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The J.J. Band ‎- 1971 – J.J. Band

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The year was 1966. The city was Charleroi in Belgium, where the two Portugese brothers Toni and Fernando Lameirinhas (alias Tony & Wando Lam) founded the band “Jess & James” as Belgiums answer to soul music. They had lived in England before, catching the soul virus while playing in various beat bands like “Screaming Lord Sutch”. Their song “Move” suddenly became a massive hit all over Europe in 1967 and the band consequently produced three soul pop albums under the name of “Jess & James” until 1969 for the Palette/ Belter label. The boys were being discovered as a sure-fire commercial attraction in Belgium and Spain, but the fast success soon led to musical dissension within the group.

A1 Requiem For A Lost Planet 8:03
A2 Shades Of Goodbye 4:01
A3 Something To Live For 3:10
A4 Out Of The Darkness 3:05
B1 Pacific Coast Thunderball 4:04
B2 Tintagel Jones 2:46
B3 I’m Through With You 3:17
B4 Gotta Find A New Way 3:05
B5 Changing Faces 8:23

At the same time, the backing band of “Jess & James” started to separate under the name “J.J. Band” to experiment with new sounds, finally developing into a more soul jazz orientated outfit. A constant creative growth lyrically and musically within the group was self-evident in this first album simply entitled “The J.J. Band”. The new formation was led by arranger Ralph Benatar (Sax and Flute), Douglas Lucas (Trumpet) and Francis Weyer (aka Francis Goya/ Guitar), who all played leading roles on most of the “El Chicles” and “Chakachas” related releases of the times.

The minds behind the J.J. Band, Benatar and Lucas, started to write own material for the first longplay release aswell as taking famous songs and truely give them a new and more complex sound, with small horn & flute section, very diverse guitar moods and eclectic but excellent percussion sounds throughout. The LP was produced in 1970 by Roland Kluger, brother of composer and producer Jean Kluger, and solely pressed in small amounts by Polydor Records in Belgium and Canada.

Jess & James aka the Lameirinhas brothers themselves moved to Amsterdam and transformed into the unsuccessful Latin Jazz band “Sail-Joia” in 1975. At this point the short career of the J.J. Band was already finished. In 1971 the famous drummer Bruno Castellucci helped out on the sessions for the J.J. Bands second album, also entitled “The J.J. Band”, recorded at Chappell Studios London. Their style had developed more and more towards progressive rock and although this final album was produced by the great Brian Bennett and released on CBS Records in the UK, it passed rather unnoticed. Then the musicians changed their name to Plus in 1972 and released a “real final” album on the label Pink Elephant, that should become another impossible to find collectors item.