norma jean bell

Norma Jean Bell was a part of Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention from November 1, 1975, until December of the same year.
She did perform at the December 9 gig in Quebec, but wasn't part of the band on December 26.

Before joining the Zappa band, she had toured as a member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra from April through June 1975.

She appears on the "Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa" album that got released in 1996, and on "Joe's Menage", released in 2008.

According to Terry Bozzio, she was released from service due to drug use (from an interview with the "Idiot Bastard" on 12/07/1992).

Besides Zappa, Norma Jean Bell has also performed with Tommy Bolin, Dave Mason, Raydio, Narada Michael Walden and Milt Jackson.

In the early nineties she started the very succesfull Detroit based Pandamonium record label, a famous 'house and dance music' label. She is a very famous saxophone player, producer and singer in the 'house and dance music' scene.

 

discography

  narada michael walden: garden of  love light
    (1976, lp, ??, ??) - feat. norma bell
 
  björk & norma jean bell: remix ep
    (????, lp, ??, ale)
 
 

norma jean bell: come into my room
    (????, 12", usa, peacefrog records)

 

 

norma jean bell: do you wanna party
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: dreams / love's got it's hooks in me
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: friday night (remixes)
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: i'm the only queen
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: love me in the rain
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: nobody is gonna love you (remixes)
    (????, 2x12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: nobody's gonna love you (like i do!)
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: one of those nights
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: i like the things you do for me
    (????, 12", ??, balance prescription)

 
 

norma jean bell: come into my room
    (2001, 2x12", ??, peacefrog)

 
 

moodymann: the dancer
    (????, 12", ??, uca records) - feat. norma bell

 
 

kenny dixon jr.: moodymann ep
    (1994, 12", ??, grassroots records) - feat. norma bell

 
 

moodymann: the dancer
    (1996, cd5", ??, after midnight) - feat. norma bell

 

66

frank zappa: frank zappa plays the music of frank zappa
   (1996, cd, usa, barking pumpkin)

 

norma jean bell: i'm the baddest bitch
    (1996, cd5", ??, f-communications)

 
 

norma jean bell: i'm the baddest bitch (in the room)
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: i'm the baddest bitch (remixes)
    (????, 12", ??, f-communications)

 
 

norma jean bell: i'm the baddest bitch - the baddest mixes
    (????, 12", ??, f-communications)

 
 

moodymann: find another woman
    (1998, 12", ??, groovilicious) - feat. norma bell

 
 

moodymann: the dancer
    (2000, 12", ??, after midnight) - feat. norma bell

 
 

norma jean bell: come into my room
    (2001, cd, ??, peacefrog)

normajeanbell_comeintomyroom.jpg (80814 bytes)
 

norma jean bell: dreams / mystery
    (????, 12", ??, peacefrog)

 
 

norma jean bell: london fog
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: nobody
    (????, 12", ??, peacefrog)

 
 

norma jean bell: 4 am
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: fun comin on
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: i'm the only queen
    (????, 12", ??, funky chocolate)

 
 

norma jean bell: it shows - remix
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

norma jean bell: what cha do for me - remix
    (????, 12", usa, pandamonium)

 
 

moodymann: the dancer (re-release)
    (2002, 12", ??, ed thrasher) - feat. norma bell

 
  the gallery collective: the dance
    (????, 12", ??, prescription) = norma jean bell & ron trent
 
 

moodymann: black mahogani
    (2004, 3x12", ??, peacefrog) - feat. norma bell

 
 

moodymann: black mahogani
    (2004, cd, ??, peacefrog) - feat. norma bell

 
 

3 chairs: three chairs 3
    (2004, 3x12", ??, three chairs) - feat. norma bell

 
  3 chairs: three chairs 3
    (2004, 2cd, ??, three chairs)
- feat. norma bell
 

84

frank zappa: joe's menage
    (2008, cd, usa, vaulternative records)

     

 

random notes 

     From: Jan van Kemenade
Some 'Whatever happened..' trivia. The 'Big Note' (an overview of all Zappa bands, the format is a IBM quick reference card) a certain Norma Bell is listed as being a band member during the  '75 fall tour. I've found a Norma Jean Bell on Sax & Vocals in the (late) Tommy Bolin band, fall '76. There are several live recordings of that band. I couldn't find Ms. (or Mrs.)  Bell's name on the musician's list, so I don't know whether recordings exist but she definitely was a member.


