All Star Smooth Jazz Cruise 2005 Report

All Star Smooth Jazz Cruise 2005
Tons of Fun and Jammin’ Sessions
by S.H. Watkins, Sr. and Carmen Miller

The all star smooth jazz cruise got underway with a bang, then another and another! After much travel and consternation the cruise got underway and the jazz is going on!

Day 1’s concert featured Chicago native own Alan Hewitt who put on a groovin show, highlighted by Rick Braun joining him on stage for a couple of tunes. Following Alan was another Chicago boy and one of my favorite guitarists, Nick Colionne who put on a show that brought down the house.

Decked out in a shimmering pink suit, Nick delivered a performance for the ages, bringing the crowd to its feet over and over again with uproaring applause. Something new (for me) was seeing Nick sing on his rendition of “Rainy Night in Georgia” his rich voice accented by that sweet guitar was a real treat.

Nick is also hosting the jam sessions in the evening, more about THAT in a second (stay tuned).

Day 2’s show featured the youth movement. 22 year old phenom Eric Darius Opened the show with three tracks from his new CD and for those that had never seen him, it was a real treat. This young cat has the chops to maintain a position in the jazz pecking order.

Following Darius was another Chicago cat and musical prodigy Brian Culbertson. Joined by a great band that includes his father Jim Culbertson, Brian showed a penchant for showmanship while he dazzled the crowd with his keyboard dancing, even jamming a bit on his other favorite instrument, the trombone. When Eric Darius came back out and joined him it was a jam for the ages… and for the future.

Now for the Hignlight of the day… the all star jam session hosted by Nick Colionne.

Nick started off with his own band and did an uptempo number, but the evening got better every minute. At one point the ensemble that was playing included Nick Colionne, Rick Braun, Jaared, Michael Lington, Pamela Williams, Gregg Karukas, Ancestor, Chris Miskel, Michael Paulo and many more. Additonally some of the passengers who brought instruments were up on stage jammin’ as well.

The Jam session was actually the best show so far, and we can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s jam session will be like. It could be Mindi Abair, Peter White, Marion Meadows… who knows?