Lena Bloch

Lena Bloch

Musicians | Instrument: Saxophone | Location: New York City

Tenor saxist and composer Lena Bloch has a gorgeously warm and mellifluous tone, sort of a mix between Lester Young and Warne Marsh, and she uses it to excellent effect.
—George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

Updated: May 27, 2022

Born: January 31, 1962

“In jazz”, muses Lena Bloch, “many things come together that are thought of as opposites: mind and feeling, responsibility and abandonment, looseness and precision, improvisation and composition. I just love that.”

Lena’s love for jazz has taken her on a challenging and circuitous voyage.

Born in Moscow, Russia, Lena Bloch immigrated to Israel and moved to Europe in 1990, where she became a part of the European jazz scene (Germany and Holland) for 12 years, finally came to the United States, earning Master’s Degree in Composition and moved to Brooklyn, NY in 2008, where she quickly became a contributor to one of the most fertile and interesting jazz scenes of recent memory.

As a long-time disciple of Lee Konitz, Lena is an improviser, dedicated to spontaneity and precision. She has collaborated with former students of Lennie Tristano: Connie Crothers, Ted Brown, Harvey Diamond, Joe Solomon, Charles Sibirsky, as well as with younger players like herself, who are contributing to the development of the tradition of spontaneous improvising and open musical communication: Roberta Piket, Dan Tepfer, Brad Linde, Sarah Hughes and others.

During her first years in Brooklyn Lena was featured in the “Four Extraordinary Women In Jazz” workshop/performance (with Connie Crothers) and in the Lester Young 100’s Birthday Concert (with Ted Brown and Chris Byars, Smalls Jazz Club). She was a frontman in Vishnu Wood Quartet (2008-2014) and performed with this group at several festivals (with Vishnu Wood, James Weidman, Bertha Hope, Makaya MacCraven, R J Miller). Lena has been a part of Lady Got Chops festival (NY State) with groups led by Mala Waldron, Sumi Tonooka, Kim Clarke. Other musicians Lena has worked with, are Arturo O’Farrill, George Schuller, Putter Smith, Bill Wurtzel, Scott Wendholt and many others.

In 2014 Lena Bloch was invited as a soloist with New York Chamber Players Orchestra, performing the concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra by Eric Koenig at the Merkin Concert Hall. 5 years ago Lena’s own project came to life, when she met the nucleus of her recent quartet: bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Billy Mintz, both stellar musicians with tremendous experience and deep understanding of music. With these colleagues and a very talented young guitarist from Chicago, Dave Miller, Lena recorded her first album as a leader. The album “Feathery” was top-rated in Downbeat Magazine, Pop Culture Classics, Jazz Inside Magazine, New York City Jazz Record, France Musique, Canadian Audiophile, Music Charts Magazine – and was voted the best debut release of 2014 by Dan Morgenstern, as well as one of the top 10 Jazz Albums 2014 (Just Jazz, USA) and top 50 Jazz Albums 2014 (JazzLinks, Austria-Germany).

After Miller’s departure from NYC, Lena’s quartet took a different turn, when in 2014 pianist and composer Russ Lossing joined the group. Lena Bloch Quartet, called Feathery, has been performing regularly since then, presenting original music, written by Lena and Russ. The quartet has performed in various New York City and Brooklyn concert spaces and jazz clubs, has released its album “Heart Knows” in 2017 (Fresh Sound Records) and was selected to perform at the showcase for the 40th National Chamber Music Conference in NYC (2018). More to come…

Lena’s inspirations and interests come from her musical experience and study with masters. She studied with Yusef Lateef in Massachusetts, Kaveh Dalir-Azar from Iran in Germany, David Liebman in his European workshops, Dave Holland and Joe Lovano in Banff Canada, and, most notably, with Lee Konitz, whom she met in 2001 in Cologne. She acquired her Artist Diploma from Cologne Conservatory (Germany), where her teachers were Keith Copeland and John Marshall, with whom she also performed with her quartet. In Europe Lena Bloch has met and performed with fabulous jazz musicians and masters, such as Mal Waldron, Johnny Griffin, Horace Parlan, Alvin Queen, Jurai Stanik. In 2000-2002 she was the saxophonist and composer with the legendary jazz percussionist Steve Reid (album “Live In Europe”, Mustevic Records, 2000), along with Boris Netsvetaev and Chris Lachotta.

