Bob Belden, Jazz Saxophonist & Renaissance Man, Dead at 58

Courtesy
Bob Belden

Jazz saxophonist, arranger, composer, bandleader and producer Bob Belden died Wednesday in New York. He was 58. 

Belden suffered a heart attack in his Upper West Side apartment, according to Jazz Times, and was removed from life support after being non-responsive for more than 24 hours at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan

Throughout his career, Belden recorded as a a band leader, sideman and band member, composing and playing soprano saxophone, among other instruments. He conducted, orchestrated and wrote arrangements for Herbie Hancock, Joe HendersonMcCoy Tyner and others. 

Belden was a three-time Grammy winner for his work on 1996's Miles Davis and Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings (Best Historical Album, Best Album Notes) and 1998's Miles Davis Quintet set 1965-'68: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings (Best Album Notes). 

He was nominated for the Best Contemporary Jazz Album Grammy Award in 2000 for his album ANIMATION/Imagination with trumpeter Tim Hagans and in 2001 for Re-ANIMATION: Live! The world fusion record he arranged and produced with Indian musicians and alumni of Miles Davis' called Miles from India was nominated for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2009.

Recently Belden and his band, Animation, traveled to Iran to become the first American artists to perform there in 35 years, since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Belden also served an A&R executive for Blue Note Records.

"Bob Belden was a true renaissance man — multi-instrumentalist, composer, session player, producer, educator, historian, label executive and more. An industry trailblazer, his musical talent and innovative spirit earned him three GRAMMY Awards and tremendous respect within the jazz community and beyond. We have lost a gifted and cherished musician and our sincerest condolences go out to Bob's family, friends, collaborators and all who have been impacted by his remarkable work," said a statement from the Recording Academy. 

Belden was born in Evanston, Ill., and grew up in South Carolina.