The unsolved murder of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, who came to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming an actress, became known as the "Black Dahlia" murder. Over the years, it has fueled the imagination of writers, musicians and others drawn to its mystery and emotion. Bob Belden's eerie 12-part-suite is dedicated to the memory of the ill-fated Black Dahlia.
On January 15, 1947, the body of Elizabeth Short, whose black attire earned her the nickname Black Dahlia, is discovered shortly after dawn in a vacant lot in downtown Los Angeles. It was perhaps the most gruesome murder ever recorded in Los Angeles. More than 500 people confessed to the crime but none were convicted. To this day, it remains an open case.
Bob Belden, who had never recorded an album with an orchestra, saw an opportunity to match his music with a story that had always fascinated him.
He said, "I always wanted to do a record of my own music again for Blue Note, which I hadn't ever done, and I said 'I wanted to do it with an orchestra. And this is what I want to do. I want to do music that's essentially an artificial reality based on the Black Dahlia murder. A famous Los Angeles murder.' But instead of looking at it from the sensational viewpoint of a crime thriller, I looked at it from the standpoint of taking someone's soul and putting a melody to it."
Mr. Belden continued by saying, "The idea is to create a story behind the music. It has nothing to do with jazz but it's all about jazz. The idea is you can't create the sound of 1940s Los Angeles. You create the dream world. You compose the dream world."
Bob Belden composed and arranged the music for his new CD "Black Dahlia." Featured soloists include trumpeters Lew Soloff and Tim Hagens, saxophonists Joe Lovano and Lawrence Feldman, and pianist Marc Copland.