The 28th Annual Summer Showcase Concert, which featured the best new big band and jazz orchestra compositions created during the past year in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, culminated in a win for saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer Dan Block, who was named the winner of the BMI Foundation’s 17th annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize. Block’s piece, “Madrigal,” was chosen as the winning work by a distinguished judging panel that included GRAMMY-winning musician Wynton Marsalis*, jazz legend Jimmy Heath, and leading trombonist/composer Alan Ferber. The prestigious award, which honors the memory of jazz icon Charlie Parker, includes the $3,000 Manny Albam commission, named in honor of the workshop’s late founder and longtime musical director, to write a new work for premiere at next year’s showcase concert. Last year’s prize winner, Miho Hazama, premiered her new work, “Infinite Factors,” during this year’s event, which was held at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church in NYC on June 22. In addition to Block’s win, jazz pianists/composers Helen Sung and Steven Feifke were named runners-up in the competition.
With a dual reputation in the jazz world, Dan Block is a mainstream player, yet is known as a specialist in traditional jazz. Fitting in with in a host of musical genres on a variety of instruments, he has worked as a sideman with Toshiko Akioshi, Frank Wess, Richard Wyands, Wynton Marsalis (Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra) Harry Allen, Jerry Dodgion, and Howard Alden. In the more traditional jazz vein, Block has also worked frequently with Vince Giordano, Marty Grosz, and Judy Carmichael. In addition, quite a bit of his work has been with singers, working and recording with Michael Feinstein, Natalie Cole, Anne Hampton Calloway, Bobby Short, Linda Ronstadt, and Rosemary Clooney. A regular on the Jazz Party circuit, Block performs every year at Chautauqua, the past three years at Norwich, as well as the Atlanta, Wilmington, Elkhart, and San Diego festivals. His distinct sound has also been heard in a number of motion pictures including The Aviator, The Good Shepherd and Revolutionary Road, as well as the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. He has also played on countless radio and television commercials and recorded numerous projects for Arbors Records, Concord and Music Minus One. His latest albums Almost Modern and From His World to Mine received excellent reviews internationally.
Congratulations to all on another memorable evening of jazz!
*Not affiliated with BMI