Originally formed as a quartet, the Jazziacs, by Robert Kool Bell (8 October 1950, Youngstown, Ohio, USA; bass), Robert Spike Mickens (b. Jersey City, New Jersey, USA; trumpet), Ronald The Captain Bell - later known by his Muslim name Amir Bayyan (b. 1 November 1951, Youngstown, Ohio, USA; saxophone, keyboards) and Dennis D.T. Thomas (b. 9 February 1951, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA; saxophone). Based in Jersey City, this aspiring jazz group opened for acts such as Pharoah Sanders and Leon Thomas. They were later joined by Charles Claydes Smith (b. 6 September 1948, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA, d. 20 June 2006, Maplewood, New Jersey, USA; guitar) and Funky George Brown (b. 5 January 1949, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA; drums), and as the Soul Town Band, moderated their early direction by blending soul and funk, a transition completed by 1969 when they settled on the name Kool And The Gang. The...
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