Kool and the Gang (Kool & the Gang) is a jazz-funk and funk band formed in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1964. A flagship band of the 1970s and 1980s, which inspired a variety of Following global musical trends, such as rap and R'n'B in particular, the group has sold more than 70 million albums worldwide. His best-known titles are Ladies Night (1979), Celebration (1980), Get Down On It (1981) and Fresh (1984).
The story of Kool and the Gang begins in 1964, in Jersey City, when brothers Robert and Ronald Bell melt with some childhood and high school friends (Dennis Thomas, Charles Smith, George Brown, Robert Spike Mickens and Ricky later Westfield) a jazz band called The Jazziacs. The father of the Bell brothers is a professional boxer, great jazz lover and friend of the legendary pianist Thelonious Monk but also Miles Davis (boxing enthusiast), who often comes to visit him for technical advice on boxing. Also, the Bell brothers and their friends will rub shoulders, from the teenage years of the great figures of jazz such as McCoy Tyner (who will propose to Ronald Bell to join his formation, seeing in him a worthy heir of John Coltrane), Bud Powell, John Lewis or Pharoah Sanders (of which they will ensure the first parts from their beginning), in addition to those mentioned previously>.
The Jazziacs, which later becomes The Monikers, Soul Town Review (at the time when the band accompanies Temptations and Four Tops), The New Dimensions and Kool and the Flames (in tribute to James Brown's Famous Flames) is quickly known on the New York scene, in Greenwich Village and the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem where they play very frequently. The group consists of Robert "Kool" Bell on bass, Ronald "Khalis" Bell on tenor saxophones, soprano and keyboard, Dennis "DT" Thomas on alto saxophone, flute and percussion, Georges "Funky" Brown on drums, Robert "Spike" Mickens on trumpet, and Claydes "Charles" Smith on guitar. Influenced mainly by jazz, blues and artists who rub shoulders with them from their adolescence but also by the soul of Motown or James Brown (of which they are contemporaries), they develop, naturally, a unique style at the intersection of all these influences and which they will describe as "jazz-funk" (of which they will be among the great contributors).
In 1969, the producer Gene Redd notices them and he offers them a recording contract on his label Redd Coach Records (which will later become the famous label De Lite Records). To avoid any confusion with James Brown's Famous Flames, the group agrees to sign but by changing their name: they will now be called Kool and the Gang (name born of a confusion one evening of 1969, in a club, where the programmer mistakenly presents them as such, with the humor that characterizes them, they will definitively adopt this name).