Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Keyboardobit: Richard Bell

Candian-born keyboardist Richard Bell has died at the age of 61.

Born in Toronto, Bell's key role came after he was approached to play keyboards for Janis Joplin while in his early 20s. His time with Joplin included numerous live dates and an appearance on Pearl, the album released after her death.

Relocating to New York, Bell worked throughout the 1970s and 1980s as a sought-after session musician, before being recruited to The Band in 1991. He remained with them for three albums and eight years, until the death of Rick Danko finally brought The Band to a close.

By now living in Toronto again, Bell returned to session work (he also played accordion and saxophone); producing and composing; and would appear with Porkbelly Futures Danny Brooks & the Rockin' Revelators and Burrito Deluxe. It was with Burrito Deluxe that he would make his last record, this February's Disciples Of The Truth. But even before the CD was released he had received the diagnosis of cancer, the disease which would eventually claim his life.