Four founding members, including Ronald Bell, still tour with the funk band.
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The funk classics of Kool and the Gang have found eternal life in everything from stadium pump-up songs and hip-hop samples to wedding parties.Kool and the Gang has achieved its staying power by remaining foremost a collection of musicians, whose roots are in the hard-working world of jazz rather than celebrity pop.Kool and the Gang, whose members started playing as a group in 1964, brought together jazz with the sounds of soul, Motown and funk.The group's initial sound provided a rich base for early hip-hop which sampled liberally from Kool and the Gang – who had little say in the matter and initially earned nothing from rap tracks.Singer Erykah Badu, he said, sounds a lot like the late Billie Holiday.Ronald Bell only occasionally joins on stage these days but his elder brother, 67-year-old bassist Robert "Kool" Bell, has missed only two concerts in 50 years, according to Ronald.
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