Sandy Block

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As Sandy Block, this bassist's name sounds like something that might be lying around in a workshop, or a description of the neighborhood near a beach. He also has been credited frequently as Sid Block…
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As Sandy Block, this bassist's name sounds like something that might be lying around in a workshop, or a description of the neighborhood near a beach. He also has been credited frequently as Sid Block in a performance and recording career that began in the prosperous big band jazz days of the '30s and '40s and continued through the '50s and '60s folkie scene. He began studying violin as a boy, his family having moved from Cleveland to Brooklyn. By high school he had worked his way down to bass and in the late '30s began working in various large groups under the leadership of Van Alexander, Alvino Rey and Tommy Dorsey, among others. The latter leader provides some of the larger pillars in a discography that also includes potentially architectural accumulations of sides by Louis Armstrong and a somewhat smaller collection of appearances backing Ella Fitzgerald. Notable bebop trivia: Block was the bassist who backed Charlie Parker's only appearance on television.

Block's survival strategy during the rock and roll era was two-pronged. He stayed loyal to the spirit of classic jazz, playing with vigor and no lack of sentimentality in combos led by Jimmy McPartland, for example. He also did more than just poke his nose into recording studios, making himself available as bassist for folk groups such as the Greenbriar Boys. One of the simplest and best recordings featuring this bassist is Piano Solos, a collaboration with pianist Johnny Costa, the same man who provided keyboard music on the Mr. Rogers kiddie show for many years. Block seems to have left the fulltime music neighborhood in the late '60s.