VeszprémFest
Premium Music Festival
2022. július 11-16.  

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Kool & the Gang

Kool & the Gang 

Kool & the Gang has sold over 70 million albums worldwide and influenced the music of three generations. Thanks to songs like Celebration, Cherish, Jungle Boogie, Summer Madness and OpenSesame, they’ve earned two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits and 31 gold and platinum albums. Kool & the Gang has performed continuously for the past 43 years, longer than any R&B group in history. Their bulletproof funk and jazzy arrangements have also made them the most sampled band of all time.

Collaborators:
Robert Kool Bell - Bass 
George Brown - Keys & Vocal
Dennis Thomas - Sax 
Shawn McQuiller * - Lead Vocals 
Curtis Williams - Keys & MD
Amir Bayyan - Guitar 
Timothy Horton - Drums 
Lavell Evans - Vocals 
Michael Ray - Trumpet 
Jermaine Bryson - Trombone
Louis Van Taylor - Sax

In 1964, Khalis Bayyan (AKA Ronald Bell) and his brother, Robert “Kool” Bell, joined Jersey City neighborhood friends Robert “Spike” Mickens, Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown, and Charles Smith to create a unique musical blend of jazz, soul and funk. At first calling themselves the Jazziacs, the band went through various names – The New Dimensions, The Soul Town Band, Kool & the Flames – before settling on their moniker. Over the next several years they solidified their musical chemistry on the rough-and-tumble East Coast music scene supporting acts like Bill Cosby,Ritchie Havens and Richard Pryor.

Their self-titled 1969 debut album introduced their signature instrumental sound and fierce horn arrangements and spawned their first Billboard R&B charted single, Kool & the Gang and later Let the Music Take Your MindIt was the introduction to a theme, music is the message, that Kool & the Gang stands by today. The instrumental album was an expression of their deep love of music. It was also an introduction to their signature sound and the fierce horn arrangements created by Khalis, Dee Tee, and Spike.

In 1970, their audacious sophomore set Live at the Sex Machine peaked at #6 on Billboard’s R&B chart and yielded three hit singles: Funky Man, Who’s Gonna Take the Weight, and I Want to Take You Higher. Next came The Best Of Kool & the Gang Featuring The Penguin, Kool & the Gang Live at PJ’S, Music Is The Message, and Good Times, all of which helped solidify a sound that wowed not only fans but such contemporaries as James Brown and Nina Simone.

The band’s stellar reputation grew with each album, but 1973’s gold disc Wild & Peaceful took Kool & the Gang to another level (#6 R&B, #33 Pop), spurred by the immortal party anthems Funky Stuff, Hollywood Swinging and the platinum smash Jungle Boogie. Hits like Higher Plane (#1 R&B), the classic Summer Madness (featured on the Grammy-winning movie soundtrack Rocky) and LPs Spirit of the Boogie, Love & Understanding and Open Sesame followed. The latter’s title track was featured on the top-selling movie soundtrack of all time, Saturday Night Fever, earning the group their second Grammy.

In 1979, Kool & the Gang unveiled a smooth new sound with Ladies Night. Produced by the legendary Pop/Jazz musician Eumir Deodato, it became their first platinum album. The #1 R&B title track also reached #8 at Pop. It was followed by Too Hot (#3 R&B, #5 Pop). The 80’s would see them dominate the mainstream, starting with the double platinum-selling album Celebrate (driven by the international monster hit Celebration, which spent six weeks atop the R&B chart and became a #1 Pop single). Celebration, which played as the American hostages returned from Iran, remains de rigueur at joyous occasions worldwide. The smashes Get Down On It, Take My Heart, Let’s Go Dancing, Joanna, Tonight, Misled, the #1 R&B, #2 Pop giant Cherish and the #1 R&B anthem Fresh (these last three from the multiplatinum LP Emergency) solidified the group’s international stardom. Kool & the Gang landed global commercial endorsements, supported countless charitable causes and were the only American group to participate in Band Aid’s 1984 Do They Know It’s Christmas project for famine victims in Africa.

With the explosion of hip-hop in the 90’s, Kool & the Gang’s incredible catalog of grooves made them DJfavorites. They were second only to R&B icon James Brown as sources of rap music samples.

2004’s The Hits Reloaded found the band collaborating with Lil’ Kim, Sean Paul, Ashanti, and Blackstreet, among others.

The band re-entered the Billboard R&B chart with 2006’s Steppin’ Into Love. In the same year, Kool & the Gang received the NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) Chairman Award for lifetime achievement in record sales.

Kool & the Gang released a new studio album titled Still Kool in July 2007 on New Door Records/UME.

In 2009 Kool & the Gang made history when they became one of only a handful of American acts to perform in Cuba in recent years. The group broke down cultural boundaries staging a free outdoor concert in Havana.

In 2012 Kool & the Gang embarked on a very successful 52 city tour with Van Halen.

Kool & the Gang continue to perform to packed audiences of new and old fans around the world.

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