Jam Cruise 20: Lettuce, moe. with Daniel Donato, Medeski, Martin, Porter Ft. Aba Diop and More (Day One)

Hana Gustafson on February 26, 2024
Jam Cruise 20:  Lettuce, moe. with Daniel Donato, Medeski, Martin, Porter Ft. Aba Diop and More (Day One)

With winter madness sweeping across the vast majority of the U.S., the time had arrived for a tropical retreat steeped in live music, collaborations and the celebratory feel of a family reunion; enter Jam Cruise

For the 20th edition of the beloved festival at sea, folks boarded the MSC Divina vessel in Miami on Sunday, Feb. 25, eager for the annual gathering, known for late-night jam sets, sit-ins and unexpected live music moments. Entertainment began in the typical fashion, with a sail away set on the Pool Deck featuring Lettuce, who brought the funk from start to finish. 

Toward the end of Lettuce’s frame, a fierce ensemble was gathering in the Pantheon Theater: John Medeski, Billy Martin, George Porter Jr., featuring Senegalese percussionist Aba Diop. Joining the group for much of the set was DJ Logic, who applied texture to the layered delivery on the turntables. 

Amongst the high points was a breathtaking cover of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Vietnam protest song in response to the Kent State Massacre (1970), “Ohio.” Porter took the lyrical lead, tapping into the intense feeling of the Neil Young-penned composition. To follow, the artists welcomed The New Mastersounds’ Eddie Roberts before his own band’s set, which landed after midnight

Elsewhere on the boat, moe. kicked off their first frame of Jam Cruise. Notably, one of the liveliest crowds on night one, viewers mimicked the band’s energy, singing back the treasured lyrics. Daniel Donato joined the Western New Yorkers after the halfway point of their stage time, previewing what’s to come this summer when the jammers team up on the road for a 12-stop summer tour. Watch a preview below. 

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe arrived in the Pantheon Theatre, delivering their classic blend of rock, soul and funk. Joining the group on stage was Vaylor Trucks, son of The Allman Brothers Band’s drummer Butch Trucks. Simultaneously, Eggy gigged in the packed Black and White room. At the same time, Magic Beans dipped into their first frame of Jam Cruise. 

During the early morning hours, at 1:45 a.m., TAUK Moore, featuring The Horn Section, took over the Pool Deck. At the top of the hour, more music picked up in separate locations from Roberts and company via The New Mastersounds (Pantheon Theater), old friends George Porter Jr. and Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz (Jam Room) and DJ Soul Sister (Galaxy Disco). 

Scroll down to view photos shot by Hana Gustafson featuring stills from night one of Jam Cruise 20. 

Music will resume today, Monday, Feb. 26, at 12:30 p.m., with The HillBenders on the Pool Deck. 

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