Most music awards celebrations focus on honoring winners and manage to sandwich a few performances between the presentations. The Jammys take the opposite approach.
Wednesday night at New York's Roseland Ballroom, organizers for the third annual event recognized Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio (Studio Album of the Year for Trey Anastasio, Tour of the Year), Phish (Archival Album of the Year for Phish — Live Phish 11: 11/17/97), Gov't Mule (Song of the Year for "Soulshine"), and Widespread Panic (Live Album of the Year for Live in the Classic City), among others. But it was the many eclectic jams that kept the ceremony raging until 2:30 a.m.
The Jammys were hosted by Blues Traveler frontman John Popper and included performances by John Mayer, Bob Weir and Ratdog, Mike Gordon (Phish), Leo Kottke, Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band), Gov't Mule, John Scofield, Stanton Moore (Galactic), Andy Hess (Black Crowes), Scratch (the Roots), DJ Logic, Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson (B-52's), Tom Tom Club, moe., Rusted Root, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Particle, and Robert Randolph & the Family Band.
As jaw-dropping as many of the solo-filled jams were, it was the colorful collaborations that were most captivating. During Gov't Mule's set, the Allman Brothers Band took the stage for "Desdemona," Anastasio and Scofield raised eyebrows with the Mule on "Sco-Mule," and Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks returned to the stage to jam with Anastasio and Gov't Mule on "Soulshine." Also during the evening, Blue Oyster Cult took the stage with moe. to perform "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," and the B-52's rocked with Particle on "Love Shack."
For the conclusion of the Jammys, a long parade of musicians jammed on two stages for an endless version of "Lovelight." Ratdog took the main stage with Anastasio, guitarist Warren Haynes and drummer Matt Abts (Gov't Mule), Al Schnier (moe.), Popper and DJ Logic. At the same time, the second stage was packed by Gordon, Fuzz (Deep Banana Blackout), Randolph and others, as artists from both stages dueled one another for jam-rock supremacy.
But even after all that, the players weren't jammed out, and many joined moe. at BB King's club down the street to continue rocking until past 5 a.m. Around 3 a.m., Anastasio took the stage for "Happy Hour Hero" and "Recreational Chemistry," which also featured Particle keyboardist Steve Molitz. Then Haynes and Percy Hill keyboardist Nate Wilson took the stage for "Opium," which featured a snippet of the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood," and Steely Dan's "Bodhisattva."
In the club's side room Particle were joined by Neville Brothers keyboardist Ivan Neville for "Metropolis," and bassist Lessard and saxophonists Jessica Lurie (Living Daylights) and Sam Kininger (Soulive) kept the beer flowing with a performance of "Windjammer."