R&B veterans Kool & the Gang will on Aug. 22 release their 23rd album, "Kool & the Gang Presents Gangland." The KFTA album will be the first since the group's long-time lead singer JT Tayl

R&B veterans Kool & the Gang will on Aug. 22 release their 23rd album, "Kool & the Gang Presents Gangland." The KFTA album will be the first since the group's long-time lead singer JT Taylor departed for the second time in 1999. To compensate for the loss, Gang leader Kool (real name: Robert Bell) says the act has turned back the clock to the early '70s, specifically the De Lite album "Wild and Peaceful," which spawned such hits as "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging."

"Since Taylor left, we've gone back to more of a '70s edge," says Kool. "The funky stuff days. Then, of course, we're introducing a bunch of new artists to keep it fresh, so we're not just doing the same old thing."

Guesting on the album will be Kool's son Da Prince Hakim with his Too Hot All-Stars. Hakim raps on the set's first single, "Bigg Thangs." Kool says other guests on the album include Funkin', a group comprised of the sons and younger brothers of the original Parliament/Funkadelic members, and SX4, a female R&B quartet.

Kool & the Gang are also working on an album entitled "Odyssey," which will be released next year. Kool says the set will feature contemporary artists reworking old Kool & the Gang tunes. "So far we have Jamiroquai, who have rerecorded 'Hollywood Swinging.' Bryan Adams is working on a rock version of 'Celebration,' a new millennium rock version. Other people we've talked to [are] Sting, Carlos Santana, Outkast, Whitney Houston, and most recently R. Kelly."

Actor/director Bill Duke ("Hoodlum") has also begun preliminary work on film which will track Kool & the Gang's New Jersey beginnings. The band will embark on a fall tour of hotels and casinos next week. For the latest updates, check the band's official Web site.