Clifford Adams, trombonist
Kool & the Gang

Clifford Adams

October 8, 1952, Trenton, NJ ~ January 12, 2015

Adams' longtime friend and fellow Kool and the Gang musician Michael Ray described Adams as a loving and caring husband and father and a great friend. “If you knew Cliff you knew his infectious smile and his strong spirit,” said Ray. “He was powered by family values and he was one of the baddest trombone players in all the planet.” ~ Clifford Adams Obituary ~ January 12, 2015 ©

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October 8, 1960 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (4) Larry Verne, Mr Custer ~ #2 (3) Sam Cooke, Chain Gang ~ #1 (1) Connie Francis, My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own


In 1968, Clifford got his professional start in Trenton, in the horn section of a band called the VSQs. He, Michael Ray, and Jimmy Stackhouse comprised that horn section. By the age of 17, Clifford was playing on the road with Patti Labelle and the Bluebells. After spending the summer on the road, he returned home to further his education in music theory at Trenton State College. He sat in at the Fantasy Lounge, a Trenton Jazz club where young musicians were groomed, and played for matinee audiences. Clifford played there with Sonny Stitt, James Moody, George Benson, Shirley Scott, Gene Ammons, Don Patterson, and Charles Earland, who took young Adams out on the road. While playing at Harlem's famed jazz spot, The Club Barron, Clifford met many jazz greats such as Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, and many more. Clifford met, and most times even played with, almost all of his heroes. He left an indelible impression on many of them. ~ Clifford Adams ~ retrieved January 14, 2015 ©

Kool & The Gang

Formed as a jazz ensemble in the mid-'60s, Kool & the Gang became one of the most inspired and influential funk units during the '70s, and one of the most popular R&B groups of the '80s after their breakout hit ‘Celebration’ in 1979. Just as funky as James Brown or Parliament (and sampled almost as frequently), Kool & the Gang relied on their jazz backgrounds and long friendship to form a tightly knit group with the interplay and improvisation of a jazz outfit, plus the energy and spark of a band with equal ties to soul, R&B, and funk. Robert ‘Kool’ Bell and his brother Ronald (or Khalis Bayyan) grew up in Jersey City, NJ, and picked up the music bug from their father. A professional boxer, he was also a serious jazz lover and a close friend of Thelonious Monk. With Robert on bass and Ronald picking up an array of horns, the duo formed the Jazziacs in 1964 with several neighborhood friends: trombone player Clifford Adams, guitarists Charles Smith and Woody Sparrow, trumpeter Robert ‘Spike’ Michens, alto saxophonist Dennis Thomas, keyboard player Ricky West, and drummer Funky George Brown (all of whom, except Michens and West, still remained in the group more than 30 years later). ~ Allmusic: Kool & the Gang ~ retrieved October 7, 2013 © Allmusic

Kool & the Gang ~ Inducted in the 2007 Vocal Group Hall Of Fame.

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