Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, founding member of legendary soul and funk band Kool & The Gang, died peacefully at the age of 70 in his property in New Jersey, the team stated in an announcement.
Thomas was born in 1951 in Orlando, Florida, and shaped his to start with band in 1964 — The Jazzies — with seven of his teenage close friends: brothers Ronald Bell and Robert “Kool” Bell, Spike Mickens, Ricky Westfield, George Brown and Charles Smith.
The group infused their jazz, blues, soul and funk influence and inevitably develop into the influential Kool & The Gang in 1969.
They went on to win two Grammy Awards, seven American New music Awards, 25 leading-10 R&B hits, 9 best-10 pop hits and 31 platinum albums with main hits these types of as “Get Down On It,” “Jungle Boogie” and “Celebration.”
Thomas was an completed musician on a number of various devices such as the alto saxophone, flute, and percussion. He was also regarded as the group’s wardrobe director, supplying the band its distinctive, funky appear and the emcee of their live performances.
Thomas performed his last display with the band at a July 4, 2021 concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
He was explained by a spokesperson as “a substantial persona when also an extremely non-public individual.”
He was a longtime resident of Montclair, New Jersey.
“Celebration” was inducted into the Library of Congress Nationwide Recording Registry, Course of 2020, on March 24, 2021.
The band’s new music has also been highlighted in the movies Rocky, Saturday Evening Fever and Pulp Fiction and continues to be greatly sampled by recording artists these days.