Jul. 20, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed
On Saturday, July 22, at 6 p.m. Queens Live! Kool & The Gang will return to the SummerStage with Mobb Deep Havoc featuring Noyd and DJ LES and Grand Wizzard Theodore DJ Set.
Since their formation as the jazz ensemble “The Jazziacs” in mid-’60s Jersey City, Kool and the Gang has become responsible for some of American music’s most enduring hits. Developing an influential funk sound in the ‘70s, they cracked the top 10 on the pop charts with “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging.” At the turn of the decade, they linked up with Brazilian jazz fusion producer Eumir Deodato for three consecutive platinum-selling records: Ladies’ Night (1979), Celebrate! (1980) and Something Special (1981). The title track from Celebrate! — the band’s lone No. 1 single — has become firmly entrenched in the pop music canon, a staple at weddings and celebratory gatherings.
Their latest record, 2021’s Perfect Union, is somewhat bittersweet. It arrived nearly 60 years into a storied career spanning dozens of albums and band members, but its recording and release were bookended by the passing of founding members Ronald Bell and Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas. For their latest show in Flushing Meadows, surviving co-founders Robert “Kool” Bell and George “Funky” Brown lead the band into the seventh decade of its existence, performing soulful funk and R&B hits designed to get dancers of every generation on their feet.
On Sunday, July 23, at 5 p.m., Bhangra ambassador and SummerStage veteran DJ Rekha will bring home the exuberance and energy of Basement Bhangra with a diverse array of artists for a Bacchanal edition to the World’s Borough.
Rehka will be joined onstage by Punjabi music legend and King of Bhangra, Malkit Singh and his live band; DJ Ana, Chutney Soca DJ mainstay and “Island Girl” of East Indian descent; Rolex Rasathy, a professionally trained Carnatic musician heavily influenced by jazz, R&B, and hip-hop; Param Singh, a Punjabi singer who broke out with his 2016 hit “Daru Badnaam” with Kamal Kahlon, which has more than a billion views on YouTube; the self-taught dholki musician Dholi Anuradha and The Shadow Notes, who draw haunting hooks and arcane beats from their homelands of Trinidad and Punjab.
Queens Live! Concert is presented in partnership by Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and the city Parks Department. For more information, visit: cityparksfoundation.org/events/kool-the-gang.