Today's artists are .an American jazz, R&B, soul, funk and disco group, originally formed in 1964 as the Jazziacs based in Jersey City, New Jersey. They went through several musical phases during their recording career, starting out with a purist jazz sound, then funk and R&B, progressing to a smooth pop-funk ensemble, and in the post-millennium creating music with a modern, electro-pop sound. They have sold over 70 million albums worldwide ... N'joy
xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx
Formed as a jazz ensemble in the mid-'60s, Kool & the Gang became one of the most inspired and influential funk units during the '70s, and one of the most popular R&B groups of the '80s after their breakout hit "Celebration" in 1979. Just as funky as James Brown or Parliament (and sampled almost as frequently), Kool & the Gang relied on their jazz backgrounds and long friendship to form a tightly knit group with the interplay and improvisation of a jazz outfit, plus the energy and spark of a band with equal ties to soul, R&B, and funk.
Robert "Kool" Bell and his brother Ronald (or Khalis Bayyan) grew up in Jersey City, NJ, and picked up the music bug from their father. A professional boxer, he was also a serious jazz lover and a close friend of Thelonious Monk. With Robert on bass and Ronald picking up an array of horns, the duo formed the Jazziacs in 1964 with several neighborhood friends: trombone player Clifford Adams, guitarists Charles Smith and Woody Sparrow, trumpeter Robert "Spike" Michens, alto saxophonist Dennis Thomas, keyboard player Ricky West, and drummer Funky George Brown (all of whom, except Michens and West, still remained in the group more than 30 years later).
The Bell brothers' father Bobby and uncle Tommy were boxers. They moved to New York to train and lived in the same apartment building as Thelonious Monk who became Robert's godfather when he was born. Miles Davis would drop by because he wanted to be a boxer. They played occasionally with McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders and Leon Thomas.
The growing earthiness of soul inspired the Jazziacs to temper their jazz sensibilities with rhythms more akin to R&B, and the newly renamed Soul Town Band began playing clubs in Greenwich Village. After a mix-up with a club owner resulted in the group being billed Kool & the Flames, they moderated the title to Kool & the Gang and found a leg up with the tiny De-Lite Records. Three singles from their self-titled debut album hit the pop charts, and although the position wasn't incredibly high, Kool & the Gang became a quick success on the R&B charts. Always a staple of their appeal, the group's live act was documented on two 1971 LPs, Live at the Sex Machine and Live at P.J.'s, including left-field covers of "Walk On By" and "Wichita Lineman" (as well as the not so unusual "I Want to Take You Higher").
Studio albums followed in 1972 and 1973, but it was with Kool & the Gang's sixth LP, Wild and Peaceful, that they hit the big time. "Funky Stuff" became their first Top 40 hit at the end of 1973. Then both "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging" reached the pop Top Ten. During the next four years, however, Kool & the Gang could only manage an occasional Top 40 hit ("Higher Plane," "Spirit of the Boogie"), and though they did win a Grammy award for "Open Sesame" (from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack), the rise of disco -- a movement centered around producers and vocalists, in direct contrast to the group's focus on instrumentalists -- had appeared to end their popularity.
Then, in 1979, the group added two new vocalists, Earl Toon, Jr. and, more importantly, James "J.T." Taylor, a former Jersey nightclub singer. Kool & the Gang also began working with jazz fusion arranger Eumir Deodato, who produced their records from 1979 to 1982. The first such album, Ladies Night, was their biggest hit yet, the first of three consecutive platinum albums, with the Top Ten singles "Too Hot" and the title track. Celebrate!, released in 1980, spawned Kool & the Gang's only number one hit, "Celebration," an anthem favored by innumerable wedding receptions since. With Deodato, the group produced several more hits, including the singles "Take My Heart (You Can Have It if You Want It)," "Get Down on It," and "Big Fun," and the albums Something Special in 1981 and As One a year later. After Deodato left the fold in late 1982, Kool & the Gang proved their success wasn't solely due to him; they had two immense hits during 1984-1985 ("Joanna" and "Cherish"), as well as two more Top Tens, "Misled" and "Fresh." The group's string of seven gold or platinum records continued until 1986's Forever, after which James "J.T." Taylor amicably left the group for a solo career.
