What a long, strange trip it’s been for Norma Jean Bell. The saxophonist started off in rocker Tommy Bolin’s band, but after the guitarist died she played in a variety of settings, including Frank Zappa, Chic, P-Funk and Narada Michael Walden. In the 1990s she started the Pandamonium label, which has been her primary outlet for new material. Bell began getting major attention when “I’m the Baddest Bitch” hit the clubs in 1997. “Bitch” featured her solid voice in addition to horn-playing, and the succulent disco-jazz groove made it an international sensation, revived in 1999 for the Respect Is Burning compilation.
Bell frequently works with fellow Motor City resident Moodymann. Together, they are at the forefront of the evolution of soulful Detroit electronic music. She recently signed a deal with Peacefrog for an album project.