The Complete Disco Guide to...

Jamiroquai

Jay Kay (vocals, 1992-present), Vanessa Simon (background vocals, 1993), Linda Lewis (background vocals, 1993), Katie Kissoon (background vocals, 1999), Beverley Skeete (background vocals, 1999), Lorraine McIntosh (background vocals, 2002), Dee Lewis (background vocals, ?-present), Valerie Etienne (background vocals, ?-present), Hazel Fernandez (background vocals, ?-present), Beverley Knight (vocals, 2001), Stuart Zender (bass, 1992-1998), Nick Fyffe (bass, 1998-2004), Paul Turner (bass, ?-present), Gavin Dodds (guitar, 1993-1999?), Simon Katz (guitar, 1993-2000), Rob Harris (guitar, 2000-present), Toby Smith (keyboards, 1992-2002), Simon Carter (keyboards, 1999-2002), Matt Johnson (keyboards, 2002-present), Derrick McKenzie (drums, 1992-present), Sola Akingbola (percussion, 1999-present), Kofi Kari Kari (percussion), Wallis Buchanan (yiddaki/didgeridoo, 1992-2001), Gary Barnacie (saxophone, flute), Jim Corry (saxophone), Richard Edwards (trombone), John Thirkell (trumpet, 1993-?), Martin Shaw (trumpet, ?-present), Malcolm Strachan (trumpet and flugelhorn), Simon Hale (strings)

Jamiroquai's buffalo man from the You Give Me Something single cover Singer Jay Kay (Jason Kay) was born December 30, 1969 in England. His forays into acid-jazz, funk, and disco music have been worthwhile, even if partly derivative. The band's name comes from "jam" (as in a jam session) + "Iroquois" (the name of an American Indian tribe). The band's symbol is the "buffalo man" (shown at right).

In 1998, Jamiroquai's song "Deeper Underground" was included on the soundtrack to the movie "Godzilla", and when released as a single in July 1998 it reached #1 Pop in the U.K.

Jamiroquai's reworking, with newly-recorded vocals, of Kool and the Gang's funk classic "Hollywood Swingin'" was included on the soundtrack to the 2005 film "Roll Bounce".

They released a funk-pop single titled "Runaway" in the U.K. on October 30, 2006.

The single "Smile" was released on June 9, 2011.


DISCOGRAPHY

Classic Songs:
1992: When You Gonna Learn?
1993: Emergency on Planet Earth
1995: Light Years, Space Cowboy
1996: Cosmic Girl, Virtual Insanity
1997: High Times
1998: Deeper Underground
1999: Canned Heat, King for a Day, Supersonic
2001: Little L, Love Foolosophy, Main Vein, You Give Me Something, Corner of the Earth
2005: Feels Just Like It Should, Seven Days in Sunny June, (Don't) Give Hate a Chance
2006: Runaway
2010: White Knuckle Ride, Blue Skies, Lifeline
2011: Smile

Albums:


Emergency on Planet Earth (1993)
TRACKS:   When You Gonna Learn? (Digeridoo)      Too Young to Die      Hooked Up      If I Like It, I Do It      Music of the Mind      Emergency on Planet Earth      Whatever It Is, I Just Can't Stop      Blow Your Mind      Revolution 1993      Didgin' Out

Return of the Space Cowboy (1995)
TRACKS:   Space Cowboy      Stillness in Time      Half the Man      Light Years      Manifest Destiny      Kids      Mr. Moon      Scam      Journey to Arnhemland      Morning Glory      Just Another Story      Light Years

Travelling Without Moving (1997)
TRACKS:   Virtual Insanity      Cosmic Girl      Use the Force      Everyday      Alright      High Times      Drifting Along      Didjerama      Didjital Vibrations      Travelling Without Moving      You Are My Love      Spend a Lifetime      Untitled
Includes the space-themed, strings-laden disco song "Cosmic Girl", which was released as a single on November 25, 1996 in the United Kingdom and January 7, 1997 in the United States and reached as high as #6 on the British pop chart. It charted at #7 on the Billboard Dance/Club Play chart in the USA in February 1997. The lyrics are silly but the instrumentation is top-quality.

"Cosmic Girl" was included in the soundtrack to the 2000 film "Center Stage".

