Jamiroquai - A Tale of Two Bassists!!

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Bruce Lindfield, Nov 13, 2001.

  1. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I watched Jools Holland's Later last Friday - well actually I recorded it and watched it later but never mind - which is a UK TV programme that has live bands in the studio.

    So, they had Jamiroquai with a huge band - string section, backing vocalists - looked like about 30-50 musicians!

    They played 4 or so songs from the new album and they were pretty boring - especially the bass lines were very dull and repetitive - but basically the songs were going nowehere and seemed pretty flat!

    But then at the end they segued (faded?) into a version of "Cosmic Girl" from the "Travelling without Moving" album and as soon as Nick Fyffe launched into the Stuart Zender bassline, the whole thing changed. The energy level went up, the whole band sounded 100% better and you could see everyone there, was more into it. Fyffe played the Zender line note-for-note with exactly the same tone/sound and it sounded so much better than anything else he had played all night.

    To me it summed up how Jamiroquai were so much better with Zender and that Fyffe has either no idea about creating good basslines or he is being told exactly what to play by Jay - I favour the latter as for most of the "set" the band just sounded like they were all paid session musicians, doing what they were told and no more. Whereas for the first 3 Jamiroquai albums I got the feeling they were a "real band" with all the members able to input ideas and this made them much more interesting than they are now.

    Anybody else see this or have a view?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I guess most will agree.

    Nowadays Jamiroquai is Jay's vehicle only.
    He lost much more than only a bassist when Stuart left.

    We've seen this before, haven't we (Simply Red)?
  3. red-hot-bassist


    Sep 18, 2001
    simply red suck, and when a band is doing nothing more than being told finger positions by the snugglemuffin in the hat then it is time to wonder ...do you want to sacrifice all your self respect for the sake of a pay check?
  4. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I know someone who knows someone who is the drummer for one of these type of bands and the money they get for a short tour :eek:

    Back on topic, Stuart Zender did make a difference IMHO. A band is about teamwork, leading a band is about getting the best out of everyone.

    I run a band and dont play bass in it. I dont tell my bassplayer what or how to play. I have even stopped playing bass on the song demos, its his job and he does it well.

    In my church band nobody tells me how to play bass.

    all IMHO of course.
  5. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    I didn't see it, but it sounds like a shame if what you're saying is right. Given that the new bassist can play Zender's lines spot on, and considering Jay Kay's ever expanding ego (redhotbassist's description is very accurate. ;)), it would appear that the new bloke is being told what to do. It's quite disappointing, especially since Zender's basslines were usually the main backbone in Jamiroquai.
  6. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    He IS being told what to play. Case in point, didn't you notice how fresh and alive the bassline from "Where Do We Go From Here?" on the Synkronized album was? He went in and did it alone without the band. Just him and the engineer. Even "Love Foolosophy" is cool. The rest of the basslines are just Jay's orders. Stuart has quite an ego himself, however, he refused to be told how and what to play, which led to some incredible basslines, but also the ruin of a great band. :(
  7. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I'm gathering that if I want to hear "the good" Jamiroquai with Stuart's quality bass playing, I should get Traveling Without Moving and Synkronized? Am I correct in this assumption?
  8. red-hot-bassist


    Sep 18, 2001
    it is a shame the way joomajiequai has gone, the travelling without moving album is a pretty good fusion of diffirent sounds, indeed all the ones that has success had no dijireeeedooodaa but still, when the whole band works together a better overall sound is produced, that is what being ina band is about, if not you should get some seession mucisians and be a solo guy
  9. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    IMHO, if you want to hear their best stuff, pick up "Return of the Space Cowboy" and "Emergency on Planet Earth". Those two CDs blow away anything else they've done.

    I was really pissed when I heard that Zender was leaving. However, I never heard what happened to him. Is he playing with anyone now?
  10. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Hey Superduck, get TWM, Emergency On Planet Earth, and Return Of The Space Cowboy. Those are the ones that Stu played on.

    PB, he and Melanie Blatt, ex All Saints, have a kid together, and she has a solo career. He's playing for and producing her albums. Also, he has a production company called Zensa, he helped produced Omar's CD, "Best By Far", and he's playing bass on the song "Something Real", and guitar and keys on about 6 of the other songs. He actaully started out on guitar, because his uncle was a jazz guiatrist.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Stuart Zender played on the first 3 albums and put basslines on Synkronised but these were removed in the mix, so you won't hear them!!

