Early in 2012 guitarist Diego Prato formed his first original project, consisting of a trio with bass (Arron Bell) and drums (Joe Luckin). His background includes jazz, funk, Latin, soul and hip hop music. These elements are all important influences, shared by all members, in a sound that is jazz-based but that has an interest in, and a vision towards, the contemporary. This is expressed in a series of original compositions as well as interpretations of standards and songs that range from John Coltrane to John Scofield to Curtis Mayfield.
Though born in New Jersey, smooth soul diva Madeline Bell enjoyed her greatest success in the United Kingdom (where she began living in 1963), and her first album, 1967's Bell's a Poppin', is a thoroughly enjoyable example of British pop record-making at its most poised and professional. Bell had a world-class voice and sang supper-club soul in the manner of Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield (the latter of whom was a friend of Bell's and often used her as a backing vocalist); those looking for Southern soul grit will be disappointed, but Bell's a Poppin' is a marvelous example of the British equivalent of Brill Building pop. The arrangements are clever and sophisticated, the musicians are spot-on throughout, producer John Franz adds just the right amount of polish without rubbing away the personality of the music, and Bell's vocals tell a story just beautifully, boasting smarts and understated passion while maintaining a firm sense of control and balance throughout.
A high-art concept album about an overwhelming passion between two writers is a bold foundational choice on which to craft one’s debut, but Winnipeg-based duo Heavy Bell is composed of a seasoned indie rock veteran (Royal Canoe’s Matt Peters) and an actor/singer-songwriter (Tom Keenan), both of whom dream a little bigger than some of us.
Maggie Bell was lead singer of the Scottish rock band Stone the Crows, who broke up after their guitarist was fatally electrocuted onstage. Managed by Peter Grant (Led Zeppelin) and produced by Jerry Wexler (Aretha Franklin), Bell made a staggeringly good solo debut that seemed to position her as the heir to Janis Joplin (even covering "A Woman Left Lonely"). But she never broke through commercially, not even when Jimmy Page played guitar on her followup album — the only way she surpassed Joplin was by staying alive.
‘We Dissolve’ carries a lot of the same darkness and tension of Chrysta Bell’s music with David Lynch, but it’s set more in a pop genre. She ventures into some “goth soul” territory, which parallels nicely with her prevalent artistic motifs of the life/death/life cycle, the Great Unknown and Ultimate Transcendence. The lyrical matter is still pretty heavy and twisted, with obsession, dark passion and escapism touching virtually every track. Within the death ballads and murder ballads there is however a permeating sense of peace, a glimpse of sparkles in the void.