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Kool & The Gang in town to serenade Kenyans at KICC tonight

ARTS & CULTURE
By George Orido | November 13th 2016
Leader of the American funk and rhythm and blues band Kool & The Gang, Robert 'Kool' Bell when he arrived at the Kenya National Theatre for a press briefing ahead of his show tonight at the KICC. (PHOTO: GEORGE ORIDO/ STANDARD)

Kool & The Gang are in town to serenade Kenyans tonight at KICC with their evergreen music tonight at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre with tickets going as high as Sh 20,000 for the VIP, 10,000 for the lounge and as low as Sh 5000 for the terrace.

The band famed for its 70's and 80's hits such as Celebration and Oh La La la are in the country for the second time after performing here 14 years ago.

"I am very glad to be back here and perform for Kenyans," said Robert Kool Bell who is a founder member of the band and who landed this morning in readiness for the great show.

And he has promised a great show saying fans will get it as original as it could go.
And to make things really fresh Kool was accompanied by the new and youngest members of the band the Sexy (Where'd You Get Yours) hit vocalist Curtis Williams and Michael Ray.

The manager and a founder member Khalis Bayyan aka Ronald Bell accompanied the group at a press conference held at the Kenya National Theatre today afternoon.

Curtain raising the vent will be the Beathogs also known for their cool rhythm and blues music.
The concert is supported by the Ministries of Sports, Arts and the Culture as well as Tourism. Not to mention Sarova Hotels whose General Manager Paolo Marro expressed delight in hosting the legendary music group[.

"We are excited to host Kool &The Gang and since we are the oldest Hotel in Nairobi we deserve to host this group to follow among other greats we have hosted in our hospitality including Jazz Maestro Louis Armstrong," said Paolo who first met Kool in Ethiopia some years back.

"We are glad to support this venture and we will support more to enable exchange and mentorship of our own artistes," said Dr Je Okudo the PS Arts and the Culture who was accompanied by his Tourism counterpart Fatuma Hirsi Mohammed during the presser.

Other classics produced by the band include Cherish, fresh, Get Down On it, Too Hot Jungle Boogie, Ladies Night, Misled Summer Madness, Take My Heart and Funky Stuff among others.

According to the band's bio the group 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 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 with equal ties to soul, R&B, and funk.

Robert Kool Bell and his brother Ronald grew up in Jersey City, New Jersy, and picked up the music bug from their father - a professional boxer and he was also a serious jazz lover and a close friend of Thelonious Monk.

With Robert on bass and Ronald picking up an array of horns, the duo formed the Jazziacs in 1964 with several neighborhood friends: trombone player Clifford Adams, guitarists Charles Smith and Woody Sparrow, trumpeter Robert Spike Michens, alto saxophonist Dennis Thomas, keyboard player Ricky West, and drummer Funky George Brown all of whom, except Michens and West, still remained in the group more than 30 years later.

The growing earthiness of soul inspired the Jazziacs to temper their jazz sensibilities with rhythms more akin to R&B, and the newly renamed Soul Town Band began playing clubs in Greenwich Village.

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