Bob Belden

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Bob Belden
Birth nameJames Robert Belden
Born(1956-10-31)October 31, 1956
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
DiedMay 20, 2015(2015-05-20) (aged 58)
New York City
GenresJazz, big band, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger, band leader, producer
Years active1970s–2015
LabelsSunnyside, Blue Note, RareNoise

James Robert Belden (October 31, 1956 – May 20, 2015) was an American saxophonist, arranger, composer, bandleader, and producer.[1] As a composer he may be best known for his Grammy Award winning orchestral jazz recording, Black Dahlia (2001).[2] As producer, he was mostly associated with the remastering of recordings by trumpeter Miles Davis for Columbia Records.


Belden, born in Evanston, Illinois, grew up in the Charleston, South Carolina suburb of Goose Creek. He briefly attended the University of South Carolina where he met composer Jay Knowles who introduced him to the music of Gil Evans. He then studied saxophone and composition at the University of North Texas before joining the Woody Herman band.

He recorded his first album Treasure Island in 1990. This was followed by a series of adventurous albums featuring jazz-tinged arrangements of contemporary pop songs culminating with Black Dahlia in 2001.

In 2008, he arranged and produced Miles from India, a world fusion music recording based on the compositions of Miles Davis for which he assembled a group made up of Davis alumni and musicians from India.[3] In addition to his work as arranger, composer, conductor and A & R director, Belden contributed numerous liner notes for noted recordings, such as "Lou's Blues" by Lou Marini and the Magic City Jazz Orchestra.

Some of his work as the author of liner notes received Grammy Awards.[4][5] In early 2015, Belden became the first American musician in 35 years to bring a band from the USA to perform in Iran.[6]

Belden died of a heart attack on May 20, 2015, at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. He was 58.[7][8]


As leader[edit]

  • Treasure Island (Sunnyside, 1990)
  • La Cigale (Sunnyside, 1990)
  • Straight to My Heart: The Music of Sting (Blue Note, 1991)
  • When the Doves Cry: The Music of Prince (Metro Blue, 1994)
  • Shades of Blue (Blue Note, 1996)
  • Bob Belden Presents: Strawberry Fields (Blue Note, 1996)
  • Tapestry – The Blue Note Cover Series (Blue Note, 1997)
  • Black Dahlia (Blue Note, 2001)
  • Three Days of Rain (Sunnyside, 2006)

With Tim Hagans and Animation

  • Re-Animation Live! (Blue Note, 1999)
  • Animation - Imagination (Blue Note, 1999)
  • Agemo (RareNoise, 2011)
  • Asiento (RareNoise, 2011)
  • Transparent Heart (RareNoise, 2012)
  • Machine Language (RareNoise, 2015)

As conductor

With others[edit]

See also[edit]

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Bob Belden at All About Jazz Archived October 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Bob Belden profile Archived November 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine,; accessed May 20, 2015.
  3. ^ Article on "Miles From India",; accessed May 20, 2015.
  4. ^ "Belden, Bob (James Robert Belden)". Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians. Archived from the original on 2015-02-20.
  5. ^ "Jazz Lives Thanks to Veteran Reissue Producers". Billboard. 113 (27): 68. July 7, 2001.
  6. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff. "Bringing Cultures Together in Pice". Retrieved 2015-05-24.
  7. ^ Stutz, Colin (May 20, 2015). "Bob Belden, Jazz Saxophonist & Renaissance Man, Dead at 58". Billboard. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  8. ^ Gans, Charles J. (May 20, 2015). "Noted jazz saxophonist Bob Belden dies in NYC at age 58". Sun Herald. Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2015.

External links[edit]