Claydes Charles Smith
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, he was introduced to jazz guitar by his father in the early 1960s. In the late 1960s, he joined with Ronald Bell (later Khalis Bayyan), Robert "Kool" Bell, George Brown, Dennis Thomas and Robert "Spike" Mickens to become Kool & the Gang. His cool jazz stylings and octave runs, reminiscent of Wes Montgomery but uniquely his own, enriched the music of the group. His playing on the hit Summer Madness was a particularly inspiring example of his work.
Smith stopped touring in January 2006 due to illness.
Smith's family included six children: Claydes A. Smith, Justin Smith, Aaron Corbin, August Williams, Uranus Smith-Garay, and Tyteen Humes. He died in Maplewood, New Jersey, and is buried in Westfield, New Jersey's Fairview Cemetery.
- "Charles Smith, Kool & the Gang guitarist, dies at 57". SFGate.com. Archived from the original on 2006-08-19. Retrieved 2006-06-23.
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