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Jamiroquai (pronounced: juh-meer-o-kwy) are an English Alternative/acid jazz/funk/soul/disco band. Jamiroquai were initially the most prominent component in the early-1990s London-based acid jazz movement, alongside groups such as Incognito, the James Taylor Quartet, the Brand New Heavies, Galliano, and Corduroy. Subsequent albums have explored other musical directions such as pop, rock and electronica. Jamiroquai has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide.



The band name is a portmanteau of Jam session and "iroquai", based on the Iroquois, a Native American tribe. The original band was Jay Kay (vocals), Toby Smith (keys) Stuart Zender (bass), Nick Van Gelder (drums), Wallis Buchanan (didgeridoo). These are the founding members of the Jamiroquai and were involved in the writing and production of the first albums. The lineup of the band has changed several times, and the longest serving and now core members of the band are lead singer and songwriter Jason "Jay" Kay and drummer Derrick McKenzie (1994). Despite his self-professed attempts to treat Jamiroquai as a band, Kay has always been at the forefront of how the group is marketed, and has therefore always had the lion's share of media attention, to the point where he is viewed as almost a solo artist. He was the impetus behind the formation of Jamiroquai, deciding to form the band after an unsuccessful audition to become the singer of the Brand New Heavies.

Sony Music

Jamiroquai's first single, "When You Gonna Learn", was released in 1992 on the Acid Jazz label. Following its success, Kay signed an eight-album record deal with Sony BMG Music Entertainment. The first Sony album, Emergency on Planet Earth was released in 1993. It was followed in 1994 by The Return of the Space Cowboy. The single "Space Cowboy" gained notice on the charts and in club rotation.

While Jamiroquai was growing in popularity in the UK and Western Europe, they remained relatively unknown to U.Smarker and other international audiences. The band's international breakthrough came with the third album, Travelling Without Moving in 1996, which yielded two big hits, "Virtual Insanity" and "Cosmic Girl". The success of "Virtual Insanity" was due in part to its Jonathan Glazer-directed video, which featured Kay's dance moves and some physics-defying images. At the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, the creative music video for "Virtual Insanity" won four awards, including Best Video, Best Special Effects, Best Cinematography, and Breakthrough Video.

In 2003 Jamiroquai compiled and mixed a DJ mix album for the Late Night Tales series for Azuli Records. The track selection shows some of the band's funk, soul and disco influences, including tracks from The Pointer Sisters, The Commodores, Johnny "Hammond" Smith and Johnny "Guitar" Watson.

The acid jazz flavours and ethnic influences of the first three albums continued with the release of Synkronized in 1999. Jay Kay's interest in funk and disco music were shifting the band's directions towards such. By their fifth album, A Funk Odyssey (2001), they had evolved so drastically, that some critics and listeners would remark they lost the 'Jamiroquai sound'. With the departure of more and more original band members, including Wallis Buchanan and his didgeridoo, Jamiroquai had become a very different band than that of 1992. In spite of the changes, the fifth album's first single, "Little L", reached #1 in many charts worldwide.

Their sixth album, titled Dynamite was released on 20 June 2005. It reached #3 on the UK charts. The first single, "Feels Just Like It Should" was released early in June, the second, "Seven Days in Sunny June" released on 15 August 2005, followed by the third, " Give Hate A Chance" on 7 November 2005.

Jamiroquai released a greatest hits collection, High Times: Singles 1992-2006 in November 2006. The release of this album marked the end of Kay’s eight-album contract with Sony. The album reached the number 1 spot in the UK album chart after its first week of release. The album featured two new tracks, "Runaway" and "Radio". On 18 September 2006, "Runaway" was given its first play by UK radio stations. It was released as a single on 30 October 2006. Kay remarked that compilation was released purely out of contractual obligation: "2006, they're out of the fucking picture."


In October 2006, Jamiroquai recorded a live session for Live from Abbey Road at Abbey Road Studiosmarker. Their performance was shown alongside those of Damien Rice and the Goo Goo Dolls on the UK's Channel 4 in January 2007. In May 2006 Jamiroquai performed during the Laureus Sports Awards in Barcelonamarker; the event was later televised by NBC in June.

In March 2006, Jamiroquai announced their switch to Columbia Records. Future releases will appear under the Columbia imprint.

During February in 2007 Jamiroquai performed the record breaking Gig in the Sky in association with Sony Ericsson.

After leaving Sony, the band began work on their seventh project, and several collaborations and side-projects. In a very short mid-2007 interview with Jamirotalk, drummer Derrick McKenzie expressed his satisfaction with leaving Sony as the beginning of a period in which the band will have more creative control over their own work, together with plenty of room for experimentation and lack of pressure from a record company.

7th Album and Beyond

On 11 January 2008, Jay Kay himself posted a news item in which he thanked everyone who wished him the best for his birthday, and announced that the writing process for the new album has just begun. Only a day earlier, drummer Derrick McKenzie posted an article on his MySpace weblog that the recording process for the same record has also begun.

On 15 January 2008, the band confirmed that the recording process begun. According to the news item, eleven tracks have already been written for the new album, with more to come. As of now, none of the tracks' names are known.

