Classics: Kool & The Gang – Jungle Boogie (De-Lite Records)
Digging with Jazz fusion during their early days, Kool & The Gang (known then as The Jazziacs) progressively integrated elements of Funk in their repertoire. Sly Stone and James Brown standing among their obvious influences.
They came to real recognition 3 years after their debut, with the 1973 ‘Wild & Peaceful’ LP. An album which featured the classic ‘Hollywood Swinging’, ‘Funky Stuff’ and the aforementioned.
With its characteristic main vocals courtesy of Don Boyce, the infectious ‘Jungle Boogie’ marked their commercial breakthrough. A cut
which also saw the light as an instrumental version, leavin’ full space for the musicians to improvise. Titled ‘Jungle Jazz’, it appeared 2 years after as a part of their ‘Spirit Of The Boogie’ album. Artists such as EPMD, Madonna, Janet Jackson, and M/A/R/R/S eventually sampling elements of it
In 1964, 13 year-old Robert ‘Kool’ Bell, his brother (Ronald) and 5 high school friends formed an instrumental band called The Jazziacs. They changed their name to Kool & The Flames 4 years later, then to Kool & The Gang in 1969 (to avoid confusion with James Brown‘s Famous Flames). They got signed on Gene Redd‘s newly launched De-Lite Records label during the same year.
Their career, just like like Earth, Wind & Fire, can be split in 2 periods. The first (1973 – 1978) establishing them on the burgeoing Funk scene with a twist of Jazz, blending earthy brass, funky bass guitar and chanted vocals. A period which they paved with classics such as ‘Summer Madness’, ‘Jungle Boogie’ and ‘Open Sesame’.
The second one seeing them makin’ a clear-cut transition into Dance/Soul Pop territories. As a result, they would turn themselves into an impressive hit machine, reaching their peak during the first half of the 80’s along with producer Eumir Deodato. Classics such as ‘Ladies Night’, ‘Celebration’ and ‘Big Fun’ among others summarizing their leadership at the time. If not extra goodies such as ‘Too Hot’, Steppin’ Out’, ‘Big Fun’ or ‘Take My Heart’…