Joe was born in New York City. After dabbling with other less worthy instruments, he found his passion in the guitar. He taught himself to play and began writing songs almost immediately. Soon after, he formed long-standing and popular NYC band, Charlie Quasar, with his bro Dave Belmont, bassist Jerry McCord and drummer Ritchie Epstein. Toward the end of the band’s tenure, Joe began music school, studying at the City University of New York, and receiving a BA in 1977.
After graduating, Mr. Belmont disappeared into the hinterlands of Western Massachusetts, having fallen off the edge of the flat earth, as defined by the map in New Yorker magazine. Actually he settled in Northampton, MA.
Joe immersed himself in the music scene there, playing a dizzying variety of styles, with numerous bands. Memorable were stints in the rhythm and blues band “The Hamptones”, singer-songwriters John Coster and Joel Zoss, and jazz-fusion bands Urban Renewal and Fresh Squeeze. In 1986 he released a cassette(!) of his acoustic guitar compositions entitled “First Edition”, which became a local best-seller.
Since 1990 he has taught Jazz guitar as a performance instructor at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts. Joe played guitar, arranged and wrote music for the band Quetzal (Viva Quetzal.com) from 1991 thru 2003, recording three CD’s and traveled to numerous shows at festivals, Fine Arts Centers, and other venues all over the USA.
In 2003 Joe began his solo career, first releasing the CD “Sketches from the Journey Home.” “Sketches” is a collection of intimate guitar pieces, each depicting an aspect of Joe’s life. (Read a review here. Listen to MP3s here.) Following this CD, Joe recorded another entitled “Live at Leeds (Northampton),” released in June of 2005. Joe then embarked on a two year project transcribing and learning the music of Wes Montgomery, and teamed with some wonderful musicians (Paul Arslanian on piano, Dave Shapiro on bass, Claire Arenius on drums, Bruce Diehl on saxophone) to produce the CD “Joe Belmont and the Fellowship of Wes,” released in 2007. In 2010 he released (along with flutist Sarah Swersey) the self-titled “Duo Fusion” CD (www.duo-fusion.com).
In the summer of 2012, Joe’s working on concerts with Viva Quetzal and Duo Fusion. He has also formed a new trio with Brandon Goulet, bass and John Kokozina, drums. (Think classic American guitar: jazz, R&B, funk). Look for them around the Valley, and the first Saturday of each month at the Black Moon Music Lounge (www.blackmoonmusic.com).