In 2003, graduate school followed – Master’s Degree in Composition and teaching assistantship at the University of Massachusetts Amherst – study with Salvatore Macchia and Jeff Holmes. She played the first tenor chair in the Jazz Ensemble and got a “Downbeat Student Award” 2005 and MENC Award 2004 in Minneapolis.

With her unique cultural background, Lena is working in a “singular manner” (as Mark Keresman of NYC Jazz Record puts it), towards an original style and very personal expression. Her inspirations range from Eastern European and Middle Eastern tradition to 20th-21st Century and Western classical music.

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All About Jazz Articles

Album Review

Lena Bloch & Feathery: Rose Of Lifta

Read "Rose Of Lifta" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Saxophonist Lena Bloch knows something about the pain of separation from one's homeland. Born in Russia, she emigrated to Israel in 1990, then to Europe and, finally, in 2008, to the United States, setting up shop in New York City's fertile jazz ground. In 2014, Feathery, (Thirteen Note Records), the album and her quartet of that name, came into being. The group's second album, Heart Knows (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2007), cemented her distinctive horn-and-rhythm-section approach, with bassist ...

Album Review

Lena Bloch: Heart Knows

Read "Heart Knows" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Tenor saxophonist Lena Bloch has a cool, cerebral style and a definite and captivating lyricism. Her second release Heart Knows demonstrates this quite well. In addition, Bloch showcases her inventive compositional skills as she contributes four intriguing originals to the album. One of Bloch's mentors, multi-reed player Yusef Lateef inspired the poetic and multilayered “Lateef Suite" that opens with a contemplative duet with pianist Russ Lossing. Bloch's intelligent and introspective saxophone “monologue" flows languidly over the darkly percolating ...

Album Review

Lena Bloch: Heart Knows

Read "Heart Knows" reviewed by Alberto Bazzurro

Sostituendo la chitarra di Dave Miller col pianoforte di Russ Lossing, Lena Bloch dà vita al suo secondo album, a tre anni da Feathery, che oggi dà il nome al suo stesso quartetto. Di quel lavoro, che l'aveva rivelata come una tenorista di bella presenza sonora, soprattutto ottima esponente di un jazz di mezzo molto ben strutturato, compositivamente sofisticato, questo nuovo capitolo, inciso in piena estate 2017, conferma ogni risultanza, compresa una sostanziale volontà di non tradire certi modelli, in ...

Album Review

Lena Bloch & Feathery: Heart Knows

Read "Heart Knows" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Lena Bloch mocks the “sophomore jinx" myth with her second CD release, Heart Knows. The tenor saxophonist's debut, Feathery, drew a good deal of well-deserved praise. With her saxophone intertwined with a responsive guitar/bass/drums rhythm section, Bloch paid tribute--in part--to pianist Lennie Tristano, via her relationship with alto saxophonist Lee Konitz. On Heart Knows, Bloch moves along in the same loose groove, adding at times some flexible Middle-Eastern motifs, and stretching her own compositional skills to the highest limits, having ...

Album Review

Lena Bloch: Feathery

Read "Feathery" reviewed by Alberto Bazzurro

Moscovita di nascita ma giramondo per natura dopo un primo trasferimento alla volta di Israele datato 1990, Lena Bloch è una solida tenorista formatasi studiando, fra gli altri, con Yusef Lateef, Joe Lovano e in fondo più di tutti Lee Konitz, che l'ha introdotta all'estetica tristaniana, forgiando per sempre il suo linguaggio (e la sua pronuncia, la sua sonorità), che si avverte oggi inequivocabilmente imparentato con quello del grande Warne Marsh. Per questo che risulta essere il ...

Extended Analysis

Lena Bloch: Feathery

Read "Lena Bloch: Feathery" reviewed by Dave Wayne

One of the really enjoyable things about listening to jazz is that, after a few years, one is able to discern some aspects of a particular musician's stylistic evolution. If her debut album, Feathery, is any indication, saxophonist Lena Bloch has staked a claim on some of the most distinct real estate in the jazz neighborhood; the 50s era cool school jazz of Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh, and Lee Konitz. Far from being a mawkish tribute or an entry-level primer ...

