NEW YORK, NY–Co-hosted by Grace Potter and Warren Haynes the 7th Annual Jammy Awards, held at Madison Square Garden’s WaMu Theatre, squared off the jam scene’s core nexus with the rising musical talents of the live arena. It will be the last year of the “jam band” format as the event founder Peter Shapiro, who also spearheads the Green Apple Music Festivals, plans to broaden the wealth of praise to include equally influential genres.
Co-Produced by Relix Magazine and Jambands.com, performers at this year’s Jammy’s included Rose Hill Drive (featuring Mountain’s Leslie West), Keller Williams (featuring Chevy Chase), Tea Leaf Green, Doug E. Fresh, The Fab Faux, and the Head Count All Stars.
But in the midst of all the artistic talent, and a list of industry notables who have battled for the betterment for live music, the evening was dedicated to honoring Phish. The recipients of this year’s Lifetime Achievement award, it was the first time Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Jon Fishman, and Page McConnell have stood side by side on the same stage together since their mythic final performance at Coventry in 2004.
Artists shared stories from the podium, while presenters rattled off the past year’s finest recordings and concert performances. Familiar faces included Ken Dashow of Q 104.3, ex-High Times editors Steve Bloom and Shirley Halperin, Rolling Stone writer Anthony DeCurtis, and Relix editor Josh Baron. It was all in homage to the most influential jam band of the past 20 years; one that sparked the emergence of a modern community of free formed musical experimentation.
With live collaborations littering the evening, the Garden reverberated with the overtones of guitars. ALO joined Tea Leaf Green, alongside violinist Allie Kral of Cornmeal, who took home an award for Best New Groove. Page McConnell showcased his Jazz quartet with blistering sax solos, and screaming horns bursts, as legend Roy Haynes sat behind the skins.
Galactic traded beats with Doug E. Fresh, while a beat box battle between Fresh’s vocal chords and Stanton Moore’s drum set climaxed the set. Haynes and Potter lent a hand across the performance palette, and Haynes took home an award for Best Live Performance, the result of a collaborative effort with Bob Weir at Bonnaroo. “It was a performance that took years off my life, but at the same time added some on,” Haynes said in his acceptance speech.
The Fab Faux emerged late in the evening to polish off some Beatles classics, including “Come Together” with Joan Osborne. The audience then became electrified when Trey Anastasio emerged to whale on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” alongside Jimmy Vivino.
Additional performers included Booker T. Jones, and Matisyahu. The audience rose to their feet as the Lifetime Achievement Portion of the ceremony began with a short montage as photographer Danny Clinch toasted the band with some exclusive photography of Phish’s inner sanctum. Notables included backstage prints with Jay-Z, and Kid Rock.
Truly taken back by the experience, and with a hush over the crowd, Anastasio expressed his appreciation but explains to the New York City audience how he felt that he always felt like he was part of something bigger than him. How he was playing the role of a servant to the fans and the muse.
When Anastasio finished his acceptance speech and walked off stage with his band mates, the release of air from the audience’s lungs was deafening. The anticipated Phish reunion would have to wait for another city, another time, and another night. Instead the Head Count All-Stars, which included Jack Cinninger of Umphrey’s McGee, and Marc Brownstein of the Disco Biscuits, capped it with a few Phish tunes.
7th Annual Jammy Awards Winners
Live Album of the Year: Umphrey’s McGee, Live at the Murat
New Groove of the Year: Cornmeal
DVD of the Year: The Disco Biscuits, Progressions
Download of the Year: Phish, “Headphones Jam”
Mimi Fishman Award: Rock the Earth
Song of the Year: Keller Williams, “Cadillac”
Tour of the Year: The Disco Biscuits/Umphrey’s McGee, D.U.M.B.
Grahmmy Jammy: Lee Crumpton, Homegrown Music Network
Archival Release of the Year: The Grateful Dead, Three From The Vault
Studio Album of the Year: moe., The Conch
Live Performance of the Year: Gov’t Mule and Guests, Bonnaroo
Lifetime Achievement Award: Phish