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The Best of Kool & The Gang

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Album Review

Kool & the Gang fans usually divide along the instrumental finesse of their early-'70s sides or the hit-heavy popularity of their late-'70s and early-'80s material. Titling a disc The Best of Kool & the Gang immediately causes battle lines to be drawn, and the scarcity of material here from their mid-'70s artistic peak — only "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging" are represented — makes for a tendentious release. Granted, it is a lengthy compilation of the band's post-breakout chart run, including all of their biggest J.T.-fronted hits: "Celebration," "Ladies Night," "Too Hot," "Joanna," "Emergency," and "Get Down on It." In fact, fans of early Kool may find here a succint set of material complementing the rest of their collections. For those dipping a toe in the water, however, understand that the reign of Kool & the Gang as funk's loose-limbed, good-time band occurred several years before any of these songs were recorded.


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 with the interplay and improvisation of a jazz outfit, plus the energy and spark of a band...
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The Best of Kool & The Gang, Kool & The Gang
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