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Yesterday, a critical graphic on the Jam Cruise homepage changed with little fanfare, but this morning the official email went out: the tenth sailing of this musical sea odyssey is now sold out. There is a waitlist for parties that are still interested, but most people that were still on the fence at this point have now literally missed the boat.
Immediately upon stepping foot on the MSC Poesia back in 2010, I knew I would try to make it every year as long as financial and familial obligations didn’t get in the way, and thus far I’ve stayed true to my word. This January will mark my 3rd excursion on JamCruise, and I could not be more excited. Much has been written about what the incredible experience that is JamCruise: the magic that occurs nightly in the Jam Room, the hilarious workshops and poolside chats with the artists, the breathtaking sunsets (and sunrises), and the overall vibe and community of those lucky enough to make it on board. Everyone is understandably amped to be there, and linked by their common love of music.
The lineup speaks for itself, so I thought I’d use this opportunity to highlight some of the lesser talked about parts of the experience. One of the great things about the months leading up the cruise is that the promoters, Cloud 9 Adventures, trickle out updates and information ever so slowly to keep their loyal crew excited during the seemingly endless 360 days between cruises. It doesn’t hurt C9 that there is so much to reveal: theme nights, special guests, Jam Room hosts, dry land excursions — the hits just keep on coming.
Today was just the latest example of how easy it is for them to put a smile on my face. Included in the Sell Out notification email was a schedule teaser which all but confirms that the Dirty Dozen Brass Band will be playing the Sail Away Party on Day 1, with a Yacht Club theme taboot. Here’s hoping for a Hall & Oates or Yacht Rock medley SOMEWHERE on the boat that evening.
Also announced were the nightly piano sets in the Poesia’s beautiful three-story atrium, a much welcome tradition that started the year before my first sailing when John Medeski just sat down at the glass grand piano and started playing while an audience slowly grew around him. This year’s hosts: Marco Benevento, Nigel Hall, Matt Hubbard, Ivan Neville and Robert Walter.
The Marco set from last year and Robert Walter’s from JC 8 with Karl and Stanton sitting in are some of my most cherished memories from the first two years, so I was absolutely pumped to see that they both agreed to do it again this year. These extremely intimate solo sets are a rare chance to see some of the scene’s best keyboardists in a stripped down setting, and you never know what they’ll decide to play: crowd pleasing sing-a-longs, originals, or totally free form improv. These piano sets typically happen around 7pm while the sun is setting and right before people head to dinner and change into their crazy outfits for whatever the theme night is (who spies Boba Fett listening to Marco?).
For all of these reasons, the piano set is the calm before the storm; a chance to sit down and recharge the batteries a bit before the madness picks up full steam and just carries you through until the Jam Room closes down sometime around sunrise.
Congrats on another sell-out JamCruise; it’s well deserved!