The saxophonist passed away peacefully in his sleep, according to a statement from his agent
Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, saxophonist and among the co-founders of soul-funk band Kool & & The Gang, has died aged 70. A statement from his agent said he passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday in New Jersey, where he was a resident of the town of Montclair.
Thomas took pleasure in a music profession that spanned almost 60 years as an alto sax player, flutist and percussionist in Kool & & The Gang, understood for mega hits including Celebration and Get Down On It.His last look with the group was on 4 July at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
Their music is likewise featured on several film soundtracks, such as those for Rocky, Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction.Thomas is survived by are his wife, Phynjuar Saunders Thomas, daughter Tuesday Rankin, and children David Thomas and Devin Thomas.Fans have been paying tribute to the star on social media, with one tweeting: “Loved this group. RIP Dennis Thomas.” Another stated: “Thank you, Dennis Thomas, for the music that got us through.”
Born on 9 February 1951, in Orlando, Florida, Thomas was known for his prologue on the bands 1971 hit, Whos Gon na Take The Weight.
He was also renowned for his hip clothes and hats and served as the groups wardrobe stylist, along with their “budget hawk” in the early days, bring their incomes in a paper bag stuffed into the bell of his horn.
In 1964, Thomas was one of seven teenage buddies who produced the groups distinct mix of jazz, funk and soul – first calling themselves the Jazziacs.
They ultimately decided on calling the group Kool & & The Gang in 1969. The other creators are brothers Ronald and Robert Bell, and Spike Mickens, Ricky Westfield, George Brown and Charles Smith.Kool & & The Gang won a multitude of honours throughout their long-standing career, consisting of 2 Grammy Awards and 7 American Music Awards.
Register for the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, SpreakerIn 2014, they were honoured with a Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award. Their music is also featured on a number of film soundtracks, such as those for Rocky, Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction.Thomas is survived by are his other half, Phynjuar Saunders Thomas, child Tuesday Rankin, and children David Thomas and Devin Thomas.Fans have actually been commemorating the star on social media, with one tweeting: “Loved this group. RIP Dennis Thomas. Prayers and acknowledgements to the household.” Another said: “Thank you, Dennis Thomas, for the music that got us through.”
George Brown, Ronald Bell, Dennis Thomas and Robert Kool Bell of Kool & & The Gang in 2014