Selected by Dan Grunebaum


Return of the space cowboy

With Janet Jackson also due in town, funk fanatics will have their choice of two very different approaches to the music this January. While Janet represents the modern face of US R&B, Jamiroquai and leader Jay Kay purvey a very different sort of funk, updating the feel-good E0s Motown vibes of Stevie Wonder with the gloss of the E0s UK acid jazz scene.

          It was only a few years ago when the irresistible grooves of Jamiroquai’s 1995 debut The Return of the Space Cowboy and subsequent albums ruled Japan’s charts. Not only did singles like “Morning GloryEand “Virtual InsanityEreceive blanket airplay on J-Wave and the nation’s other top commercial broadcasters, but the group’s songs could also be heard providing the soundtrack to the mating dance at trendy Aoyama nightclubs like the fabulous post-bubble Apollo.

          These days, Jamiroquai faces a tougher battle: US hip-hop and R&B rule the charts, and the UK acid jazz boom has long since fizzled. Despite these obstacles, Jamiroquai’s September album A Funk Odyssey (Epic), their first since 1999’s Synkronized, is making a respectable showing, Jay Kay’s familiar hat-wearing head dancing across MTV in the single “Little L.Eo:p>

          The durability of Jamiroquai’s appeal was recognized early on, when Sony signed them to an eight-album deal based on just one single, “When You Gonna Learn?Ewritten for Acid Jazz Records. They have since born out Sony’s hopes in record sales, as well as proving a consistent draw, with promoters UDO having booked them into the vast Tokyo Dome for two nights.

          In a recent interview with The Times of London, the formerly fast-living Jay Kay reflected on turning 30 and overcoming his cocaine addiction: “It felt like an enormously momentous time. It made me look back at where I’ve come from, and project ahead to where I wanted to be. And that meant accepting that I had personal problems of a lifestyle nature, ones which invaded me every now and then, and which would make it impossible for me to achieve what I hoped to, unless they were dealt with.Eo:p>


Jamiroquai play Tokyo Dome Jan 6-7.  See listings for details.

Concert Listings
403: Sloan
402: Jamiriquoi


401: Park Tower Blues Festival
400: Mercury Rev
399: Bjork
398: The Isley Brothers
397: Janet Jackson


396: Ian Brown
395: Tortoise Orchestra
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana