Kool & the Gang alto sax gamer Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, an initial member of the precious soul-funk band understood for its sustaining celebration anthems “Celebration” and “Get Down On It,” has actually passed away.
Thomas “passed away peacefully in his sleep” Saturday at the age of 70, an agent for the band validated.
A veteran citizen of Montclair, New Jersey, Thomas was born upon February 9, 1951 in Orlando, Florida, and was among the 7 Jersey City teenagers who got together in 1964 to form the critical soul-jazz group the Jazziacs.
The band, that included siblings Ronald Bell and Robert “Kool” Bell, and good friends Thomas, Spike Mickens, Ricky Westfield, George Brown, and Charles Smith, was excellent sufficient to periodically have fun with jazz legends McCoy Tyner and Pharoah Sanders.
After sharpening their craft while attempting various names, the good friends formally released Kool & the Gang in 1969.
“Dennis was known as the quintessential cool cat in the group, loved for his hip clothes and hats, and his laid-back demeanor. A huge personality while also an extremely private person,” a declaration published on the band’s Facebook page read.