Although Taylor did reasonably well with his solo recordings (many of which were produced by Ronald Bell), Kool & the Gang quickly sank without him. They replaced Taylor with three vocalists, Skip Martin (formerly of the Dazz Band), Odeen Mays, and Gary Brown, but failed to chart their albums Sweat (1989) and Unite (1993). Taylor finally returned to the group in 1995 for the release of a new album, State of Affairs. They continued well throughout the 2000s, releasing 2001's Gangland, 2004's The Hits: Reloaded, and 2007's Still Kool (recorded after the 2006 death of co-founder Charles Smith). They often collaborated with new and well-known younger talent.
xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx
Kool & The Gang were really on the roll in terms of funk in the mid 70's. Following Wild & Peaceful their sound began to change. Well aware they were now starting to get popular hit songs on the radio,the band began with this album the very very gradual slickening up of their sound that would culminate with huge success by decades end. Here it was a sudtle change. But they were still in high gear in terms of funk. Right off the bat with "Street Corner Symphony" the changes are apparent. That loose rhythm is still there,so are the horns. But the drumming is slicker and the presense of synthesizers in the arrangements,which are used to provide a mild electronic seasoning more than anything. "Fruitman" has a bit more of a soul jazz-funk flavor to it,with a health conscious lyric very apropot considering the commonly stated poor dietary habits of many black Americans. On the title track and "Higher Plane" that jazz-funk sound,with a lot of sleeker vocal harmonies are applied to songs that tend to go deeper into the band members burgeoning sense of spirituality. Much as with EWF,they are perfectly willing to share their message of the unity of differences with the listener. There are two wonderful instrumentals here too in the rhythmically boistorous "Whiting H&G" and of course the slower jam "Summer Madness" with it's crawling,melodic synthesizer line.
One thing about this album is that their production was sharpening up significantly. They were really starting to establish how their type of funk would function as a studio entity as well as a live one. Where every single one of these songs could of course be easily reproduced on stage,they are very much more clean sounding and studiocentric productions than anything the band had recorded previous to this. This quality of blending the hardest edged Kool & The Gang funk with a heavier studio sound actually represented the peak of the bands sound in a similar manner to the Charles Stepney produced Earth Wind & Fire productions of the same era. A year later they would expand on this sound even further with their signiture mid 70's opus Spirit of the Boogie. But the sound that would come to the surface so heavy on that album really begins here.
Kool & The Gang - Light Of Worlds (flac 205mb)
01 Street Corner Symphony 4:32
02 Fruitman 5:19
03 Rhyme-Tyme People 3:19
04 Light Of Worlds 4:21
05 Whiting H. & G. 3:17
06 You Don't Have To Change 2:39
07 Higher Plane 4:57
08 Summer Madness 4:16
09 Here After 2:54
Kool & The Gang - Light Of Worlds (ogg 75mb)
xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx
Discussing Kool & the Gang in the early '70s, James Brown enthused, "They're the second-baddest out there...They make such bad records that you got to be careful when you play a new tape on the way home from the record store. Their groove is so strong you could wreck." And that really says it all. Kool & the Gang were funk's kings in 1975, and Spirit of the Boogie was the finest album they ever recorded -- the staggering climax of their development thus far. The record-buying public thought so too -- the album gave the band their first Top Five R&B hit. Spirit of the Boogie may have been first and foremost a funk masterpiece, but it was also so much more. From the African art on the foldout sleeve to the spiritual and musical purity of many of the songs, this album not only bound the band's reverence for their roots to a blistering, street-smart funk, but also demonstrated a keen awareness of their own role in their musical odyssey. "Ancestral Ceremony" pays homage by quoting from Kool's earlier songs, while "Jungle Jazz" tracks back to the original pounding jams that imbibed 1973's "Jungle Boogie." The title track, meanwhile, is quintessential Kool & the Gang -- fiery funk which is kept in check by rhythm and chant. It gave the band a springtime number one on the R&B charts -- their third. This is a phenomenal set, a superlative album. And because the grooves are so strong, it's easy to forgive weak moments -- most especially the mawkish "Sunshine and Love." Kool & the Gang were outstanding during this period, before they caught the disco bug. Spirit of the Boogie remains a proud achievement.
