Ronald Khalis Bell of 68 years of Cool & Gang

Ronald Khalis Bell, who along with his brother and a few neighborhood friends formed the jazz-funk R&B band that became Cool and Gang, and who premiered on its biggest hit, the ubiquitous feel-good song “Utsav” The author was, “died” at his home in the Virgin Islands on Wednesday. He was 68.

His wife, Tia Sinclair Bell, announced her death through a spokesperson. The reason was not given.

Mr. Khalis Bell, who was also a producer and often credited under his Muslim name, Khalis Bayan, began dubbing music as a child, mastering the saxophone and keyboard and accompanying his brother Robert Were playing, a bass that carried the surname. Primary school. The Bell family in Jersey City, NJ, was immersed in jazz influence; The boys’ father, Bobby, was a professional boxer whose friends included jazz master Thelonious Monk. Miles Davis also came occasionally.

The Bell brothers and friends – Spike Mickens, Dennis Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown and Charles Smith – began playing together in 1964 and performed under a number of names, including Jazieux before settling on Cool & Gang in the late 1960s. did.

The band continued to change through its crew years, but the remaining brothers in the core were particularly successful on the R&B charts in the 1970s with “Jungle Boogie” (1973), “Ladies Night” (1979) and other songs. . Then, after adding singer JT Taylor, it gained a new level of fame with “Celebration”, which topped both the R&B and pop charts in 1980 and went to sporting events, fireworks displays and more. Happiness and enthusiasm were in order.

“Do you call a wedding DJ who doesn’t mimic ‘Celebration’ by Cool and the Gang?” The Sunday News of Lancaster, Pa., Asked in 2002 when the group played there. “Ruin.”

Robert Bell said the song was born of excitement after an appearance at the American Music Awards. “We were talking about the whole evening, and we said, ‘It’s festive time !,'” he told the Lancaster newspaper. “And it inspired my brother Ronald to come up with the song.”

However, Mr. Khalis Bell gave a different interpretation to Al Jazeera in 2014. “The initial idea came from the Quran,” he said. “I was reading the message where God was creating Adam and the angels were celebrating and singing hymns.”

Ronald Bell was born on November 1, 1951, in Youngstown, Ohio, to Robert Bell Sr. and Mabel Butler (later named Aminah Bian). The family later settled in Jersey City.

His father made a brief effort to get him interested in boxing. “He put gloves on me and said, ‘Come, boy,’ then he plagued me,” he told Newark’s Star-Ledger in 2018, “I took off the gloves and said, ‘Not you. I Do not kill any more.

He started playing music in primary school. “I played trombone and cello before, but focused on sax because it looked sexy and had a lot of keys,” he said.

A few years later a demonstration sealed the deal. “In eighth grade, I played Errol Garner’s ‘Misty’ and all the girls in the audience screamed,” she recalled in a Star-Ledger interview. “I said, ‘Everything is fine, now I know what I’m going to do.”

In addition to writing or co-writing several Cool and Gang songs, Mr. Khalis Bell was the arranger and producer on many of them, and also produced other artists including reggae singer Jimmy Cliff.

He and Ms. Sinclair Bell had been married for 26 years. He had previously married Nasim Bell and Yasin Bell. In addition to his wife and his brother Robert, he is survived by two other brothers, Wahid Bayan and Amir Bayyan; One sister, Sharifa Bayan; Two sons, Rachid Bell and Khalis Bell; Six daughters, Kadijah Bell-Taylor, Nadira Bell, Lisa Milagro, Maryam Bell, Aminah Colquhoun and Jenah Bell; A step-daughter, Asia Robinson; A step-son, James Robinson; And three grandchildren.

Cool and the gang had other hit films after “Celebration”, including “Utsav” (1983) and “Cherish” (1985), but Mr. Khalis Bell said that Signature Song, which was a worldwide hit, always had a special in his heart. Was the location.

“I don’t think we’ll ever come up with another song as good as that,” he told Unlocking the connecting website before an appearance at the Ridgefield Playhouse in 2019. “‘Everyone around the world, come on! Let’s celebrate.’ In every language, in every culture, to hear people who speak another language sing every word of that song, it feels great when I see it. “