A native of St Louis, Dan Block (BM ’79, MM ’80, clarinet) took up the saxophone just short of his 14th birthday, trumpet soon after, and clarinet the following year. An indelible memory was hearing Eubie Blake at the St Louis Ragtime Festival and being exposed to John Coltrane in the same week. Classical music and the great American Songbook standards were constantly being played in his home, and he was influenced by both. While at Juilliard, pursuing a degree in clarinet, Block divided his time between jam sessions in the New York loft scene and orchestral and chamber music duties at school. He was at this time fortunate enough to participate in Charles Mingus’ final recording project, which resulted in Something Like a Bird and Me, Myself an Eye. Playing alongside Charles McPherson, Pepper Adams, and the Breckers was transformative; playing in the Juilliard Orchestra under the baton of such luminaries as Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, and George Solti provided a contrasting perspective. After graduating, Block became a member of Skah Shah, one of the top bands in the Haitian music circuit; he was deeply influenced by the music’s phrasing and unique rhythmical concepts. After exiting the Haitian scene, Block became a member of Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, probably the world’s most authentic ’20s and ’30s repertory band. It was there he found the common denominator between Kompa (Haitian pop music) and traditional jazz. He was a member of guitarist Marty Grosz’s band, recording five CDs, including The Hot Winds with Scott Robinson and Giordano. He has played in the big bands of Maria Schneider, Toshiko Akyoshi, David Berger, and Ken Peplowski, and frequently plays with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He has also worked as a sideman with Tom Harrell, Frank Wess, Jack McDuff, and Richard Wyands. Block has played and recorded with Jerry Dodgion and Harry Allen's saxophone groups. Much of Block’s recording and performing has been with vocalists, among them Bobby Short, Michael Feinstein, Rosemary Clooney, Anne Hampton Calloway, Catherine Russell, and Tony Bennett. He has also worked extensively on Broadway, playing on at least 30 shows, and his clarinet, saxophone, and flute have been heard frequently on TV and radio commercials as well as film scores.