A promising debut
The first band that comes to mind when you speak of modern jazz-funk or acid-jazz is Jamiroquai (/dʒəˈmɪroʊkwaɪ/). Formed in 1992, the band is in high demand up to now. Its albums sell well, and concerts are performed to packed houses.
As mentioned earlier, the band's history dates to 1992 when its debut single "When You Gonna Learn?" came out. The music composition was written by Jay Kay, a talented vocalist, and released by Acid Jazz record label. The song was a success, and it was soon followed by a recording contract with Sony.
Jay Kay coined the band's name from two English words - "jam" (a musical event where several musicians play improvised solos) and "Iroquois" (the name of a North American Indian tribe). Jamiroquai logo, "Buffalo Man", also refers to Indians.
To record the debut album, Jay Kay gathered the original band members including keyboardist Toby Smith, bass player Stuart Zender, drummer Nick Van Gelder, DJ D-Zire and Wallis Buchanan who was excellent in playing the didgeridoo.
The stuff for the debut album was partly ready, they only had to complete the arrangements and make the recording. The album was not long in coming out. On June 14, 1993 "Emergency On Planet Earth" was available for sale. The album became a major hit and peaked at number one in UK music charts. After such a success, the musicians set out on a tour in support of the album. The tour won more fans worldwide, and the album achieved Platinum status. At the same time, the band's work came under attack from music critics who accusedJamiroquai of copying the jazz-funk techniques of the 70s, and frequently compared Jay Kay's manner of singing with Stevie Wonder's style of performance.
The band's second album release was made with even greater thoroughness. "The Return Of The Space Cowboy" came out in 1994 and became a real breakthrough for Jamiroquai. Creative arrangements and mastery playing showcased that the band would have a long bright future.
The album release did not go off smoothly. Jason Kay supported light druglegalization, which showed up in his work. For that reason, the music video on Space Cowboy was banned in the US, as the song had apparent references to marijuana. Jay Kay had to replace some words in the song and re-record vocals because the recording company refused to release the single in its original form.
The best band's album
But the real breakthrough for Jamiroquai came with the third album, "Traveling Without Moving". The commercial success of the 1996 LP was beyond all expectations. Its sales exceeded 11 million copies, and the "Virtual Insanity" single reached number 3 in the UK charts. The album yielded other big hits - "Cosmic Girl" and "Alright", for which videos were also shot, but it was "Virtual Insanity" and its music video that contributed most to the album's worldwide success.
In 1998 Jamiroquai received a Grammy for the song "Virtual Insanity", and the album "Traveling Without Moving" was included in the Guinness Book of Records as "the best-selling funk album in history." Many critics consider it to be the band's best music thing to date.
In the same year the musicians recorded another commercially successful song, "Deeper Underground", that appeared on the soundtrack to the 1998 film, Godzilla. The song ranked number one in the UK albums chart though it wassomewhat different from the band's previous works. It showcased that the musicians could successfully work in heavier melodic music directions. A music video was shot on the song, which is still considered the most expensive clip Jamiroquai ever made.
The album itself was released in 1999 under the title "Synkronized". In addition to the less traditional "Deeper Underground" sound, Jamiroquai came up with some other experimental tracks on it - "Supersonic" with techno effects and a lyric ballad "King For A Day". Although the album didn't reach the popularity of the previous one,its sales exceeded 4 million copies. The song "Canned Heat" from this album also appeared as a soundtrack to the films "Center Stage" and "Napoleon Dynamite".
It was also a year of another noticeable event in the band's history. Jamiroquai performed at the legendary Woodstock Festival. The concert was a great success. It made clear that the band's musicians were good not only in the studio, but also on stage.
Experimentation and Creative Leave
The 2001 album showcased that Jamiroquai was more than ever inclined to musical experiments. Although the recording was made with live musicians, increasing electronic influence on their work was evident. The CD was soon followed by the DVD "Live In Verona", the band's first official concert recording.
Jason Kay takes a long 3-year's creative leave toprepare the sixth album. It's interesting to know that most of the tracks were recorded in studios located in different countries of the world. Italy, Spain, Scotland, USA, Costa Rica - these are the countries where the musician worked. Some of the songs were created in his own Chillington studio complex.
The album released in June 2005 was a mixture of various stylistic techniques and sounds. In addition to Jamiroquai's traditional chips, you could hear disco, funk, smooth jazz and rock sounding. As it was with the previous albums, one of its songs, "Seven Days in Sunny June" was also used in the soundtrack for the film "The Devil Wears Prada". The album had other interesting compositions, for example," Talullah", "Feels Just Like It Should" and "(Do not) Give Hate A Chance".
The following year Jamiroquai released one more album," High Times: Singles 1992-2006". It consisted of 17 singles taken from the 6 previous albums and just two new songs - "Runaway" and "Radio".
On November 1, 2010 the band's seventh studio album, "Rock Dust Light Star", came out. Jamiroquai's musical style became more centered on rock with funk elements. The cover photo pictures a crowd of spectators fronted by a happy Jay Kay. The album did not make a sensation in the music world, but was warmly received by listeners, and reached top positions in albums harts of some European countries.
Seven Years in Anticipation
Jamiroquai fans had to wait for the next, eighth, album for seven years. "Automation" was released in March 2017. The album could not replicate the previous success, but it received generally positive reviews.
The band made a tour across Asia and Europe to promote the album. As part of the tour, they visited Japan, Portugal, South Korea, Greece, Holland, Italy, Finland, France, Switzerland, Georgia, the Czech Republic and Denmark. All performances were held to full houses, and in some countries, it was a problem to buy concert tickets, because the amount of people who yearned to hear their favorite band alive was enormous.We only have to hope that it was not the end of Jamiroquai's discography, and Jay Kay's new songs will continue to bring joy to his fans.
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