"Consider that the platinum voice of Jamiroquai crooner Jay Kay sounds like the heartiest of soul sisters, and has all the vocal stylings of a young Stevie Wonder, and you will instantly recognize the secret behind the U.K. group's infectious blend of cosmic soul.... Their new songs are throwbacks to the club-oriented disco age of the late '70s, as on 'Cosmic Girl'..."
         - Jazzbo, Rocktropolis (January 14, 1997)

"If it's an uptown blend of soul, funk and disco you're looking for, this is the right address."
         - David Brinn, Jerusalem Post (October 8, 1996)

"...essentially about the metaphysics of having a good time....Jamiroquai have a thousand musical tricks up their sleeves; edgy horns laced with jazz intricacies, energetic bass lines and disco rhythms..."
         - The Source (February 1997)


Synkronized (1999)
TRACKS:   Canned Heat     Planet Home     Black Capricorn Day     Soul Education     Falling     Destitute Illusion     Supersonic     Butterfly      Where Do We Go From Here     King For A Day
This album includes the disco song "Canned Heat", which was released as a single in the United States on June 1, 1999. "Canned Heat" reached #1 Pop in Japan, #4 Pop in the United Kingdom, #10 Pop in Canada, and #20 Pop in Australia. The song also was a #1 hit on the Billboard Dance/Club Play chart in the USA in September 1999.

"Canned Heat" was included in the soundtrack to the 2000 film "Center Stage", and also on the 2004 film "Napoleon Dynamite". It's also included on the "MusicBOX Disco Funk" compilation from Sony Music Media (September 2003) along with many '70s and '80s disco classics.

"Typically Jamiroquai, the only twist being an unusually heavy disco influence, this is destined for the familiar ecstatic response from fans. With all things disco being flavour of the moment, this string-driven tune can hardly fail."
         - Dotmusic.com (May 11, 1999)

"...soaring strings, gyrating congas, hell-bent wah-wah's, and an undeniably live rhythm section that'll hustle your muscles and make you freak to the beat..."
         - Spin (August 1999)

"A new chapter begins for Jay Kay's Jamiroquai with the first recordings without the magic touch of Stuart Zender. Worry not bassbrethren, as the funky bottom end is in the safe hands of Nick Fyffe: cool riffs and pops are mixed with loops and keys providing a strong foundation. Fine performances from all makes this a highly polished album.... a good album..."
         - Roger Newell, Bassist (Summer 1999)


A Funk Odyssey (2001)
TRACKS:   Feel So Good     Little L     You Give Me Something     Corner of the Earth     Love Foolosophy     Stop Don't Panic     Black Crow     Main Vein     Twenty Zero One     Picture Of My Life
The 5 disco songs on this album are "Feel So Good", "Little L", "Love Foolosophy", "You Give Me Something", and "Main Vein". "Little L" was released as a single in the United Kingdom on August 13, 2001 and in the United States on September 4, 2001. On world pop charts it reached #1 in Spain, #2 in Italy, #5 in the United Kingdom, #5 in Finland, #7 in Canada, and #14 in Australia. The next single, "You Give Me Something", was released on November 19, 2001 in the United Kingdom and on December 4, 2001 in the United States. It reached #16 Pop in the United Kingdom, #17 Pop in Spain, and #20 Pop in Italy. The third single, "Love Foolosophy", got released February 25, 2002 in the United Kingdom and reached #14 Pop in the United Kingdom. It also reached #1 Club in the United Kingdom. The fourth single, "Corner of the Earth", was released on July 8, 2002 in the United Kingdom. Remixes of "Main Vein" reached #1 Club in the United Kingdom.

"Little L" was included in the soundtrack to the 2002 film "The Sweetest Thing".

"Jay Kay, Jamiroquai's strutting R&B guinea fowl, has shrugged off many a jibe about his devotion to disco-funk.... Now his starship has finally come in, his fifth album's prime concern is demonstrating that no one does sci-fi boogie quite as well as he does sci-fi boogie. Single Little L, all glistening string stabs and elastic bass in the Canned Heat vein, dwells animatedly on the end of Jay's epochal liason with Ms Van Outen. The mood of reflection is underlined by the infectious and inventively titled Love Foolosophy. Meanwhile, Stop Don't Panic and Twenty Zero One are ferocious, turbo charging proceedings with the aid of sequencer and filthy beats. Swapping rambling funk jams for computerised aggression will perhaps broaden Jamiroquai's appeal yet further. But it's the mammoth songwriting leap - see Corner Of The Earth's sumptuous French Riviera romance or Black Crow's Sly Stone-esque lament - that certifies A Funk Odyssey as thoroughbred. This time, there's a bankable chorus or barbed sentiment for every mirror-ball moment, not just on the singles."
         - Dan Gennoe, Q Magazine (August 2001)

