Kool & the Gang 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 the course of their recording career, starting out with a purist jazz sound, then becoming practitioners of 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.
The group’s main members over the years included brothers Robert “Kool” Bell on bass and Ronald Bell on tenor saxophone, lead vocalist James “J.T.” Taylor, George Brown on drums, Larry Gittens on trumpet, Dennis Thomas onalto saxophone, Claydes Charles Smith on guitar, Mark Blakey on triangle and Rick Westfield on keyboards. 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.