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Take Five With Lena Bloch

Lena Bloch By

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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 Dan Tepfer, Roberta Piket, George Schuller, Frank Carlberg, Putter Smith, Mark Ferber, Sumi Tonooka, Kim Clarke, Vladimir Shafranov as well as several musicians associated with the Lennie Tristano school like Ted Brown, Connie Crothers, Joe Solomon, and Bob Arthurs. Bloch has also gained significant recognition in Europe and has perfomed with musicians like the Embryo band, Keith Copeland, Alvin Queen, and Steve Reid

Instrument(s):
Saxophone, flute, and clarinet.

Teachers and/or influences?
Lester Young, Yusef Lateef, Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, and Clifford Jordan.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I started writing my own songs and singing them for people.

Your sound and approach to music:
In these immortal Italo Calvino's words: "Lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, multiplicity, consistency" from Six Memos for the Next Millennium.

Your teaching approach:
Flexibility, playfulness, encouragement, optimism, positive thinking, relaxation.

Your dream band:
The ideal band is where musicians are completely unpredictable, yet with total trust, self-abandonment and listening intensely. This depends on the situation as much as on individual personalities.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
"If you are imitating someone, it is not anyone I know..."—from the audience.

Favorite venue:
The Drawing Room Brooklyn.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
The next one; I care so much about it.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
My parents had them all.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Blending with other band members.

Did you know...
I apply geometry to music teaching and have created a mobile cycle of fifths with a pattern drawing device.

CDs you are listening to now:
Joe Diorio, Stateside (Dioro Jazz, 2001);
Lee Konitz , Inside Hi- Fi (Koch, 1989);
Warne Marsh, Two Days In The Life Of... (Storyville, 1994);
Anything I can find from Hans Werner Henze.

Desert Island picks:
No CD player.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Evolving.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Change public opinion that music is entertainment and only popular is valuable. Promote jazz artists' lives, names, appearances, projects, and inter- stylistic connections.

What is in the near future?
Performing in March and April with my favorite musicians: Billy Mintz, Dave Miller, Cameron Brown, Putter Smith, Russ Lossing, Frank Carlberg. I'm thinking of doing a project on Brodsky's poetry and a Clifford Jordan tribute.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?
That people won't show up and we will play for an empty space.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
Oh, maybe none.

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?
A song of the day; it's always different. It has recently been "Why Try To Change Me Now."

By Day:
I teach 5 days a week.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
I wouldn't be here at all. Jazz saved my life.


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