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Originally from Moscow, Russia, Lena Bloch immigrated to Israel in 1990, to attend Rubin Academy of Music and Dance – and since then traveled the world, performing in various settings in Israel, Holland, Italy, Germany, Belgium, England, Canada, Russia, Slovenia and United States. In 1994 Lena received a full scholarship for Jazz In July workshop, to study with Yusef Lateef and Billy Taylor, and won the “Outstanding Performance Award”. Lena acquired her Artist Diploma cum laude from Cologne Conservatory, Germany, in 1999. There she studied with great American jazz artists Keith Copeland and John Marshall. In 1999 Lena was granted a full scholarship to attend Jazz Workshop in Banff, Canada, where she studied with Joe Lovano, Kenny Werner and Dave Holland. In 2001 Lena met her most important teacher, Lee Konitz, who she studied with until recently. Lee introduced Lena to the music of Lennie Tristano’s school, especially Warne Marsh. Lena received her Master’s of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Composition from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2006, where she was studying 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. Since 1993 Lena has been leading her own quartet and trio, writing music and arranging. With her unique cultural background, Lena is working towards a unique style, her musical influences in jazz ranging from European Classical tradition to Middle Eastern and Turkish music. Lena became interested in Arabic, Persian and Turkish music in Germany, where she met many immigrant musicians and played in the legendary “Embryo” band, who she toured the Italy with. In her own compositions, Lena incorporates Middle-Eastern and Eastern European elements into jazz idiom, achieving a unique sound. She is also an inventive improviser and a refreshing performer of standard jazz material. In Europe Lena has met and performed with fabulous jazz musicians and masters, such as Mal Waldron, Johnny Griffin, Horace Parlan, Keith Copeland, John Marshall, Alvin Queen. She met the legendary jazz percussionist Steve Reid and recorded a CD with him, “Steve Reid Live In Europe”. After she moved to United States, Lena worked with Vishnu Wood, Arturo O’Farrill, George Schuller, Billy Mintz, Dave Shapiro, Roberta Piket, Scott Wendholt, Dan Tepfer, Jeremy Stratton, Chris Higgins, Bill Wurtzel, Kim Clarke, Bertha Hope, Ted Brown, Jimmy Wormworth, Taro Okamoto, Shinnosuke Takahashi and other wonderful musicians. Lee Konitz invited Lena to sit in with his quintet at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in the summer of 2008, with the band which included Dan Tepfer, Peter Bernstein, Ray Drummond and Matt Wilson. In 2009 Lena recorded some CD material with Vadim Neselovskyi on piano and George Kaye on bass. Lena has performed in various venues in NY, such as Birdland, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Smalls Jazz Club, St.Peter Church Jazz Ministry, St.Marks Church, Sofia’s, Fat Cat, Puppets, 5C, The Old Stone House Brooklyn and others. As a member of other bands, Lena Bloch has played with “Ambassadors of Light” (Vermont), Vermont Jazz Center Big Band, Vishnu Wood Safari East, Kim Clarke’s Inner Circle, Bill Wurtzel Trio, Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz Orchestra and most recently as a guest artist with Brad Linde Ensemble, Lester Young Birthday Tribute and Jimmy Giuffre – Gerry Mulligan projects. Festivals: Red Sea Jazz Festival – Eilat, Israel 1990 Leipziger Jazz Newcomers Competition, winner – Lepzig, Germany 2000 Leverkusener Jazz Tage – Leverkusen, Germany, 2001 Ingolstadter Jazz Tage – Ingolstadt, Germany, 2001 Jazz Lent Maribor (with Alvin Queen) – Slovenia 2002 Voronezh Jazz Festival – Russia 2002 Women In Jazz Festival – Amherst MA USA 2004 Lady Got Chops Festival – New York City NY USA, 2010 and 2011, Temple Of The Arts Jazz Festival – 2011, 2012, 2013, Washington Women in Jazz Festival (soloist with Brad Linde Ensemble).
Lena’s debut album “Feathery” (2014, Thirteenth Note Records) 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).
Lena currently is leading her quartet with Russ Lossing (piano), Cameron Brown (bass) and Billy Mintz (drums).
Lena is also a creative and inventive educator, successfully teaching woodwinds and jazz improvisation to all ages and levels since 1990, currently a faculty member at Slope Music (Brooklyn).