Sasha’s Bloc is a bit of an odd name for a jazz band, but if you ignore the name and listen to their music, you’ll appreciate them no matter what the name. Their second full-length album, Heart on Fire, is the kind of jazz album that’s accessible to the mainstream majority of music fans. In other words, it’s not too avant-garde– aka “weird.” No sir. Sasha’s Bloc is pleasant jazz-pop with a New Orleans bounce to several tracks like “Angel.”
Sasha’s Bloc, comprised of several musicians, features jazz darling Jane Monheit’s vocals on four tracks, including “Feels Like Jazz” (with some nice scattin’) and the title track– “Heart on Fire.”
Lead by top-notch band leader Alex Gershman, Sasha’s Bloc has built up quite a name for themselves in and around Los Angeles in recent years. I like how the group features multiple vocalists on their songs, so you get a nice mix of male and female vocals and beautiful harmonies at just the right times.
Sasha’s Bloc also has a fine horn section, with Brandon Fields on sax, Mr. McChesney on trombone, and Kyle Palmer on trumpet. Kevin Winard’s drumming is on-point for the overall feel of this at times gentle/at times boisterous album.
If you like the music from “back in the day” when Count Basie, Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington were making their mark in the music world, I think you’ll appreciate Sasha’s Bloc. They take the feeling of the “old times” and update that feeling for today’s modern world, with lively arrangements, masterful musicianship, and vivid vocals. The whole album is enjoyably listenable throughout–a rarity in today’s hit single obsessed world, you know? –Mark Weber Music Blog