were somewhere, I just never stumbled upon them. It was destiny, however, because after raging the Unofficial Pre-Jam Cruise party at the Days Inn Bahia Cabana Beach Resort the night prior, I was exhausted.  I decided to watch the sunrise with my NYC crew and hear how our virgin cruiser Jessica B. had enjoyed her first night.

As I looked over the balcony, lost in the wake of the ship, my friends and I smiled at each other.  We watched the wake of the ship hit the tip of the horizon and we knew there was no turning back. We were together on this epic musical journey and there were so many adventures to be had.  I took myself to bed around 7am but not before touching the faces of all our family and friends that lined the door decor, wishing they were with us.  Sleep was needed as we had a full day at sea tomorrow.  I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for us when we final rose again.

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