Pop Music Review : Jamiroquai Adds Funk to Lively Jazz-Lite

Jamiroquai is to jazz and funk what the New Kids on the Block were to hip-hop and rock: cute and catchy--though minus the choreography.

With an obvious passion for Stevie Wonder, the English outfit plays jazz-lite, then adds a deejay and few funky grooves for hip credibility. But in a time when such artists as the Beastie Boys and Tricky are taking these styles a step further via technology and imagination, Jamiroquai is almost too derivative and fluffy to hone any definable personality.

Thursday at the Hollywood American Legion Hall, the 10-piece band--which included a horn section, two drummers and a turntable jockey--played meandering jams to a packed house mixing rave and yuppie acid-jazz demographics. The group made for a lively and warm presence, but the music lacked any spark of uniqueness.

Animated singer Jay K, clothed in a baggy jacket and an oversized ski cap that often obscured his eyes, danced in a series of jerks and fluid movements while his ‘70s, Motown-esque voice came off as flawless and inviting.


The band played tight numbers, all slightly reminiscent of AM hits by bands such as Tower of Power, then brought out a didgeridoo (a trance-inducing Australian Aboriginal pipe) to create the most memorable part of the show.

Jamiroquai is entertaining, but the group is too awed by funk and jazz masters of the past to make its own mark.