Hipbone Records was founded in 1998 in Alphabet City, New York by musician/producer/performers Ray Grappone and Vicki Bell. Both have traveled internationally as performers, and have recorded on worldwide independent and major music labels.
From its inception, positioned with an open ear for all styles of music, Hipbone's releases are all tied together by a common thread - that they be soulful, that they groove, and that they have a quality that can't be questioned.
Hipbone Records has had a strong presence in the dance music market. Having produced 20 EP vinyl albums, their music has been licensed to over 50 CD compilations worldwide as well as several Television and Film licensings.
Artists on the label include: Alexis P. Suter, Groove Collective, The Open Door, Revisionaries, Amy Helm, Ceybil Jefferies, The Lucky Ones, Jay Collins, TUBA, Genji Siriasi and Norberto Goldberg.
Remixers on Hipbone include: Filthy Rich, Ron Trent, Julius Papp, Roy Davis Jr, Sting Int., Pal Joey, World Style, Richard Les Crees and Joey Negro.
In addition to the organic pulse of the acclaimed Beats and Grooves Series, the psychedelic resonance of The Open Door and the deepest grooving house music, Hipbone has extended their repertoire to include Blues and Soul phenom Alexis P. Suter.
Hipbone Records is the partnership of Ray Grappone and Vicki Bell.
Songwriter, producer, vocalist Vicki Bell (Victoria) is the producer and member of the Alexis P Suter Band, fronted by the extraordinary Blues and Soul vocalist Alexis P Suter.
Vicki was born to an artist mother and a father who raced cars and she has always been the star member of a large Italian/Irish family. From the age of five and onward, Vicki entertained at family and neighborhood gatherings by producing, directing and starring in her original productions. Miss Bell has always been creatively inclined, dancing, singing and directing for her family and neighborhood friends at the early age of 5 and making her public debut in a production of the Musical “West Side Story”.
After graduating from Union-Endicott High School in upstate New York, Bell received scholarships and studied at The Philadelphia College of Performing Arts (now University of the Arts) and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, NYC. During that time, she began her career as a singer and dancer in various settings in New York. She then joined the National and World Tour and the acclaimed Broadway Musical,
“A Chorus Line” in the role of Val, playing over 160 cities in Europe, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand. She was honored to perform at The White House for President Ronald Reagan with the cast and Marvin Hamlisch broadcast on PBS "In Performance at the White House" series.
Vicki was a member of the pop singing trios, The Girls Club (Select), Jack and Jill (Strictly Rythm) and Three of Hearts (Cutting Records) which were part of the underground dance music scene in NYC at the time. It was then that she fell in love with songwriting, production, remixing and engineering and began honing her skills in these arts learning from Moogy Klingman (Utopia), Coati Mundi (Kid Creole and the Coconuts), Mario Sprouse (Gordon Parks), Danny Madden and as a technician from great engineers Joe Berger and Dave Lee.
Bell worked with and recorded for several indie labels. In 1998, Vicki along with Drummer and Percussionist Ray Grappone and Engineer/Producer Dennis Martin formed Hipbone Records based on New York’s Lower East Side. Hipbone Records released twenty 12" Vinyl soulful dance music and beat/groove records featuring live musician/electronic collaborations. Vicki composed, produced and engineered the majority of the releases along with Grappone. Hipbone employed some of the best remixers in dance music at the time and released Vinyl recordings from Artists Alexis P Suter, Amy Helm, The Groove Collective and many more. From those Vinyl releases Hipbone licensed individual tracks to over 60 + compilations world wide, and also licensed many tracks for Film and Television, notably “Stevie” by Steve James and “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” on Bravo Television. Hipbone then released full length CD's in the Blues, Roots and Jazz genres.
Vicki and fellow musician/producer Peter Adams combined efforts to form Open Door. They released two full length efforts, the much acclaimed “What’s Behind Door #1” (Sole Music, UK) and follow up “So Close To Beautiful” (Hipbone Records). Their cover version of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” was licensed over 50 times to compilations world wide. Their original "Shelter Me" was featured on the FX Network Series "Nip/Tuck". The duo toured the USA and UK in support of their releases.
In 2004 Vicki collaborated with Alexis P Suter and Grappone to create her debut Blues/Soul CD release “Shuga’ Fix”. This release lead to a regular opening slot at Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble shows held in Woodstock, NY. Bell and Grappone were associate producers on both “The Midnight Ramble Session” releases Vol.1 and Vol. 2. Vicki mixed Volume 1 with Dave Lee. She also performed and produced Alexis P Suter Band “Live at the Midnight Ramble” released on LHS Records. At the same time Miss Bell engineered regularly at Hipbone Studios recording the likes of Vassar Clements, Michael Falzarano, Buddy Cage of NRPS, Scooter Warner, Jesus H Christ, The Groove Collective, Alexis P Suter and many more.
