Saturday , May 21 2022

Last Chance for Jam Cruise 3

Only 20 cabins left for Jam Cruise 3, which sets sail in 100 days.

I wonder if the Dead had any idea what they were starting when they created an alternative world that professionals, politicians and other generally upright types could escape to periodically without much fear of recrimination. The Deadhead sticker on the Cadillac doesn’t draw a second thought these days.

Carrying on that tradition of gentile temporary bohemia is Jam Cruise, soon to embark on its third incarnation:

    Jam Cruise 3 will set sail from Jacksonville, Florida on January 6, 2005. 1800 Jam Cruisers will hit the high seas [funny] for 4 days aboard Carnival Cruiselines’ Celebration. The ship will stop in Freeport, Bahamas and, fulfilling a popular request on a questionnaire filled out by last year’s cruisers, will offer passengers two full days at sea to enjoy over 40 musical performances. The festival line up includes Galactic, Les Claypool, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Keller Williams, Col Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Jazz Mandolin Project featuring Jamie Masefield and Jon Fishman, Zilla featuring Michael Travis, The Remarkable Elba Kramer featuring Kyle Hollingsworth, North Mississippi Allstars, Ozomatli, Peter Rowan & Tony Rice, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Umphrey’s McGee, Garaj Mahal, MOFRO, Benevento/Russo Duo, Tishamingo, DJ Logic, and DJ Harry. In addition to incredible performances by many of the genre’s most celebrated musical pioneers, the Jam Cruise experience promises once-in-a-lifetime artist collaborations and opportunities for hang time with the musicians who are so often inaccessible backstage.

    One of the many musical highlights of this floating festival is sure to be the rare reunion performance of what some believe is the original jam band: Col. Bruce and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. ARU first busted onto the scene in 1988. In fact, there wasn’t really even a jam band scene yet; Jerry Garcia was still alive and well and most of the improvisational music lovers were busy with The Grateful Dead’s non-stop touring schedule. Still, a handful of young bands were starting to hit the clubs and festivals. ARU released two albums on Capricorn Records, in 1991 and 1993, and embarked on the H.O.R.D.E festival during the summers of 1992 and 1993, where they met fellow musicians Phish, Widespread Panic, and Blues Traveler. Cross pollination between bands was frequent, with members of ARU frequently guesting on-stage or in the studio with the others.

    Col. Bruce and ARU would leave the spotlight as quickly as they came into it, but not before planting the seeds of a music community and culture that would someday thrive, under the radar, in clubs and theatres and festival grounds around the world. The band was led by the genius antics of Col. Bruce Hampton and the band included Oteil Burbridge (bass), Jimmy Herring (guitar), Jeff Sipe (drums), and Matt Mundy (mandolin). ARU’s cosmic funk blend of Delta Blues and bluegrass blew the minds of many. Their community conscious spirit set the stage for the quiet music revolution that would follow Jerry Garcia’s passing and their impeccable chops would become a template for future work in the jam band genre.

    And now, after earning mythical status via absence, Col. Bruce and the Aquarium Rescue Unit (minus Mundy who retired from professional music in 1993) are back for a small handful of reunion shows, including their very special Jam Cruise 3 appearance. A band before their time, ARU’s sound is still as zany and fresh as ever, their songs are timeless, and their chops, well they haven’t set down their instruments since the band split.

    Only twenty cabins remain! Prices range from $550 to $1125.00 per person, plus port charges, service fees and gratuities. Call 303.544.0191 or visit for reservations aboard Jam Cruise 3.

That’s taking the “booze cruise” theme to its farthest extension – sounds absolutely wild. That’s tremendous musical variety as well: from the bluegrass of Peter Rowan and Tony Rice, to the jammy jazz of Robert Walter and Karl Denson, to the true jam band groove of Galactic, to the electro beats of DJ Logic and the organic groove of DJ Harry, to the Southern blues ‘n’ roll of the great North Mississippi Allstars, and the Colonel, Ozo, and Les! It’s a Bonnaroo in a box! This I would attend.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected],, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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