Ronald Kool Bell
The legacy continues with Robert Kool Bell, co-founder, leader and master bassist for the legendary Pop/R&B group Kool & the Gang, the seven-time Grammy award-winners who also earned many American Music Awards. Kool and his family emigrated to Jersey City, NJ in the early 1960s with siblings Ronald/Khalis, Rory/Wahid, Kevin/Amir. In 1964, Kool and Ronald joined neighborhood friends Spike Mickens, Dennis Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown, and Charles Smith to create a distinctive musical blend of jazz, soul, and funk. At first calling themselves “The Jazziacs”, the band went through various name changes—the New Dimensions, the Soul Town Band, and Kool & the Flames—before settling on Kool & the Gang in 1968. A multi-platinum-selling group and the most sampled band of all time, Kool & the Gang has sold over 80 million albums worldwide and influenced the music of generations with 25 Top Ten R&B hits, 9 Top Ten Pop hits, and 31 gold and platinum albums. Kool’s business ventures include the successful Le Kool champagne and with his departed wife, Sakinah, co-founded the non-profit music education initiative, the Kool Kids Foundation.
Hakim Bell and Muhammad Bell
The legacy continues with the sons of Robert Kool Bell – Hakim Bell (left) and Muhammad Bell (right). Both sons serve as heads of the non-profit Kool Kids Foundation (Hakim as President, Muhammad as VP). As a music producer, songwriter, consultant, and professional DJ who curates large scale events and private parties, Hakim can be found producing artists like Walt Anderson on his singles, “R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y.” and “So Impressive”. Muhammad is a veteran longshoreman whose tenure in entertainment included working with longtime hit maker Jermaine Dupri in music promotions.
Ronald Khalis Bayyan Bell
The legacy continues with the late Ronald Khalis Bayyan Bell Ronald/Khalis and his brother, Robert “Kool” Bell, were introduced to jazz at young age. The family moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, from Youngstown Ohio in 1960. Ronald Bell composed, arranged, produced and performed some of the most popular music in Kool and the Gang’s body of work. He was a self-taught musician, and his distinctive sound is on the group’s horn lines, bass, synthesizer and vocals. He wrote and produced many of the Kool & the Gang’s songs, including “Celebration”, “Cherish”, “Jungle Boogie”, “Summer Madness”, and “Open Sesame”.
Rory Wahid Bayyan Bell
The legacy continues with the late Rory Wahid Bayyan Bell, younger brother of Robert “Kool” Bell. A longtime lighting technician for several live events, Rory/Wahid worked on concerts that showcased hit makers such as Gladys Knight, Patti Labelle, Maze featuring Frankie Beverley and Anita Baker. A teenage Rory/Wahid can be heard with his big brother Kool on the album track, “Moments At Peace” from Kool & the Gang’s multi-platinum LP, “Wild & Peaceful”, released in1973. The two having a soulful conversation about why it’s important to have peace, unity, and love in this world.
The legacy continues with the funk band, the Kaygees – formed by Kevin Amir Bayyan Bell, younger brother of Robert “Kool” Bell. Launched in 1974, Amir and the Kaygees recorded for Gang Records, a label formed by Kool and Ronald/Khalis. The group recorded four albums from 1974 to 1979 – Keep On Bumpin’ & Masterplan (1974), Find a Friend (1976), Kilowatt (1977) and Burn Me Up (1979).
Amir Bayyan and Royal Bayyan
The legacies continue with brothers Amir and Royal Bayyan – younger brothers of Robert “Kool” Bell. Amir was the former leader/co-founder of the Kaygees. Producers/songwriters in their own right, Amir and Royal with Kool discovered then-future hit makers Color Me Badd (“I Wanna Sex You Up”, “I Adore Mi Amour”) and Pink (“Get The Party Started”). Currently, Amir is the guitarist for Kool & the Gang.
The legacy continues with the late AdIl Bayyan, cousin of Robert “Kool” Bell. He formed the band Forecast with brothers Amir and Royal, while serving as a road manager for Kool & the Gang for 25 years. A songwriter for legends such as the Chi-lites and session drummer for Gloria Gaynor, Adil became the manager for the hit making Color Me Badd, By 1991, the group had three top ten hits and six Top 40 hits by the middle of the decade. Adil went on to manage the Messingers songwriting team (who supplied tunes to Justin Bieber and Chris Brown).