"He's just the same, only better.... The album does exactly what it says on the box: it's cock-full of irresistibly funky songs, like a would-be modern Stevie Wonder."
         - Elle

"Ten years and five albums on Jamiroquai continue their trademark future disco sound to complete one hell of a Funk Odyssey. But despite the groovy feel and catchy quality of this album, there is no new musical territory covered here. The familiarity of frontman Jason Kay's vocals ring throughout, matched by the expected polished and watered-down disco backing. Jamiroquai are certainly not aiming to break any boundaries but deliver a fun collection of tunes."
         - Daniel Stinton, The Western Australian (September 2001)

"Kay is certainly a good citizen of Earth, in that he is a great representative for recycling. But if he gets annoyed when people make Stevie Wonder comparisons, then he should stop ripping Wonder off blind (er, sorry). To be fair, he shakes it up a little this time around with some bossanova beats and jazzy guitar on 'Black Crow' and 'Picture Of My Life', but they're outweighed with the familiar funk-lite formula of loping bass, disco strings, and clappy beats. Like a bartender at the end of a long, slow night, Kay is starting to water everything down."
         - NW Magazine (September 2001)

"Jay Kay and his band take as their starting point music made mainly in America between 1975 and 1978, just as funk was fading and disco became dominant. Bass keyboard lines snort like rutting elephants beneath these tracks, recalling the great P-Funk line-ups dominated by Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell. 'Feel So Good' hints at Heatwave's 'Boogie Nights', while first single 'Little L' doffs its doubtless outsize headgear in the direction of the great BT Express, as Philly-styled strings swoosh and squirm around guitarist Rob Harris's taut, wiry riffs. Kay doesn't do 'sensitive' quite as well as he would like, which means the Latin-ate 'Corner Of The Earth' and the evidently heartfelt closer, 'Picture Of My Life', are uncomfortable attempts to tackle a more conventional singer-songwriter template. He's on a surer footing with 'Black Crow', returning to the eco-warrior subject matter of his earlier records, and seems more at home with campaigning and protesting than he does with soul-baring."
         - Angus Batey, Dotmusic.com

"With his fifth album, A Funk Odyssey, Jay Kay and his minions (old and new) faithfully recreate 70s disco-funk as if it were cool. Only this time, with the success of fellow Euro-acts like Daft Punk and Stardust, it is cool, which makes Odyssey a bit less relevant but fun all the same. The album's first single, 'Little L,' and 'Love Foolosophy' (which all but samples 'Music Sounds Better With You' by song's end) are pure nu-disco. 'L' is steeped in retro 'Billie Jean' beats and disco synth-strings, lamenting a fading, lowercase love: 'You make me love you with a little L.' 'Feel So Good' and the angsty bass-driven 'Twenty Zero One' shrink the ?ber-analog gap between Jamiroquai and its French counterparts while 'Main View' departs on a full-steam freight train en route to 1978 New York. The biggest deviation from the formula, however, is the Latin-flavored 'Corner of the Earth,' which features dreamy backing vox that purr by like a warm Caribbean breeze. (Its cinematic arrangement of strings and horns should start the Hollywood suits a-knockin'.) Like its predecessors, Odyssey mixes self-samplage with Jamiroquai's now-signature robo-funk, but the sticatto synths of tracks like 'Main Vein' are more 'The Price is Right' than Giorgio Moroder; or, maybe, that's just what it sounds like to ears reared in the digital age."
         - Sal Cinquemani, Slant Magazine (2001)

"Cocky bugger Jamiroquai makes stylish pop sound effortless. This [the single 'Little L'] is Y2K Studio 54, complete with sweeping strings and hand claps."
         - Herald Sun (August 16, 2001)

"In the years since, a series of personal dramas became creative fodder, resulting in a set of songs that offer a pleasant shift from the retro-funk dance sound that has been Jamiroquai's calling card for nearly 10 years. Between such turntable-ready dance jams as 'Feel So Good' and 'You Give Me Something' are the confessional 'Picture of My Life' -- with its delicate acoustic guitar lines -- and the meditative, Latin-brushed 'Corner of the Earth.' First single 'Little L' is No. 10 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music: Club Play chart this week."
         - Billboard Magazine (September 2001)