Take Five With...

Take Five With Lena Bloch

Read "Take Five With Lena Bloch" reviewed by Lena Bloch

Meet Lena Bloch: Lena Bloch was born in Moscow and has studied music in Israel, Germany, and the United States where she earned a Master's of Music in Composition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Since moving to the United States in 2003, Bloch has been a solist with the Vermont Jazz Big Band, the Ambassadors of Light, Vishnu Wood Quartet, and the Northampton Jazz Workshop. In 2008, Bloch moved to Brooklyn and has performed with notable artists like ...

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Articles Across the Web

...or were mentioned in an All About Jazz article.



Russian Poet Marina Tsvetaeva Reimagined In A New Song Cycle By Lena Bloch

Russian Poet Marina Tsvetaeva Reimagined In A New Song Cycle By Lena Bloch

Source: Braithwaite & Katz Communications

Acclaimed saxophonist/composer Lena Bloch reimagines work of Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva in a new jazz suite, commissioned by Chamber Music America Premieres of My Name Is Marina for jazz ensemble and voice on Sunday, October 2 in Manhattan and Sunday, October 16 in Brooklyn, both at 7 PM On the 130th anniversary of the birth of Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, during a time when immigrants, women and artists face increasing struggle in the United States, acclaimed Russian-born saxophonist and composer ...

"Lena's unique selling point is that she has managed to unite an instrumental voice and a compositional voice into a single means of expression. Normally, this is another form of exile, the distance between the emotions and thoughts one has, and the ability to express them. But Lena, to abandon formality, has abolished that distance. It is music about life, a continuous suite of dances and narratives, the voice of someone telling her and their story, arrestingly and thoughtfully". - Brian Morton, "Rose Of Lifta" liner notes (to be released)

“…unwaveringly cohesive…bone-deep gorgeousness…complex, compelling and beautiful, sounds of the highest quality and inspiration laid down by a premier jazz quartet.”—Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

“The stunning thing about every performance here is the delicate blend of composed music and spontaneous invention.” — Donald Elfman, NYC Jazz Record

“Not a single note is ever wasted

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Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


Lena teaches:

  • 1. Saxophone, flute, clarinet - all levels
  • 2. Theory and harmony
  • 3. Improvisation - jazz, klezmer, popular
  • 4. Ensemble coaching
  • 5. Jazz composition and arranging


  • 1. Klose "25 Daily exercises for saxophone"
  • 2. David Liebman “Developing A Personal Sound”
  • 3. Sigurd Rascher "158 Exercises"
  • 4. Yusef Lateef “Repository Of Scales And Melodic Patterns”
  • 5. Sigurd Rascher “Top Tones For The Saxophone”
  • 6. Studies and Melodious Etudes for Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Levels I, II, III
  • 7. Rubank Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced Methods and Duet books
  • 8. Das Saxophonbuch by Klaus Dapper, Vol I and II


  • 1. 26 years of private and schools teaching in Europe and United States (Amherst MA, Westchester NY, Long Island NY, Brooklyn NY)
  • 2. State Music Schools in Germany (1999-2003) - middle and high school students, adults
  • 3. Teaching Assistantship at the University Of Massachusetts, Amherst, Department of Music (2003-2005)
  • 4. Teaching assistant at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance, Jerusalem, Israel (1990)
Lessons in studio or online (Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts). Travel to your home is possible. Rates $60/hour, $50/45-min, $40/30-min, $20 max. travel surcharge (depends on time and transportation required).

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Lee Konitz
saxophone, alto
Yusef Lateef
Charles Lloyd
Warne Marsh
saxophone, tenor


Promise of Return

From: Rose Of Lifta
By Lena Bloch

Heart Knows

From: Heart Knows
By Lena Bloch

Three Treasures (Russ Lossing)

From: Heart Knows
By Lena Bloch

Lateef Suite

From: Heart Knows
By Lena Bloch


From: Heart Knows
By Lena Bloch

Marshmallow (Warne Marsh)

From: Feathery
By Lena Bloch


From: Feathery
By Lena Bloch


From: Feathery
By Lena Bloch