Kool & The Gang - Spirit Of The Boogie (flac 284mb)
01 Spirit Of The Boogie 4:52
02 Ride The Rhythm 2:56
03 Jungle Jazz 4:45
04 Sunshine And Love 3:30
05 Ancestral Ceremony 3:50
06 Mother Earth 5:39
07 Winter Sadness 5:16
08 Caribbean Festival 7:33
09 Caribbean Festival (Disco Version) 4:05
Kool & The Gang - Spirit Of The Boogie (ogg 98mb)
xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx
Following on the heels of their 1975 smash Spirit of the Boogie, Kool & the Gang hit the road to tour the album and record new material. One tumultuous show, at London's Rainbow Theatre, became the core of Love & Understanding. Three live tracks, "Hollywood Swinging," "Summer Madness," and a dreamily mellow "Universal Sound," are all excellent reminders of just how good this band could sound when they found the vibe and had the funk firmly in hand. But as good as this stuff is, there are ominous glimmers among the goods, of musical moves the band were contemplating -- heard most markedly in the bland "Sugar" and "Do It Right Now." For, despite the sureness with which they were creating driving funk, they were also struggling with the oncoming disco explosion. That push-pull was duly reflected in the album. The studio tracks are the most uneven. At their best, they are dominated by the opening title track and its near-instrumental twin shadow "Come Together," which closes. Both songs are horn heavy, an insistent call for unity, love, and peace. The rest of the album is sandwiched between this jazzy cacophony but, despite the rocky moments, Love and Understanding remains a remarkable album, recorded at a time when the band was still reveling in the grip of pure funk, uncorrupted by the mainstream.
Kool & The Gang - Love & Understanding (flac 259mb)
01 Love & Understanding 7:51
02 Sugar 5:37
03 Do It Right Now 3:55
04 Cosmic Energy 3:11
05 Hollywood Swinging 5:40
06 Summer Madness 8:01
07 Universal Sound 4:04
08 Come Together 2:48
Kool & The Gang - Love & Understanding (ogg 102mb)
xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx
Open Sesame is the tenth studio album by the funk band Kool & the Gang. This 1976 release from the band continues to capture that early to mid 70's Jazz-Funk that had made Kool&The Gang popular,however on this release featuring the lush vocals of the all-female vocal group "Something Special" the sound is more R&B with hints of Disco in the midst. Most diehard 70's Kool&The Gang fans should still be satisfied with the work the group layed out on this release,there is a wealth of great material on this late 70's gem. The album yielded the hit title track "Open Sesame" which achieved some success, first as a top ten R&B single, then later as part of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack "Super Band" also reached the R&B top twenty. The album was the second of two albums released by the band in 1976.
Kool & The Gang - Open Sesame (flac 354mb)
01 Open Sesame - Part 1 3:49
02 Gift Of Love 4:10
03 Little Children 5:30
04 All Night Long 3:56
05 Whisper Softly 6:06
06 Super Band 4:56
07 L-O-V-E 3:26
08 Sunshine 3:30
09 Open Sesame (Groove With The Genie) - Part 2 4:28
10 Super Band (Single Version) 3:22
11 Open Sesame (Groove With The Genie) (Disco Version) 8:44
Kool & The Gang - Open Sesame (ogg 128mb)
xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx