"All Jams On Deck" DVD cruises with the blues

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 12:00 AM Written by 

jamsondeckI know that a bunch of my readers have been enjoying the benefits of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, those big cruise ships full of bands and fans that sound pretty much like blues heaven. I haven't made one yet, and I know a lot of fans who haven't.

So for all of us who haven't been there (and those who have who want to relive a little), here's an excellent DVD from a 2010 cruise that focuses on the nightly blues jams held on the ships.

"All Jams On Deck" was filmed by noted music documentarian Robert Mugge on the 2010 blues cruise to the Mexican Riviera (maybe you were there), and nominated for for Best DVD in the Blues Foundation's 2012 Blues Music Awards.

The 96-minute film takes a music-filled look at the late-night blues jams on the ship, which seem to have developed into some of the best music of the cruise, where musicians who rarely or never play together join in to make some exciting blues.

The DVD shows one long jam from each of several -- including guitar jams, harp jams, piano jams, horn jams -- and you don't have to look very hard to see how much fun the musicians are having. Marcia Ball, hosting a jam featuring a bunch of great horn players on "I Woke Up Screaming" says later in an interview: "That's the way I hear it in my dreams." She's right, too. It's a great number.

Here's just a short list of some of the musicians in these performances: Tommy Castro, Marcia Ball, Johnny Winter, Elvin Bishop, Commander Cody, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, John Nemeth, Rick Estrin. And many more.

In between the music, there are interviews with some of the artists, who talk about musical jams and musical communication. It's fun to watch Jimmy Thackery speculate how the first jams could have started with some primitive log pounding, and in a more serious way, to watch musicians talk about the kind of communication it takes to create a musical jam session.

Not all of the DVD is late-night jamming. Some include a more standard, but still free-flowing, settings like the performance by Elvin Bishop and John Nemeth, with Nemeth taking the vocals for Bishop's classic hit, "Fooled Around and Fell in Love."

There's a lot of great music on this DVD, and it makes for an exciting musical sea cruise.

If you're looking for CDs that bring the music ashore, I've written about three in the past year or so; one from Tommy Castro, one from Elvin Bishop, and one from Joe Louis Walker.

And here's the trailer for the film:

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