There’s much more to Poogie Bell than meets the eye. His youthful expression and boisterous personality can fill a room with warmth in a matter of seconds. What you may not realize is that he is an accomplished musician whose drumming can be heard on some of the finest jazz, R&B and hip-hop albums the world has to offer.
Music most certainly flows in Poogie Bell’s veins. His father was a jazz musician and professor of music and Poogie started playing music when he was just 10 months old. At the age of two and half he made his concert debut playing along side his father at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Hall. He made his first television appearance on the Mike Douglas Show at the tender age of five.
During his childhood Poogie would often stumble into the living room only to find his father jamming with the likes of Max Roach and the incomparable Ornette Coleman. Growing up in this environment it is not hard to understand why he chose to dedicate his life to music.
Poogie’s career took off when he began touring with hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa and later with the Force MD’s. In 1987 the Force MD’s had their first major success with the album “Touch and Go.” The album’s title track, which was co-written by Poogie and Victor Bailey, won the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Urban Music Writers award.
From there Poogie exploded into the R&B scene and spent the next 15 years collaborating with some of hip-hop and R&B’s heaviest hitters including Keith Sweat, SWV, New Edition and Erykah Badu.
In 2003 Poogie met a young musician by the name of Kevin Barefoot. Poogie had already made name for himself as a performer, producer and composer, working with everyone from Chaka Khan to David Bowie, but he had a new- found interest in the jam world. This was a world that Barefoot knew well. Two years later Poogie and Barefoot, joined by guitarist Juan Vasquez and keyboardist Howie Alexander came together and the Poogie Bell Band was born.
Poogie’s ferocious drumming combines with Barefoot’s jazz and hip-hop infused bass lines to create a rhythm section that solid to its core. Vasquez’s fast-paced and clever guitar solos are joined by Alexander’s relentlessly funky keyboard breakdowns and the result is nothing short of hip-shaking, head- bobbing fun.
Simply put, their unique “Funk Jazz Jam” blend is music you can groove to, think to, love to. With their debut album “Thinking Outside the Box” out now and ever growing fan base the Poogie Bell Band certainly seems to be here to stay.