Joel Bell

Award: Fusion Fund

Year: 2019

Genre: World

Instrument/voice type: Guitar/ Composition

Location: London


Joel is a Berklee-trained Jazz guitarist and composer who has studied composition at Birmingham Conservatoire with John Mayer, the father of fusion music and a PhD with Peter Wiegold and Richard Barrett at Brunel on impact points of improvisation within composition.
Since then his work has been geared towards how improvisation impacts the pre-written. He has written for Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Piano Circus, jazz pianist Liam Noble, Southbank Sinfonia, Juliet Fraser, Atlas and Nieuw Ensembles, an arrangement of Varese’s ‘Amerique’ and a reworking of Elliot Carter materials with his electric jazz trio and the renowned saxophonist Tim Garland. Concerts have been in Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Europe and the UK.
Joel has performed with Lionel Loueke (Herbie Hancock), Evan Parker, Oren Marshall, Richard Barrett, members of Ensemble Moderne, Ellison Ensemble, London Sinfonietta and for the past six years been a member of Peter Wiegold’s Notes Inegales, performing over 100 concerts at Club Inegales with an eclectic group of performer-composers, working on music blurring the line between the free and composed, in collaboration with guests who span the musical traditions (Middle-Eastern, Asian, Maori) and different art forms (author Will Self, poet Benjamin Zephaniah). He’s premiered music by Michael Finissey, performed with the BBC Singers the music of Arvo Part (to the composer) and James Tenney, as well as being broadcast by BBC Radio 3, BBC Arabic, Swiss and Korean radio and also spoken about musical symmetry on BBC Radio 4.
Since working with the Atlas Ensemble, premiering two news works in consecutive Amsterdam festivals, he developed a deep interest researching inflections/microtonality and improvisation strategies employed by traditional Indian, Persian and Arabic traditions, also being invited to the Banff Centre in Canada to study with leading musicians in those disciplines.