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Dee Bell (born July 16, 1950, in Fort Wayne, Indiana) is an American jazz singer who recorded two albums on the Concord Jazz label in 1983 & 1985 with musicians Stan Getz, Eddie Duran, Tom Harrell and Al Plank; and one album on the Laser Records label in 2011 with musicians Al Plank, Houston Person, John Stowell, Michael Spiro, Colin Bailey, and John Wiitala.
Recordings and performances
Her debut album, Let There Be Love, with Stan Getz on saxophone and Eddie Duran (a Benny Goodman Band graduate) on guitar, was released on the Concord Jazz label (CJ-206) as an LP for Valentine's Day 1983. The record also featured prominent Bay Area musicians Al Plank, Vince Lateano, and Dean Reilly. This album was posted in the top ten in Radio and Records jazz airplay charts in the spring of 1983. Her follow-up recording in 1985 of One by One (CJ-271), also on the Concord Jazz label, reached number 13 on the Radio and Records jazz airplay charts in early summer 1985. This album featured trumpeter Tom Harrell along with Duran and Plank, and other Bay Area jazz musicians. Let There Be Love was chosen as a BillBoard Magazine Recommended LP Jazz Pick in their March 26, 1983 issue. Bell was also nominated by Down beat magazine in their Jazz Critic's Poll of 1984 and 1985 as "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition". BAM Magazine nominated Let There Be Love as the Best Debut Album in their 1983 Awards. Bell had recorded a third album in 1990, but when the tracks were compressed during the mastering process, the recordings of the bass instrument were badly distorted due to a misplaced microphone. After two failed attempts to re-engineer the tapes, the project was discarded. Now after a 20 year delay and technological advancements in digital remastering comes Sagacious Grace, a beautiful collection of songs dedicated to the memory of Al Plank.
Bell has performed around the US and internationally, appearing at the Golden Globe Awards, the Russian River Jazz Festival, the Jazz in the City Festival, the first and only Mill Valley Jazz Festival, the Napa Valley Mustard Festival and the Cotati Jazz Festival, as well as television and hotel performances.
Leonard Feather of the Los Angeles Times wrote in a 1985 article that "Bell has a haunting, jazz-infected sound, her diction and phrasing flawless." Jay Roebuck at the Orange County Register chose One by One as the third best album of 1985, stating that "Dee Bell sings with a beautiful, clear voice that brings to mind Jackie Cain with just a touch of Chris Connor here and there. It's a pleasant combination, and she definitely has style of her own." In the British Jazz Journal, Derrick-Stewart Baxter also wrote in 1985 that "Dee Bell is more than just a good professional. She knows just how to bring the best out in a song. She does her own thing, lazy, hazy smoky singing."
Bell began playing music at home, where she grew up in a musical family. She was first chair clarinet in the Plainfield High School band and performed in an a cappella trio from age ten through to her senior year. Bell graduated from Indiana University in December 1972 with a BS in Art Education, lived on the edge of the Hoosier National Forest in a 2-room cabin with a woodstove for heat, and was co-founder and head chef of the Earth Kitchen vegetarian restaurant in Bloomington, Indiana (the restaurant fostered the food cooperative and grocery store Bloomingfoods).
- 2011, Sagacious Grace, Jazz, Laser Records LLC, 0708
- 1985, One by One, Jazz, Concord Jazz, CJ271
- 1983, Let There be Love, Jazz, Concord Jazz, CJ206
- Wynn, Ron. "Dee Bell: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- Official site
- Dee Bell at AOL Music
- Stan Getz official site with discography
- Concord, Bell's record label for first two releases
- Laser Records LLC, Bell's record label for her 2011 release