"Funk, Soul and Space Journeys. This is what Jamiroquai's members like the most and they intend, once again, to show it... [T]heir disco-funk renewal continues its way... [but] it takes electronic manipulation, which was already seen on 'Synkronized', to another level. This doesn't mean Jamiroquai are close friends with Basement Jaxx, far from that, in fact it's the decent Michael Jackson from 'Thriller' who is reminded on 'Little L'; in 'Stop, Don't Panic' it's recognizable the psychadelic funk from Funkadelic and in 'You Give Me Something' it's the crudity of 'There's a Riot Goin' On' (Sly & The Family Stone) confronted with silky Rhodes and string sections interludes.... The item left is space journeys. Preventing a long wait, Jay Kay starts the album singing 'Feels good, I'm stranded / On a spaceship hideaway'. Thirty seconds later we're already in Enterprise's dance floor, hearing a boy with a Stevie Wonder voice and a band that brings on the funk over a electronic rhythmic base. After a while, when we get to 'Twenty Zero One', things get definitively 'futuristic'.... [T]here's also times where the electricity is put a side and the acoustic guitar is brought on. 'Corner of The Earth' gathers Bossa-Nova and a majestic string arrangement, brings on Barry White's silky ways and, in an entusiastic crescendo, makes strings and percussions end in Arabian lands. 'Black Crow' remembers the band's ecological concerns in a soul ballad that confirms without a doubt Stevie Wonder as their main musical influence... It's a whole lot better than the products that nowadays they try to sell us as soul, funk and R&B..."
         - Mario Lopez, Blitz (September 2001)

"The venerable Brit outfit merges disco and funk on this sublime first single ['Little L'] from its fifth CD. No '70s groove has sounded so fresh since, well, the '70s."
         - Jeremy Helligar, Teen People (October 2001)


Dynamite (June 2005)
TRACKS:   Feels Just Like It Should      Dynamite      Seven Days in Sunny June      Electric Mistress      Starchild      Love Blind      Talullah      (Don't) Give Hate a Chance      World That He Wants      Black Devil Car      Hot Tequila Brown      Time Won't Wait
The disco songs on this very good album are "Dynamite", "Starchild", "Time Won't Wait", and "(Don't) Give Hate a Chance". "Electric Mistress" is electro-dance, while "Feels Just Like It Should" and "Black Devil Car" have a rockish flavor. "Feels Just Like It Should" debuted at number 8 on the U.K. singles chart in June 2005. "(Don't) Give Hate a Chance" reached number 27 on the U.K. singles chart in November 2005. Things mellow out on "Seven Days in Sunny June", "Talullah", and "World That He Wants". This album was recorded in Los Angeles and several locations in Europe and Latin America, and mixed in New York City. It debuted on the U.K. album chart at number 3.

"Dynamite is his sixth album of the same old same old and, while it can never be as fresh to the ears as his debut, it is in no way inferior as a collection of finger-popping songs. Feels Just Like it Should is a good chunky single to lead off with. Its heavy space funk represents only the slightest tweaking of the Jamiroquai sound... The heady title track is so authentically retro it sounds like it was recorded in the mid-1970s, complete with typical disco lyrics about chemistry on the dance floor/in the bedroom. ... Starchild - a very 1970s funk title - is another mirror ball moment, souped up with strings. The lyrics are nonsense but, as with all good disco tracks, it's all about the feel. ... For a moment, it sounds like Give Hate a Chance may be the first ever full-on sparkling disco groover about negative energy but - relax, love and peace divas - they're all singing 'don't give hate a chance'. World that he Wants, a portrait of domestic tribulation, is the only attempt to tackle something weightier than cars and girls and even then it's really just an accurate pastiche of a socially conscious Stevie ballad. ... However, one palpable plus about this whole album is the immaculate production work by Kay himself and Mike Spencer, who have clearly served a bunch of decent but unremarkable songs particularly well."
         - Fiona Shepherd, The Scotsman (June 17, 2005)

"He and his Ferraris now generate irritation that won't be quelled by the release of his sixth album. Yet there's an elegant languor to Dynamite's Starbucks-soul that shouldn't be dismissed. The vocals, which may well have been recorded from a chaise longue, mesh beguilingly with sunny melodies that rank with Jamiroquai staples like Cosmic Girl. When Kay rouses himself, he can even funk convincingly, as proved by Electric Mistress... Overlook the hazy underlying politicism - Starchild belatedly fulminates against TV evangelists - to enjoy a smooth, summery cocktail."
         - Caroline Sullivan, The Guardian (June 17, 2005)