    "Travelling without Moving" is my favourite for the basslines, (Stuart gets co-writing credits on this album for 4 songs - the most of any of the albums) but Return of the Space Cowboy and Emergency on Planet Earth are really good as well. Stuart doesn't play on all the tracks on "Emergency.." though.
  12. lowb


    Jul 27, 2000
    London, UK
    I totally agree with you Bruce, i've just been waiting for someone else to notice!!!!

    what was also interesting is that Nick was hidden behind the backing singers......well i remember a TOTP performance when things were good between Jay K and Stuart, and Stuart was right at the front grooving with Jay......i guess this kinda mirrors the way the two different bass players "play"

    Also "Superduck" Synkrenized has Nick playing on it, not stuart....i think.

    For stuart you be wanting "emergancy on planet earth"

    Love & Peace
  13. Hootz


    Jul 1, 2001
    Hull, England
    I have a feeling that Jamiroquai have lost it a little. In losing Zender, they lost one of the world's best musicians. However, all credit to Fyffe- come on, he was only 19 when they recorded Synkronized. I personally think that it is Jay Kay that 'controls' the basslines, and it is sad that Jamiroquai have become little more than an engine for Jay. He's only been really famous since he started gettin' it on with Denise van Outen. Before that, you'd never have seen him in the pages of Hello!

    What Synkronized and A Funk Oddessy represent to me is a populist move away from the original funk/soul/disco/electronica/didgeridoo Jamiroquai into just a funk/disco band. The loss of the environmental, political aspect is the most disappointing part- the songs are just lacking in originality.

    There. I've got that off my chest now.
  14. I'd say Space Cowboy is my favourite album for bass-playing, followed very closely by Emergency and TWM. I think that Nick Fyffe is a really good bassist and I do like some of the stuff he plays, but I see what you're saying, it has got a bit of a 'session' feel to it. Still, it can't be an easy job, following someone like Stuart Zender.

    Stuart played on most of Emergency on Planet Earth, just not the first song, "When you Gonna Learn." He'd only been playing bass for about 2 years as well when they recorded that album!!!!!

    By the way, anyone heard any info about his solo project, Azur? It seems to have put off indefinitely.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I still reckon that "Travelling without Moving" is the best album for basslines - every one sounds great. I also remember that Bassist magazine in the UK said that "Alright" was their most-requested transcription ever!! Cosmic Girl is a great bass-driven song and the title track has an awesome line.

    The "extra" track at the end of the album sounds like a real "jam" and the band really seem to be enjoying it! Jay also gives a big tribute to Stuart on the sleeve notes. When the album came out I though they could only get better with such talent - such a shame that Jay and Stuart couldn't get on and take it further. :(

    Maybe the first signs are there though - the single without any bass but with programmed "drum n bass" - which was a big success in the UK - maybe this was what made Jay think he didn't need Stuart?
  16. What single you talking about Bruce?
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Perhaps a big part of it was that Jay found a bassist who would settle for a much smaller cut of the pie, basslines be damned. In a "Bassist" mag last year, Zender made no secret of the fact that Jay's ego was encroaching on the other band members' slices of the pie as well as the spotlight.

    Kay needs to come back from outer space, (what's with that trip of his, anyway???.....leave the Pink Floyd alone and stick to disco as it should have been played, fer chrissakes! )

    Last I heard of Zender was that he did a cut he did with Omar, "Something Real." I guess Azur won't ever get off the ground. :(
  18. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    That would be 26, wouldn't it?
  19. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Stuart was 19 when they did the first album. Oysterman's right, Nick was 26.
    As for Azur, Stu said that it had been scrapped. Virgin chose to put out Tyrese's piece o' crap, instead of the Azur album, and they wouldn't give him a release date, so he said to hell with it. I've been nagging him to hear some the the Azur material, but nothing has come of it.....YET!;)
    I'll tell you something funny that Stu said. He said that Jay would take some tape, and put "X's" on the stage for each band member to stand at. Just to piss him off, Stu wouldn't do it. I was backstage during their last stop in Atlanta, and the band, except for Toby, acted like they were afraid of him. They rode in a van, while Jay was being driven around in a limo.:rolleyes: The one thing that really got me was in the Synkronized credits, members of the band were thanking Jay for "allowing us to play on such a fine album" :rolleyes: What a load of arse piffle!
  20. I saw the Jools Holland show too- it's funny how Nick Fyffe seems to be playing a different bass every time they play live(Musicman, Zon, Bass Collection, Yamaha.....)
    he must have quite few endorsement deals going.

    it looks like Jay Kay doesn't want any band members sharing the spotlight either on record or on stage like Zender did any more.