Vicki continues to produce, compose and sing with Alexis P Suter Band who have performed at 50 + Blues and Roots Music Festivals along with Theater and Venue dates in the USA, Canada and Europe. Alexis P and the band have released 7 full length recordings to date in which Bell served as producer, composer and performer. They have appeared as musical guests on “IMUS in the Morning” and “The Artie Lange Show”.
Other recent credits for Vicki include singing live with Corey Daye (Cher Chez La Femme) and performer credit on Levon Helm - “Live at the Midnight Ramble” Vol. 3.
Ray Grappone, musician, born in Brooklyn, New York is a professional Drummer, Percussionist and Producer.
Ray is a native New Yorker of Italian descent, the son of Marie and Carmine Grappone. Surrounded by the music and record collections of his older Brothers, he was immediately taken in with the music. By the age of 12, his parents purchased his first set of drums and Ray began studying privately with Normie Wayne in Brooklyn who was a big influence to him.
After graduating from Lafayette High School, Grappone, received a BA in Percussion Performance from Kingsborough College and an MA in Music Education from Herbert Lehman College. There he gained vast experience playing in Percussion ensembles, Chamber, Orchestra, Opera and Concert Band all while playing with Local Blues, Rock and Swing Big Bands in NYC. Private instruction for Ray included, Jim Priess, Joe Morello, Kenwood Dennard, Papo Daddiego, Frank Malabe, Kim Plainfield and Ray Marchica.
On Broadway, Ray played more than 20 productions. He held the drum chairs at “Blood Brothers”, “Side Show”,”Little Me”, “The Flower Drum Song”, “Marie Christine”, “Bombay Dreams”, subbing on others including “Les Miserables”, “Rent”, “Wicked, “The Producers”, “The Boy From Oz” and many others. Off Broadway Grappone worked with Alan Menken on “Weird Romance”, Stephen Sondheim on “Saturday Night” and Noel Coward’s “If Love Were All” with Twiggy.
Ray performed in the National tours of “Jerry’s Girl’s”, “Starlight Express”, Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “The Music Of The Night” (38 piece Orchestra featuring Colm Wilkinson). Also, “A Chorus Line” World Tour covering 160+ cities covering all of Europe, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.
His first recording was the “Jerry’s Girl’s” cast album on Polydor Records. Other cast album recordings include, “Side Show” (Sony), “The Flower Drum Song” (DRG), “Saturday Night” Sondheim (Nonesuch) and “Little Me” (Varese Sarabande).
Ray was personal Drummer for the great Carol Channing (2 Years) and Tony Award winner Donna McKechnie (20 Years).
Other performances included playing for Bette Midler, Eddie Fisher, Carole King, Patti Page, The Radio City Rockettes and The New York City Opera, and Shakespeare’s “King Lear” with Kevin Kline.
Ray owned “The Drummer’s Workshop” in Brooklyn for 5 Years where he taught privately and hosted Master classes with percussion greats a highlight was Arnie Lang percussionist for The New York Philharmonic.
Ray became in immersed in the underground Acid Jazz sound of the 90’s and opened a recording and rehearsal space on NY’s Lower East Side. After recording for various labels in the scene, he then, with partners Vicki Bell and Dennis Martin, launched Hipbone Records specializing in soulful dance music and beats. Hipbone produced 20 vinyl singles and licensed their music to over 60 compilations world wide. Ray began his very successful Beats & Grooves drum series and released 2 volumes, “Double Drums” with Genji Siraisi and “Skins, Metal and Wood” with Norberto Goldberg. In Dance and Electronic genre’s, Grappone produced and recorded with Open Door, Ron Trent, Tommy Musto, Filthy Rich and other great Remixers and DJ’s. Hipbone expanded their studio/label space to Red Hook, Brooklyn, and began releasing full length CD’s in the blues/jazz/soul genres. Notably with Blues and Soul phenom Alexis P Suter and her band.
In Rock, Blues and Indie, Ray has performed with Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Felix Cavaliere, Alexis P Suter, Vassar Clements, Amy Helm, Coati Mundi, The Bennett Brothers, Felix Cabrera, Bruce Katz, Lazy Boy, Jesus H Christ, Dem Brooklyn Bums Big Band, Open Door and many others.
Blues/Rock Recordings include APSB, “Shuga’ Fix” (Hipbone), “Live at the Midnight Ramble”(Levon Helm Studios), “Another Fool”(Hipbone), “Two
Sides” (Hipbone) and “Love the Way You Roll” (American Showplace Music), and releases by Bennett, Michael Falzarano Kerry Kearney and Dave Rave and Marc McCarron.
Television and Film credits include; “IMUS in the Morning”, “The Artie Lange Show” and “The Accidental Husband” starring Uma Thurman, Colin Firth and Isabella Rosellini.
Currently Ray plays with multiple Blues Music Award nominee Alexis P Suter, Buster Poindexter (aka David Johansen) and Singer - Songwriter Jim Petrie.
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