"The real sound of the UK dancefloor remains exactly where it was five, 10, 15 years ago - with the well-crafted, easy-on-the-ear retro-funk of Jamiroquai... There's something comfortingly familiar about the band's sound, which is as amenable here as it was years ago in the hands of Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire, if not quite as brimful of inspiration. ... Recorded live in the studio, then nipped, tucked and toughened up by digital tweaking, Dynamite is as smooth and muscular as a Chippendale's chest, and about as slippery too, the strutting bass and slick rhythm guitar locking together on tracks like 'Starchild' and 'Electric Mistress' (even the titles have been imported from the Seventies). Which is not to say Jay Kay & co have been entirely static. In particular, 'Love Blind' and 'Feels Just Like It Should' have a fatter, dirtier sound than usual - more rock-funk than funk-rock, almost. Lyrically, it's much the same mix of sexual intrigue and political complaint as before, with the sardonic 'Give Hate a Chance' and 'World That He Wants', a heavily orchestrated piano ballad about George Bush..., balanced by the more personal regret of 'Talulah'..."
         - Andy Gill, The Independent (June 17, 2005)

"...Jay Kay's mastery of his craft is undeniable, with sterling vocal performances and three or four tunes that could easily find their way onto The Very Best of Earth, Wind & Fire."
         - Rhodri Marsden, The London Line (June 16, 2005)

"Dynamite is a surprisingly good return to form from a band who aren't just fans of 80s electro, sci-fi disco and bubblegum soul - they practically wrote the book. First single Feels Just Like it Should feels just like Cosmic Girl should, and Starchild, the album's most funkadelic moment, has a wah-wah guitar lick so fat you can almost forgive Kay's stupid hat collection. ...the solid songwriting carries the album."
         - Rebecca Barry, The New Zealand Herald (July 16, 2005)

"...it's a lot of fun to listen to... Kay manages to somehow sound retro and fresh at the same time. ... It's disco mixed with electronica and with a dash of horns mixed in. ... There are a few misses as well on this CD, notably when Kay waxes a tad too political, or tries to rock out a little bit too earnestly. However, all in all this is a solid effort from a band that undeservedly flies under the radar after one big single."
         - The Brandon Sun (September 25, 2005)


Rock Dust Light Star (November 2010)
TRACKS:   Rock Dust Light Star      White Knuckle Ride      Smoke and Mirrors      All Good in the Hood      Hurtin'      Blue Skies      Lifeline      She's a Fast Persuader      Two Completely Different Things      Goodbye to My Dancer      Never Gonna Be Another      Hey Floyd
"White Knuckle Ride" is an electro-disco song that achieved the #39 position on the British pop chart and reached #7 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart in the United States.

Other songs have funk, house, jazz, and alternative flavors.

The album as a whole reached #7 on the U.K. Albums Chart and #4 on the U.K. Digital Albums Chart and also did well in some other countries like Switzerland, Germany, and France.

Only the Japanese release carries the track "That's Not The Funk I Want". Meanwhile, "Angeline" and "Hang It Over" are only included as bonus tracks on the Deluxe Edition.

"...songs that practically glow with sunny brass and Californian Seventies funk rock flavours. Amongst impressive elastic basslines and Sly Stone-style guitar, his ability to nail light, mainstream pop songwriting shines as brightly as ever."
         - Thomas H. Green, Telegraph.co.uk (October 29, 2010)

"It may not be edgy or innovative, but Rock Dust Light Star showcases vintage Jamiroquai at their catchiest and most confident."
         - Huw Jones, Slant Magazine (November 1, 2010)


HOW TO ORDER YOUR FAVORITE JAMIROQUAI SONGS

ALBUM TITLEMerchant 1Merchant 2Merchant 3Merchant 4
Travelling Without Moving Amazon.com Amazon.ca iTunes
Synkronized Amazon.com Amazon.ca iTunes
A Funk Odyssey Amazon.com Amazon.ca
Dynamite Amazon.com Amazon.ca iTunes
Rock Dust Light Star Amazon.com Amazon.ca iTunes

Related links:

  • Jamiroquai's Official Site
  • Jamirotalk.net: International Fan Discussion Forum For Cosmic Girls and Space Cowboys
  • Jamiroquai - The Funkin' Site
  • Dotmusic.com: Jamiroquai
  • Deep Groove Encyclopedia: Jamiroquai
  • Disco Savvy Homepage