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Biography

  • Born

    8 July 1967 (age 50)

  • Born In

    Hyères, Var, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur, France

Stephane Belmondo (born Hyères, Var, July 8, 1967) is a French jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist, and drummer. Including recordings made with his brother Lionel Belmondo and Yusef Lateef, he won the best French album category (L'Album français de l'année) in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and the best artist award (L'Artiste ou la Formation instrumentale française de l'année) in 2003 and 2004. in the French Victoires du Jazz awards. Along with his brother, he is noted for tribute albums that involve the musicians being honored.

The Belmondo family say music came naturally to Stephane, before he could even speak. His father, Yvan, was proud of his son, but inflexible when it came down to his musical education. As a former professional saxophonist, he understood the necessity of discipline and practicing music requires. He was able to instill these values into his son from an early age and Belmondo quickly adopted these principles. He first started with drums and percussion instruments at the age of 6, accordion at 8, then he chose to take up the trumpet at 10 years old. Belmondo studied accordion and cornet at the Aix-en-Provence Conservatory of Music, before being admitted to the trumpet class of the Marseille Conservatory at 16. Belmondo was 14 when he finally took the stage with his accordion joining the big band led by his father and brother Lionel who played saxophone. When he and his brother started a quintet, Belmondo was 15 years old. By 1986, Belmondo had already won his first prize for trumpet in Marseille. When he arrived in Paris to pursue his career, he met pianist René Urtreger, who gave him many opportunities to share the stage, notably with famed double-bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. He also worked with Pierre Michelot and Al Levitt which were among many others. In 1987, shortly after his arrival in Paris, he joined Laurent Cugny’s big band, Lumière. Cugny had convinced arranger Gil Evans to come to France and work on the orchestra’s repertoire. The collaboration resulted in two albums Rhythm-A-Ning and a European tour where Belmondo also recorded and performed with. From 1987 to 1990, he played with pianist Kirk Lightsey’s quartet and bassist Pierre Boussaguet’s quintet, which his brother and Jacky Terrasson was also featured. Working with Boussaguet led to the release of an album called Jazz aux Remparts featuring one of Belmondo's idols, the American trumpeter Tom Harrell.
Belmondo joined Michel Legrand’s big orchestra and took part in 1992 concert at the Olympia, where Legrand and Stéphane Grappelli appeared together for the first time. In 1992, he participated in the album Legrand/Grappelli with Legrand and Grapelli. He toured with them around the world. In 1994, Belmondo played in Dee Dee Bridgewater's trio and recorded an album, Love and Peace with them in 1995, which featured Jimmy Smith. In the same year, Belmondo moved to New York City. He continued touring with Dee Dee Bridgewater in the US, including shows at the Newport Festival and the Carnegie Hall. During his stay in New York, he played with many musicians, including Al Foster, Mark Turner, Lew Tabackin, Donald Brown, and Franck Amsallem. He recorded with pianist Donald Brown and his quartet performed at the Blue Note. In 2002, in celebration of the fifteenth anniversary of Chet Baker’s death, Belmondo performed with Jean-Louis Rassinfosse and Philip Catherine, two of Baker’s former partners.
Returning to Paris, he recorded his first solo album Wonderland in 2004, interpreting a collection of Stevie Wonder songs. This album won Belmondo two Victoires du Jazz awards in France, in 2005. Belmondo met the saxophone and flute player Yusef Lateef and they together made an album called Influence (2005). Shortly after this, his group, including Yusef Lateef, toured Europe and around the world until 2008.
In 2008, Belmondo recorded with the great Brazilian singer, Milton Nascimento and they toured together.
Belmondo was also part of the development of new bugle and trumpet models which are marketed under the name “Concept TT” by the instrument maker Selmer.

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