Norma Jean Bell plays on Narada Michael Walden's 'Garden of  Love Light' ('76).


     From: Michael Scott
She is doing some jazzy house music now with Kenny Dixon jnr aka Moodyman and has released "I'm The Baddest Bitch" on F Communications "I Like The Things you do for Me" on Balance /Prescription "Who 's Gunna love You Like I Do" on Pandamonium etc
Playing the Sax so it must be the same lady anymore info anyone has I'd be keen to know because I love her sound regards

-- michael scott


     From: Charles Ulrich
Norma Jean Bell auditioned for McLaughlin just before joining FZ.


     From: Jon Naurin
Last known Zappa show with Norma Bell: Quebec 75/12/09


     From: Andre Lewis
As for Norma Bell, she was a badass sax player and not just for a girl.
A real bad ass.


     From: "Dan B."
I have a live CD from The Tommy Bolin band from '76 at Ebbets Field featuring Norma Jean Bell on sax and vocals (and the great drummer Narada Michael Walden, etc.). Anyway, in the attached newsletter there's some info from brother Johnnie Bolin: "Norma Bell was playing with Frank Zappa in Los Angeles when Tommy asked her to audition. I remember Tommy saying he went down and saw Norma at S.I.R. Studios, where she was rehearsing with Frank Zappa and Terry Bozzio on drums... when he got the final line-up, he (Tommy Bolin) said it was the most phenomenal band he had ever worked with."
So I guess Bell quit Zappa's band to join Bolin's. Not the greatest information, but at least it mentions Zappa a bit. (Wonder if FZ had an opinion on Bolin's guitar playing and/or his music?)


     From: Tom Tuerff
Pat--here's a link to a page on Mark Stein's website. He was lead singer of "Da Fudge!" and after Vanilla Fudge broke up he joined Tommy Bolin's band and toured with Norma Bell.   I'll bet he knows all about the Mud Shark, too...

http://www.mark-stein.com/gallery/page22.htm


She plays on: "Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa"


    From Andrew Wissing
In addition to being a Zappa fan I am also a Tommy Bolin fan. The entry about Norma Bell doesn't hold water if one studies the gig dates. The "story" says that she quit FZ when she was offered a spot in Bolin's band. But her last date with FZ was five or six months before she played with Tommy. The last Norma Bell gig with Frank was in Toronto Dec 9, 1975. On that day Bolin was touring the Far East with Deep Purple. It wouldn't make any sense for him to be hiring to fill his solo band until after the Deep Purple Tour was finished.  Bolin probably started recruiting his band after that Purple tour, which lasted until Feb 1976. Norma's first documented show with Tommy was 4/28/76. I suppose its possible that Tommy offered her the job before he started his tour with Purple, but I'm skeptical. I think it's more likely she quit or was fired by  FZ, months before Bolin offered her a job.

-- one day later, Andrew added --

I found this interview with Bozzio which suggests she was fired for drugs. She would have fit right in with Bolin's lifestyle (deathstyle?). She was touring with him when he died from an overdose on December 4, 1976 (FZ died on the same day in 1993) 

snippet from Terry Bozzio interview:
(http://www.idiotbastard.supanet.com/interviews/TERRY%20BOZZIO,%2027.9.92.htm)

Terry Bozzio: Norma Bell was a woman who came from Detroit. She’s a really good saxophone player. She played with Tommy Bolin and, I think, Ralph Armstrong who was being considered for the gig at the time. He was the Mahavishnu’s bass player. He suggested her. She played with us on stage somewhere like Detroit, where she lived, and then Frank brought her along on the road. By the time we got back to LA at the end of the tour she had pretty much succumbed to, you know, hanging out with the wrong people and doing a lot of drugs. And so Frank said, “Forget this!” She wasn’t showing up for rehearsals. She didn’t last very long. I don’t think we recorded anything with her.


2006 11 06

Sometime ago Eric Wheelwright and Norma Jean Bell collaborated on a song which has finally been made available to the public. The song was an original Eric Wheelwright song titled "Genesis" which was re-cut with Norma Jean Bell playing sax. The title of the CD is "Journey, The Story of Life".

To sample this song log onto www.myspace.com/ericwheelwright.


 

 


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