Born in Catford, South London, Jacqui first discovered her passion for singing whilst attending CND marches across London with her Sister Pam.
Following her regular attendance at Jazz and Folk clubs in and around London, she started a folk club at the Red Lion Pub in Sutton, SW London with friends Christine Skivens, Dougie Buntrock and Chris Ayliffe.
Chris, a fine 12 string player and Jacqui were to be the residents of the club. Chris, who knew guitarists John Renbourn and Bert Jansch introduced Jacqui, and she went on to feature on John’s 2nd Album, ‘Another Monday’. Jacqui was subsequently invited to join John on several gigs, debuting at the famous ‘Les Cousins’ club, with the pair performing as a duo from 1965 through to the birth of Pentangle in late 1966.
The newly formed band, consisting of John Renbourn and Bert Jansch (who had previously collaborated on the duet LP ‘Bert and John’ both on guitar and vocals, Jacqui as main vocalist, with Danny Thompson on double bass, and Terry Cox on drums.
The group started a residency in January 1967 at the Three Horseshoes Pub on Tottenham Court Road in London’s West End on Sunday nights. Audience members were frequently made up of fellow musicians, including Sandy Denny, Paul Simon and Ralph McTell.
Pentangle’s first major concert saw them play to a sold out audience at the Royal Festival Hall, on 27th May 1967, catapulting them into a steady stream of world wide tours and festivals.
Signing with Transatlantic Records, their debut album ‘The Pentangle’ was released 17th May 1968 Returning to the Royal Festival Hall in June 1968, recordings from the performance formed part of their second album, ‘Sweet Child’.
In 1969, their third album ‘Basket of Light’ was released reaching number 5 in the charts, with the single ‘Light Flight’ being used as the theme music to the popular BBC television series ‘Take 3 Girls’. They also performed at the Isle of Wight festival, along with Bob Dylan and many others.
1970 saw the group record the soundtrack for the film ‘Tam Lin’, later performing at the Isle of Wight festival and extensive touring of the US and the UK. Towards the end of the year their forth album, ‘Cruel Sister’ was released.
Following Bert’s departure in 1995, Jacqui collaborated with Spencer Cozens (keyboards) and Gerry Conway (drums and percussion) to form their own record label 'GJS Records'. They recorded their debut album ‘About Thyme’ featuring many friends and appearances from Ralph McTell, Albert Lee, John Martyn and Mike Mainieri. The trio formed the nucleus of Jacqui McShee's Pentangle.
The following year in 1971 saw the release of ‘Reflection’, their fifth album in 3 years. Solomons Seal’, the original line up’s sixth and final album was release by Warner Brothers in 1972.
In early 1973, Melody Maker confirmed the group’s split, running the story as the front page of their first issue of the year.
Following the groups split, Jacqui concentrated on raising a family, with her first born, son Matthew arriving in 1979, and her daughter Leah born in 1984.
Pentangle reformed in 1982 performing at the Cambridge Folk Festival and touring across Europe and Australia. Later that year saw Mike Piggott replace John, and this line up recorded the album 'Open The Door'. In the following years Mike was replaced by Peter Kirtly, Nigel Portman Smith replacing Danny, and Gerry Conway replacing Terry. With the new formation of the band, Pentangle recorded 5 albums, ‘In The Round’ ‘So Early In the Spring’ ‘Think Of Tomorrow’, ‘One More Road’ and ‘Live 1994’ with extensive touring worldwide.
In 2004, the original Pentangle line up released the album ‘1968 – 1972 Lost Broadcasts’ a compilation of radio broadcasts largely recorded at the BBC.
In 2005 Jacqui McShees Pentangle returned to the studio, releasing ‘Feoffees Land’s’, with 2011 seeing the release of ‘Live In Concert’, a compilation of some of the groups best live performances.
For their second album, ‘Passe Avant’ the addition of Jerry Underwood on Saxophone and bassist and guitarist Alan Thomson created a 5 piece, touring and performing on a regular basis. Following the sad passing of their cherished saxophone player Jerry Underwood following a period of illness, Garry Foote entered the band playing Flute and Saxophone.
2000 saw the release of ‘Live At The Little Theatre’, recorded at a celebrated gig in Chipping Norton, UK
In 2007, the original Pentangle line up were honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Sir David Attenborough at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The group performed together at the event for the first time in over 20 years
By 2008, the original Pentangle line up reformed for a tour, including performances on the celebrated BBC music programme ‘Later… with Jools Holland, headlining The Green Man Festival, and returning to where their journey began for a 3 night performance at the Royal Festival Hall, 40 years after recording the album ‘Sweet Child’ on the same stage.
An album ‘Finale – An Evening With Pentangle’ was recorded during their 2008 tour, being released in 2016.
In 2011 Pentangle performed a select number of concerts, performing at Glastonbury Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, and their home from home, Royal Festival Hall.
In 2013 Jacqui formed the acoustic group Take 3 with Gerry Conway and Alan Thomson, releasing an album of the same name. Several tours followed.
Jacqui continues to tour with Jacqui McShee's Pentangle, and Take 3, with a forthcoming studio album with Kevin Dempsey due for release this year.