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Kool & The Gang: Legends (Live)

Kool & The Gang

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Album Review

Originally a two-disc set in the U.K., Kool & the Gang's The Hits: Reloaded gets its release in a one-disc edition for America. Gone are the group's collaborations with folks like Beverley Knight, Blazin' Squad, and Atomic Kitten (who turned in a ridiculously fun version of "Ladies Night"). Of course, those aren't names on the tip of most Americans' tongues, but their absence takes a lot of the fun out of the compilation, making it a pleasant but uneventful listen. Redman supplies some good times with his jumpy take on "Jungle Boogie," but he uses a naughty word and Sanctuary has seen fit to edit it out, lessening the song's punch and making it sound fractured. Lisa Stansfield and Ashanti do wonderful jobs on their ballads and Jamiroquai has been itching to sing "Hollywood Swingin'," you can just tell. The Gang accompanies all the artists but a slick studio sheen makes it hard to notice. The best moment on the whole set has to be the loose jam "Jazziacs at the Kool Jazz Café," stuck on the end of the disc. It's the band going back to its roots in playing jazz gigs, and a sentimental high point that makes you wish there were more. That would be a great listen, but The Hits: Reloaded is a nice gift for fans anyway, even if it plays it too safe.

Biography

Formed: 1964 in Jersey City, NJ

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
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Kool & The Gang: Legends (Live), Kool & The Gang
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