“This was one occasion where employing fills and chops in a funk tune really paid off”: Listen to Stuart Zender’s isolated bassline on Jamiroquai's Virtual Insanity

Episode 1265 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jason Kay, Sola Akingbola, Stuart Zender, and Darren Galea of the musical group Jamiroquai perform on November 18, 1997
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For all the times music fans and musicians alike bemoan the lack of musical depth in chart-topping tunes, it’s worth noting the happy exceptions to that perception. One such time was in 1997, when an eclectic group of young British funk disciples called Jamiroquai broke through with an international smash hit. 

Driven by jazzy piano chords, a cool-as-ice frontman vocal track, and a super-swinging rhythm section, the song Virtual Insanity swept the MTV video music awards (who can forget the groundbreaking “moving white floor in the hallway” video?), the album Traveling Without Moving went platinum and triple platinum in the U.S. and U.K. respectively, and Jamiroquai brought its version of uncompromisingly rich, jazzy, funky pop music to the masses. 

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Chris Jisi was Contributing Editor, Senior Contributing Editor, and Editor In Chief on Bass Player 1989-2018. He is the author of Brave New Bass, a compilation of interviews with bass players like Marcus Miller, Flea, Will Lee, Tony Levin, Jeff Berlin, Les Claypool and more, and The Fretless Bass, with insight from over 25 masters including Tony Levin, Marcus Miller, Gary Willis, Richard Bona, Jimmy Haslip, and Percy Jones.