Poogie Bell – Poogie Bell Band
He has performed and recorded with Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross, Roberta Flack,
Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Erykah Badu, David Bowie, John
Scofield, David Sanborn, Angelique Kidjo, Joe Sample, Al Jarreau, Vanessa Williams,
Stanley Turrentine, Victor Wooten, Randy Crawford, and many more. Poogie cowrote
with Victor Bailey “Touch and Go” the title track of Force MD’s debut album
that won the ASCAP Urban Music Writers award for Top 10 Singles in 1998. He now
leads the Poogie Bell Band.
Poogie was born in Pittsburgh 1961 spending his early years in the steel city. His father
Charles Bell was a jazz pianist who graduated from the Carnegie Institute before
leading his own band called the Charles Bell Contemporary Jazz Quartet. Charles
was commioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony to write a three movement jazz symphony
called “Concerto in Miniature of Jazz Quartet and Orchestra” that was conducted
by William Steinberg in 1963. The Charles Bell quartet released several recordings
on the Columbia and Atlantic labels and toured the world during the 1960s.
When Poogie was around 10 months old he sat for hours in a high chair watching his
father s band rehearse. Around 5 A.M. the next morning his mother was awakened by
the sound of drums thinking the band’s drummer had arrived early. She found
Poogie in the living room sitting atop the drum stool tinging away on the cymbals, At
the age of two and half he made his concert debut playing with his father at Pittsburgh’s
Carnegie Hall. Appearing with Pearl Bailey he made his first television appearance
on the Mike Douglas Show in 1966 at age five. Poogie’s family moved to
New York City where his father became a music professor and continued to perform
with his quartet. In New York Poogie got to know Max Roach and Ornette Coleman
who jammed with his father in the Bell’s living room. Bassist Paul Chambers was a
Poogie began his professional career playing with Tom Brown, Weldon Irvine and
then Hugh Masakela. He then toured with one of the creators of hip-hop, Afrika Bambaata
and the Soulsonic Force. Working in traditional R&B Poogie toured with Freddie
Jackson, Phyllis Hyman and Chaka Khan. In 1987 he worked with Force MDs, a
Temptations-style vocal group who were the first to incorporate R&B and hip-hop.
Poogie co-wrote & produced the title track of their hit CD “Touch and Go”.
He has spent the next 25 years collaborating with some of Jazz, hip-hop’s and R&B’s
heaviest hitters including Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke Keith Sweat, SWV, New Edition
and Erykah Badu.