Talk of the best jazz drummers in the world, and you will not miss Poogie Bell. The sound of his drum rings one most of the jazz, neo-soul, RnB, and hip-hop records across the globe. He is a perfumer, a producer, a composer, and an arranger, with vast experience in the music scene.
You probably have heard his work with top artists like Chaka Khan, Marcus Miller, Roberta Flack, Erykah Babu, David Bowie, and Randy Crawford, just to mention a few. Poogie Bell has shared his talents with the world and continues to do so with every given opportunity.
Poogie Bell was born in New York City, where he has spent most of his life. He is a second-gen musician who has been exposed to music since his birth. His father was a jazz musician and a music professor, which has something to do with his interest in music. It’s like he inherited music, which has been the main driving force of his life. You may laugh at this, but Bell started drumming when he was only ten years old.
He was two and a half when he made his concert debut at Pittsburgh Carnegie Hall alongside his father. Music has always been in his blood, and there is nothing he could do about it but become the best in it. At the age of five, Bell appeared on The Mike Douglas Show, working with Pearl Bailey.
From an early age, Bell was used to the company of great artists like drummer Max Roach, saxophonist Ornette Coleman, pianist Marylou Williams, and bassist Paul Chambers. They were often in the living room with his father. He would hang out with other musicians like Omar Hakim, Marcus Miller, and Lenny White. They influenced and supported each other in their music careers, which was also an excellent environment for Poogie Bell.
It was not until he met Tom Brown, Weldon Irvine, and Hugh Masakela that Bell earned his first ‘true’ gig. Sooner after, he was on tour with one of the inventors of hip-hop, African Bambaata, and Soulsonic Force. And then, he joined the Force MD, a group that focused on Temptations-style music and was the first to bring together R n B and hip-hop. He did a composition called “Touch and Go” for the Force MD’s, winning him the ASCAP Write’s Award for Top 10 Singles, 1998.
Even though Poogie Bell had all the influence to become a good musician, his hard work got him where he is today. It allowed him to break into the traditional RnB industry, touring and recording with great artists. Bell has worked on projects with artists like Freddie Jackson, Phylis Hyman, and Chaka Khan.
The drummer joined the New Jack swing era alongside Kieth Sweat, Teddy Riley, SWV, and New Edition. He has not stopped touring and recording extensively with Marcus Miller, Alex Bugnon, and Erykah Badu, just to mention a few. Today Poogie Bell is busy on his project with the Poogie Band. He continues to make good music and influence the world.