Kool and the Gang
Friday, Dec. 5; Route 66 Casino (21 and over, 7 p.m.)
With a pair of Grammys, seven American Music Awards and 31 gold and platinum albums to show for their 30-plus years together, few would argue that Kool and the Gang are one of the most important funk-soul groups of all time. The hits—there have been 25 in the Top 10, including "Celebration," "Jungle Boogie," "Too Hot," "Ladies Night," "Fresh" and others too numerous to mention—haven't stopped coming, and brothers Robert "Kool" Bell and brother Ronald haven't stopped bringing on the funk, touring almost ceaselessly throughout their long careers.
Kool and the Gang were among the first urban jazz bands to temper their jazz sensibilities with earthy soul grooves and balls-out funk rhythms, in effect redefining R&B along the way. By 1973, they'd perfected their sound and began churning out a long line of hit songs that remain to this day nostalgic favorites and radio staples.
By fusing the best components of jazz, soul, R&B and even disco (yes, there are positive components of disco), Kool and the Gang continue to nurture a legacy that is almost as fun to listen to as it is to experience in a live setting.