Now that I have gotten all the negative stuff off my chest, I can start to talk about something positive. The good news is that if you managed to get into a show on this cruise, you would see that Capital Jazz continues to demonstrate its knack for booking extraordinary talent. From the headliners to the backing musicians, every show I saw was amazing. Capital Jazz filled the ship with Grammy winners, legends, and other amazing musicians. Even though it is called the Capital "Jazz Cruise" there were other genres of entertainment represented throughout the week: R&B, gospel, hip hop, reggae, comedy, and even a classical ballet performance by the Dance Theatre of Harlem. There was a comedy show each night. These shows were very popular. After all the mishaps on this cruise, I guess people felt the need to laugh at the end of each day.
My favorite show on this cruise was that of James Lloyd from Pieces of a Dream. He is one of the most gifted keyboard players I have ever witnessed. At one point, he took a solo from the back of his keyboard meaning he was playing the keys upside-down!
James Lloyd of Pieces of a Dream
One of my favorite aspects of this cruise continues to be the late night jam sessions where performers collaborate on tunes. No reservations were needed for these. There were two flavors of these jam sessions: Jeff's Jam hosted by Jeff Bradshaw which was primarily instrumental improvisation and Soul Session hosted by Eric Roberson which focused mainly on singers. I enjoy these events because they are an opportunity to see the artists demonstrate their talents beyond their music that is heard on the radio.
Trombonist Jeff Bradshaw joined by Kindred the Family Soul at the Late Night Jam Session
The talent line-up deviated slightly from what was advertised but we have learned from previous Capital Jazz cruises that these deviations tend to be exciting. A stand out moment this year was a surprise performance by Maysa who was not advertised as being on the cruise. The audience went wild when Bluey of the group Incognito brought her on stage to sing their hit song "Deep Water". She put so much into her performance that she brought herself to tears. Another surprise was a set by comedian Myra J formerly of the Tom Joyner Morning Show. She did a stand-up routine during the comedy show featuring George Wallace and Drew Fraser. The legendary hip hop artist Rakim was booked to perform on the cruise but was not able to make it. In his place was 90's rapper Monie Love. Also during that show, everyone received a free drink voucher on behalf of Rakim as an apology for not being able to perform.
comedian George Wallace
comedian Myra J
Traci and I had lucky timing with accessing the reservation system when we first boarded the ship and thus were able to see most of the shows we wanted to see. Below is a list of the performances on the Capital Jazz Cruise 2016. Traci and I attended most of them together but there were times we split up based on our interests and/or energy level. Traci managed to stay out until 4 AM one night enjoying herself at the Legends of Hip-Hop Concert Party. I did not have the energy to stay up that late that night. However, things reversed later that week when Traci was too sleepy to attend some of the late night parties and concerts with me. I put an 'M' next to the shows I attended, a 'T' next to the ones Traci attended, and a 'B' next to the ones we attended together.
[B] = Both of us attended; [M] = Mike attended; [T] = Traci attended; [-] Neither of us attended
Featured Evening Shows:
Featured Matinee Shows:
The Underground Lounge Performances hosted by Eric Roberson:
[B] Jeff's Jam – late night jam session hosted by Jeff Bradshaw
[M] Soul Session hosted by Eric Roberson (jam session featuring vocalists)
The Get Down Club Performances hosted by Joey Sommerville
Walter Beasley with James Lloyd on keys
BWB: Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, and Rick Braun