Desert Island Jazz
Dee Bell (2012)

Visit Website

(Photo by Russ Fischella)

Those who, unlike Dee Bell, aren't from Indiana are never quite sure that "Hoosier" can be used in polite company—or is even a real word. But Dee can assure you that it is real, that it's OK for grandma to hear, and that Indiana has lots of Hoosier-thises and Hoosier-thats. One of them is the Hoosier National Forest, which in a way is responsible for Dee's becoming a singer.

After a relatively conventional upbringing, both musically (musical family, clarinet and dulcimer at an early age, vocal and instrumental groups) and generally (Indiana University, first pre-med, then art), Dee did the unconventional by living for several years in a cabin in the Hoosier National Forest——a wood stove for heat, no running water, and no telephone. The forest provided an ideal environment in which she could practice singing on the porch without disturbing the neighbors.

Dee has been in the Bay Area since the late 70s, and made her first recording 30 years ago, for Concord Records, with Eddie Duran and Stan Getz—not bad company for a debut!

It's unfortunate for all of us that Dee has put out so few recordings since then. But she's recently issued "Sagacious Grace". It's not a new recording per se: rather, it was recorded 20 years ago, but engineering errors at the time of the recording repeatedly proved impossible to fix, and the project had to be shelved. "Impossible to fix" until, that is, Dee bumped into Bud Spangler, who, among his many talents, knows a thing or two about recording, and offered to intervene. With the help of Dan Feiszli (another Bay Area polymath), "Sagacious Grace" saw the light of day a few months ago. Its excellence reminds us of what a good singer Dee is; and, rather like coming across a photograph of someone we haven't seen for some time, it reminds us of what a great pianist the late Al Plank was.

One recording per decade isn't enough, Dee: more, please!
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Claus Ogerman Claus Ogerman Featuring Michael Brecker Corfu GRP
# 2 Antonio Carlos Jobim Antonio Carlos Jobim - 20th Century Masters - The Millenium Collection Passarim Universal
# 3 Ivan Lins Saudades de Casa Depois Dos Temporais Warner Bros
# 4 Toninho Horta Diamond Land Waiting for Angela Verve
# 5 Miles Davis Tutu Portia Warner Bros
# 6 Jaye P. Morgan Jaye P. Morgan It All Goes Round Candor
# 7 Wes Montgomery Tequila Midnight Mood Verve
# 8 Dee Bell, with Stan Getz and Eddie Duran Let There Be Love You Must Believe in Spring Concord
Book "The Essential Rumi", translated by Coleman Barks and John Moyne
Luxury Item "The ukulele was an idea, and the Chuck Sher fake books, but I'd be best off with a sloop."
Castaways by date
Melissa Aldana
11 Mar
Ron E. Beck
29 Apr
Pascal Bokar
07 Oct
Shanna Carlson
18 Mar
Sara Caswell
25 Mar
Carlos D'l Puerto
22 Jul
Kellye Gray
15 Jul
David Hart
04 Nov
Bruce Jenkins
09 Dec
Ellen Johnson
17 Jun
Steffen Kuehn
02 Dec
Paul McCandless
08 Jul
Allison Miller
15 Apr
Melissa Morgan
29 Jul
Linda Oh
05 Aug
Dafnis Prieto
24 Jun
Jim Pugh
30 Sep
Fred Randolph
05 Feb
Harvie S
03 Jun
Jake Shapiro
10 Jun
Marcus Shelby
15 Jan
Bria Skonberg
04 Mar
Mark Soskin
20 May
Leslie Stoval
19 Aug
John Stowell
08 Apr
Toots Thielemans
02 Sep
Roseanna Vitro
26 Feb
Paul VornHagen
14 Oct
Don Was
12 Aug
Danielle Wertz
27 May
Howard Wiley
28 Oct