Dennis ‘Dee Tee’ Thomas, saxophonist for Kool & the Gang, dies at 70

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Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, saxophonist and founding member of the band Kool & the Gang, died Saturday in New Jersey. He was 70 years old.

Mr. Thomas died in his sleep. According to the statement made by the representatives this did not specify the cause of death or where he died in New Jersey.

Mr. Thomas was the co-founder of the long-running group Kool & the Gang, known for hits such as the following. “Celebration,” “Bend over it” and “Forest Boogie.” Experimenting with sounds from soul, funk, jazz, pop and R&B, the band saw it through numerous lineup changes.

Representatives said Mr. Thomas was a “big personality” in the group and helped shape the artists’ wardrobes to ensure they “always look fresh”.

“Dennis was known as the coolest cat in the group, loved for his cool outfits and hats and relaxed demeanor,” the statement said.

The group won a Grammy award In 1978, the decade when a few of his upbeat hits climbed the charts.

Around the time the band won a Grammy, a slow period before adding a new vocalist, JT Taylor, and adapting his voice to suit the disco sensibilities of the era. The group re-emerged in 1979 with the shot.”Women’s Night” a tribute to the night of party and dance.

The band members followed up the hit with the 1980 song “Celebration,” a timeless classic that embodies the band’s vibrant sound. The track has become a staple at sporting events and other displays of joy and enthusiasm. The song was taken in National Registry of Registration An honor devoted to 25 songs each year that showcase the rich heritage of American music.

The band members voiced their voices in 1984’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” He gave it to the charity single. Some of the decade’s greatest artists recorded the piece to draw attention to a famine in Ethiopia.

Mr. Thomas founded Kool & the Gang in 1964 with six of his friends: Robert Bell, known as Kool; ronald bell; Spike Mickens; Ricky Westfield; George Brown; and Charles Smith. In the statement, they first called themselves “Caziac” before deciding on the name “Kool & the Gang”, which is a nod to Robert Bell.

“We learned that we had to simplify, that the simplest music would grab a large part of the audience,” Mr. Thomas said. New York Times On choosing the band’s musical style in 1973. “Everyone in the band was basically a jazz musician, but we knew we had to play R&B to make money.”

His representatives said Mr. Thomas was the group’s “budget hawk” in the early days, adding that he could be seen “carrying the group’s earnings in a paper bag on the bell of his horn”.

Mr. Thomas’ alto saxophone solos were featured in many of the band’s tracks. He could also play the flute and percussion instruments, and was a master of ceremonies in the band’s performances.

His last performance with the group was at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on July 4th.

Dennis Thomas was born on February 9, 1951, in Orlando, Fla. He moved to Jersey City, NJ with his family when he was 2 years old. Times It was reported in 1973. He grew up in the Lafayette section of the city, where he met other founding members of Kool & the Gang.

“We want to play a universal music,” said Mr. Thomas in 1973. “We want to elevate our audiences to think they heard it.”

The group had a dozen top 10 hits on the charts. Billboard chartsand the group got a star Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.

His representatives said Mr. Thomas is married to Phynjuar Saunders Thomas and lives in Montclair, NJ.

one of his daughters, Michelle ThomasHe was an actor in television shows such as “The Cosby Show”, “Family Matters” and “The Young and the Restless”. He died of cancer in 1998 at the age of 30. He also died before the death of his daughter Tracy Jackson.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter Tuesday Rankin; sons David Thomas and Devin Thomas; sisters Doris Mai McClary and Elizabeth Thomas Ross; his brother Bill Mcleary; The statement said there was an aunt and several nieces, nephews and grandchildren.

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