Brooklyn native Lori Bell is a flutist and composer of admirable depth and broad musical sympathies. A resident of San Diego, she has contributed to the development of higher standards of jazz performance while earning acclaim from both peers and critics for her artistry on stage and in recordings. Her debut on Discovery Records, "Love Will Win" with pianist / vocalist Dave Mackay and assist Andy Simpkins, received warm praise and four and a half stars (out of five) from the esteemed Leonard Feather and was selected on the Grammy list for Best New Artist in 1983. A second Discovery disc, "Take Me To Brazil", showed a natural fluency in this Latin idiom and demonstrated her ability to maintain a high level of inspiration. This album featured the first of several fine compositions and was enthusiastically given four stars by the Los Angeles Times in 1989. Over the past 15 years, Ms. Bell's many performances in venues such as the Wadsworth Theater, Elario's and the Jazz Bakery established her reputation, among musicians and audiences alike, as a remarkably vital interpreter.
Her outstanding contributions with the ensemble Straight Ahead, during the 2997 Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center, broadened that reputation and were noted in the music periodical Jazziz for their fire and commitment. She continues to deepen her understanding of the rich, varied language of jazz even as she develops her eloquent gifts of communication. In 1998, this artistic maturity was delightfully demonstrated with her stellar work with Dave Mackay and guitarist / vocalist Ron Satterfield in the trio Interplay. Their Self-titled first album from Webster's Last Word was selected on the 1999 Grammy ballot in four categories, including Best Jazz Solo by Ms. Bell on Pat Metheny, "It's Just Talk." The disc, which garnered four stars from Scott Yanow in Strictly Jazz magazine, also features her composition "Playing in The Snow", a waltz that skillfully combines an uncommon musicality with a fresh, intrinsic charm.
There is a surpassing craftsmanship-inspired improvisation rendered within a wonderful harmonic and melodic framework - that is at once fulfilling to the musician's mind and music lover's heart. It is a quality, which embodies the fundamental appeal of Ms. Bell/'s music and which conveyed her special talents to a wider audience with her most recent endeavor, her eponymous CD. Released in 2002 on the Beezwax label, the "Lori Bell" album successfully interpreted more commercially viable arrangements grounded in the best jazz fundamentals. The Grammy Award panel recognized the album's comprehensive excellence with selections in five categories, among them Best Instrumental Arrangement and Best Contemporary Jazz Album. The press also found the collaborative efforts of Ms. Bell and her colleagues to be exceptionally persuasive. Marco Pignataro wrote in Jazz Improv of "...truly enjoy(ing) the sophistication of the arrangements and the professionalism of each member of Mrs. Bell's band. And noted that Bell's "...command of the flute is outstanding...(her) arabesques really paint some beautiful landscapes." He appreciated the album for "...delivering a good mélange of playful grooves and soothing atmospheres as a backdrop for Bell's remarkable flute playing." In addition, Cadence magazine's Frank Rubolino observed that Ms. Bell "...makes the music happen with her wide range of improvising skills and melodious tonality." He also remarked of her "definitive solo statements on each of the tunes..." while commending her for the lyrical intensity and spontaneity of her tasteful playing.
Ms. Bell performed at the Gala for the 2003 Annual Conference of the National Flute Association. She and her musical partner, Ron Satterfield, distinguished themselves as worthy peers of the many fine musicians that graced the stage that evening. She seeks to use the valuable experience of participating in the annual conference as a foundation for inspired effort in reaching an even higher level of musical excellence.