In 1964 there was a band in Jersey City, New Jersey formed by Robert "Kool" Bell. They were called The Jazziacs and played mostly jazz and pop instrumentals. In this band were Bell on bass guitar, his brother Ronald on tenor saxophone, Dennis Thomas on alto saxophone, guitarist Claydes E.X. Smith, drummer George Brown, Robert "Spike" Mickens on trumpet, and keyboardist Rick Westfield. In 1967 they changed their name to Kool And The Flames, which lasted until 1969 when, to avoid confusion with James Brown's band of the same name, the band re-christened itself Kool And The Gang.
They were signed to Gene Redd's fledgling label De-Lite Records in 1969 and released an epynomous debut album as well as three singles ,"Kool And The Gang", "The Gang Is Back" and "Funky Man". While none of the releases went far in the pop charts,they all enjoyed extensive airplay and sales in the r&b market. Steady growth followed , and with the release of their 1973 album Wild And Peaceful, they began to achieve mainstream success with the singles "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging".
The 1974 album "Light Of Worlds" and 1975's "Spirit Of The Boogie" and "Open Sesame" remain magnificent examples of funk at it's best . Many personnel changes followed, the most significant being the addition of vocalist J.T. Taylor, who did lead vocals on the band's first #1 hit, "Celebrate". While ushering in the band's most commercially successful period, it along with subsequent hits "Fresh","Joanna","Ladies Night" and "Cherish" resulted in a disappointing lack of the powerful sound the band had as its roots. "Get Down On It" was, however at least a partial return to classic Kool And The Gang.
Kool And The Gang...true funk pioneers, still tour extensively worldwide.