Photo credits: De-Lite Records
On August 1, 1975, the legendary music band known as Kool & the Gang (KATG) released its sixth full-length project titled, Spirit of the Boogie via De-Lite Records. This album is considered as a follow-up to the group’s 1973 LP entitled Wild and Peaceful.
The sonic backdrop to 1975’s “Jungle Jazz” features the same rhythm cadence, which was audible on a KATG’s single from Wild and Peaceful called “Jungle Boogie.” However, on “Jungle Jazz,” band members play their instruments (sax, trumpet, and flute) using improvised melodies. Lyrical references to earlier works can be noticed as well. On “Ancestral Ceremony,” the song lyrics “making merry music” sound out the name of an earlier song from KATG’s 1972 album titled Good Times.
KATG’s Spirit of the Boogie also features a guest showcase from Donald Boyce, a group affiliate who performed rap lyrics on “Jungle Boogie.” Afro-centric sounds are featured on KATG’s 1975 release. On the lyric and vocal-free tune “Caribbean Festival,” which also features additional improvisation, the timeless music-producing band performs in a fashion reminiscent of tunes heard in the West Indies. Instead of “Sunshine and Love,” KATG’s “Cosmic Energy” was accidentally identified as the fourth track on Spirit of the Boogie’s original cover.
However, “Cosmic Energy” actually landed on KATG’s March 1976 album titled Love & Understanding. KATG’s Spirit of the Boogie earned staying power. A percussion sound from the track “Jungle Jazz” was cleared for sampling on over 50 different songs after its release. The love song “Don’t Walk Away,” a hit by the all-lady R&B group Jade from the 1990s, samples KATG’s percussion from 1975. Additionally, the heavily-demanded percussion sample from KATG was utilized in 1987’s up-tempo chart-topper titled “Pump Up The Volume.
This dance tune, which borrowed KATG’s percussion sound was performed by a British one-hit wonder group called M/A/R/R/S.