Kool's brother checks out

So sorry to see this guy leave us. His band had its greatest commercial success with "Celebration" and thereafter, but its early stuff was even better. I have played this album maybe a thousand times, maybe more:

Jersey City guys they were, before they went Hollywood. Swing on, Khalis.


  1. Okay, I hope you don't think I'm being overbearing but I've been up all night and sharing these stories is therapeutic. Kool and the Gang stayed at the Portland Hilton back in the day when I was in banquets. I saw J.T. and another man in the coffee shop and I went over and said, "Have a good time in Portland." J.T. - the lead singer with the unfortunate name of James Taylor - just said, "Will do." He absolutely exuded coolness - he couldn't help it. Later I was told by one of my houseman - the legendary William Ceasar - that the band invited him upstairs to have a drink with them. William would go on to be an actual hero when he drowned trying to save some kids in the Columbia River but at the time he was a young African American man who projected a great deal of cool himself. They were there for a couple of days and then we all went across the street to - was it still the Paramount? Anyway, about 6 of us had great seats in the first row of the balcony and it was quite a spectacle. We partied like fools and the band was just ridiculously great. I saw the Commodores, the Jackson's Victory Tour and the Brothers Johnson back in the day and they were like that: Total musical excellence combined with serious show business. Tons of choreography including this move where two horn players locked arms back to back and then the one leaned forward suddenly causing the other to do a flip over his head. We're talking serious show business here.
    I was a bass player then and Kool was not a flashy type bassist like I had seen like with the Brothers Johnson guy who was on Thriller, etc...Kool just put down a solid foundation all the while working it with the charm on the audience and before too long I got it. Kool was driving the whole band and his thump was righteous. It was a case of less is much more.
    During those years the waiters had one show business move ourselves. There would be an ice cream "bombe" that we would parade out with small fires in a dish or sometimes sparklers all led by a waiter with a flaming sword. They would dim the lights and move spot lights around while I would be at the flambe station trying to make some heated rum produce around 4 feet of flames. This was the heated cherriess jubilee sauce that the waiters would grab and then dress the ice cream before serving it. Many mishaps followed of course like when they put the steps to the stage in front instead of on the sides. I kept hearing the crowd gasp in distress so I looked over and saw 3 waiters on the ground with ice cream on them. Another time my lazy boss knew the executives were in town and said, "I'll do the flambe station tonight" to impress them. I told him it was an art form but he wouldn't listen and overheated the rum. When he took the lid off the whole thing just went up in flames. He dropped the container and the top of 6-foot table was now engulfed in fire. So things did not always go well, but the main thing that was hurting our presentation was the music. The song was the theme to the movie Superman and it was a dud. I finally talked the boss into trying "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang and I asked William Ceasar if he would carry the sword and to please think about doing some steps. You know: Liven it up. William got it. One of the first times we tried it the banquet was for around 800 young people. The lights came down and the music kicked in. William went into his moves with some waiters doing steps as well. Not all of course but some. The place exploded. When it was over the crowd kept on cheering and there was this excited buzz throughout the dessert course. We used "Celebration" from then on.

  2. Thanks for the memory of William Ceasar. He was quite the fellow. There was also the Mother's Day flaming chiffon and chignon. The Hilton was a fun place to work back in the day.


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