I feel really dumb even trying to convince you that Jam Cruise 11 was the best yet. I say that EVERY year about our amazing floating adventure, but since I really mean it, I’ll just take a few minutes to explain why and then let the photos speak for themselves.

For one, the longer Jam Cruise exists, and now it’s been a complete DECADE, the better that the returning artists get to know each other. It’s like a musical reunion. And those who don’t know each other have either wanted to meet or are now in love and planning tours together. That’s the magic of Jam Cruise.

Next, the musicianship is STELLAR every year but there was something mystical this time. I’ll get specific when I show the photos, but to name just a few, Femi Kuti, MarchFourth Marching Band & John Scofield…

OK, let’s start the photo story that depicts only a portion of the Jam Cruise experience.

There are so many cool things about Jam Cruise. Big things, little things. This is one of the little creative things that got added to the already existing decor of the MSC Poesia. Our logo was placed in the Disco under the bar and lit up the venue!

Here she is…the beautiful MSC Poesia. For years, she has taken us to distant lands where the music barely stops and the party NEVER does!

Getting moe. on board for the first time was a Jamband triumph. One of my all-time favorites for 15 years…one of the biggest in the scenes. And MAN did they have fun! Here’s Chuck on Day 1 while we were still in port. He’s sorta a shy guy but loved every minute of the week.

Oh Robert, how I love you so (and the cool photo booth on board.) Jam Cruise has given me the chance to become true friends with many musicians and Robert is one of my favorites. We even love chatting on the phone on a random Tuesday night just catching up. And we can definitely be found together either outside the Howlin Wolf at 5am in New Orleans during JazzFest or even at Café Du Monde.

Steve Kimock is one of the great musicians of the Jamband scene, one of Jam Cruise’s favorites each year and just an all around great guy. I have mad respect for him, especially as a father. He loves his kids so much and it’s encouraging to me being a new mom.

He’s the King, I’m the Queen. That’s just the way it works here on earth. Except he’s not from earth. But that’s ok, he graces us with his presence. He’s the smartest man I’ve ever met in my life. His friendship means more to me than imaginable. Each year when I do my Jam Cruise column, I show you the bio I write for him. It makes no sense which is pretty perfect for him: “And the saga continues…Bruce has now taken on the role of National Disaster Clean Up Manager. The wings that he miraculously grew since Jam Cruise 10 allow him to fly from city to city cleaning up Mother Nature’s fury. But she’s so pleased with Cloud 9’s efforts to be environmentally conscious that she doesn’t touch the MSC Poesia, as that is Bruce’s new home. He has slept on board every night since our last adventure and when he is not saving the country from Hurricanes and Fires, he has become a popular attraction during the Cabaret Nights in the Theater. See, he gave up rock and roll to become a hero and a Broadway performer. He said rock and roll is dead EXCEPT when Jam Cruise comes around. So for 5 days a year, he straps on that guitar and plays mystical notes of wisdom. Thank goodness for Captain Hamp, as the employees of the Poesia warmly call him.”

Brokedown in Bakersfield – country music has finally hit the Jamband scene! Members of ALO + Gramblers + Scott Law = a whole lotta fun! And I have a serious girl crush on Nicki Bluhm.

This photo pretty much sums up my feelings about Jam Cruise!

My little brother Nigel performed on a gorgeous white grand piano in the atrium. His set was incredible and he presented me with a photo that was taken of the two of us a few years ago while he performed a song for me during the Fantastic Four set. This shot captures the moment after he gave me the gift. I love him with all my heart.

We were THRILLED when Art Neville said he wanted to come back on Jam Cruise! Plus, he just celebrated his 75th birthday!!! This photo is extra funny because the last time he was on board, I was in a sailors outfit and he said to me in a very sultry way “I used to be in the Navy, ya know” so it was perfect that we both were wearing sailor hats here. Love this man!

John Scofield has been one of my musical heroes for 15 years. We befriended each other back in the late 90s when Berkfest Music Festival was hot. But since he spends most of his time touring in Europe, it was hard to hook up with him again. But we knew we wanted him on Jam Cruise…BADLY! So I came up with a plan. I went to see Phil & Friends when he was on tour with them. I saw him backstage and he lit up with a huge smile. Here’s how the convo went down:

“Annabel, I miss you, how are you?”
“John, I miss you so much too! We want you on Jam Cruise.”
“I’ve always wanted to do it but it needs to be the right fit.”
“How about MMW?”
“Oh, PERFECT! Let’s do it!”…. Then he walked right on stage.

One week later, they were confirmed. BOOM!

He had the GREATEST time and continues to send me text messages thanking me. What a gift…

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