On 13 February 2008, the band announced from their website that it will perform at the World Stage of the Rock in Rio — Madrid festival, being held in Arganda del Reymarker, Madridmarker with others artists who have (then) yet to be announced.

On 28 February 2008, Jamiroquai performed at the Khodynka Arena in Moscow, Russia at the launch of the new Audi A4 car.

On 22 June 2008, Jamiroquai performed at the Wianki Festival in Kraków, Poland.

On 4 July 2008, the band performed in front of a 75,000 people audience in the Rock in Rio Madrid festival.Tour dates were planned for July and August of 2008.

Jay has personally stated that 2009 will bring a new Jamiroquai album. The album is uninfluenced by major record labels and will bring forth a new direction for the band.

On 5 April 2009, Jamiroquai performed at the closing concert of Malaysian F1 Grand Prix in Sepang International Circuit Malaysia, and on the 9th of April Jamiroquai played at the Sentul International Convention Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia.

On 24 August 2009, Derrick McKenzie was interviewed on and talked about the upcoming album. He stated that Jamiroquai is now signed with Universal Records (UK) and that they have recorded more than 40 new tracks. Also the new album will be recorded live and have a style similar to the first three albums with the use of strings and horns. He claims the album will have less of a "disco sound" and will be a lot more funky and soulful.

Buffalo Man

Buffalo Man is the name of the silhouette character featured on most of the covers of Jamiroquai's releases.


Buffalo Man was created sometime prior to the release of their 1992 single When You Gonna Learn, allegedly it was originally sketched by the band's primary songwriter and front-man Jason Kay as Buffalo Man is seemingly a self portrait silhouette of Jason wearing a buffalo hat. The mark has been used on almost every commercial (and sometimes non-commercial) release of the band's output in some form or another; usually the unique symbol is pictured unaltered, but there have been times where it is shown in a stylised manner to suit the artwork or song.

Notable variations

Over the years, Buffalo Man has seen some temporary changes or interesting thematic uses:

"Half the Man", The Return of the Space CowboyFor the single "Half The Man", Buffalo Man is on the cover as a keyring with a heart in the clasp representing the fact it is a love song and the keyring itself is split down the middle in two halfs to represent the song title. Buffalo Man also has a silver heart.

" Space Cowboy", The Return of the Space CowboyFor the single "Space Cowboy", Buffalo Man is present on the cover as a shaped cigarette paper for a half-complete cannabis joint, in reference to the song's praise of the drug.

"Virtual Insanity", Travelling Without MovingFor the single of "Virtual Insanity", Buffalo Man appears in the place of the Ferrarimarker horse in an homage to Jason's love of sports cars. For the album cover to Travelling Without Moving, the artwork is similar, but takes on an embossed effect and is seen on a metal grille.

"Cosmic Girl", "Everyday"For these two releases, Buffalo Man is pictured with a star over his heart and two intersecting orbital rings.

SynkronizedWhile the design remained fundamentally unaltered, Buffalo Man has been turned into a laser-cut mirror and photographed from interesting angles by Midori Tsukagoshi. On some editions, for the disc itself, no ink has been used on the character, but the same stone background found on the front cover has been used for the rest of the disc, thus allowing the consumer to recreate the photographed effect.

A Funk OdysseyFor this album, the Buffalo Man was notably absent from the cover; instead, the laser lights formed an outline of the Buffalo Man logo, which could be seen much more clearly in the album's liner notes.

DynamiteOnly the US release featured a gold Buffalo Man. Other releases saw a picture of Jay Kay instead.

Text logo

The regular text logo.

Just like the Buffalo Man, the Jamiroquai text logo has also had several variations depending on the theme. The oldest version of the logo is the one seen on the Acid Jazz Records release of When You Gonna Learn. In comparison to the current text logo one can see that the old Acid Jazz Records version of the logo was more angular at points, together with the letters being much thinner. Several variations of the current logo also exist. Releases of "Cosmic Girl" and the promo CD of Everyday had replaced the dots above the 'i' letters with stars. Other slight, temporary variations include a slight vertical stretch of the typeface, as seen on the cover art of A Funk Odyssey.


1993 Emergency on Planet Earth 1 - - 21 5 11 101 15 13 33 17 40
1994 The Return of the Space Cowboy 2 - - 42 9 22 119 37 17 22 37 23
1996 Travelling Without Moving 2 24 - 6 3 9 2 16 4 6 9 7
1999 Synkronized 1 28 - 1 2 2 2 6 9 4 1 2
2001 A Funk Odyssey 1 44 1 1 1 4 1 4 13 1 2 2
2005 Dynamite 3 145 2 3 3 10 2 5 25 3 6 8
2006 High Times: Singles 1992-2006 1 - - 11 1 23 - 31 - 5 33 4

See also


  1. Jamiroquai | News | Laureus Sports Awards performance photos - 22 May 2006, 23:28 (BST)
  2. Jamirotalk : International Jamiroquai Fan Discussion Forum
  3. Jamiroquai - Official Website / Home
  4. Jamiroquai | News | Derrick McKenzie blog update - 11 January 2008, 13:33 (GMT)
  5. Jamiroquai - Official Website / Home
  6. Jamiroquai - Official Website / Home
  7. Jamiroquai - The Funkin Site

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