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Sasha's Bloc Earns Raves: "A musical tour de force" - "A reminder of the reason we fell in love with jazz in the first place. It makes you feel nostalgic and free.”
(Published: April 01, 2015)

"The band is a musical tour de force"

"Sasha's Bloc sounded nothing short of amazing as they dazzled the capacity level VIP crowd"

"A vibrant blend of jazz seasoned with dashes of ragtime, blues, swing, Dixieland, and numerous other savory flavors"

"Gershman and his Sasha's Bloc serves as a reminder of the reason we fell in love with jazz in the first place. It makes you feel nostalgic and free."

Jazz Collective, Featuring Guest Vocalists Jane Monheit and Alvin Chea, and Conceived by Bassist Alex Gershman, Earns Rave Reviews for New CD and Live Concerts

Jazz collective Sasha's Bloc has earned the best reviews of their burgeoning career via coverage of their new CD ‘Heart On Fire' and recent LA concerts. The band, conceived by bassist Alex Gershman and featuring guest vocalists Jane Monheit and Alvin Chea, evokes the Big Band Jazz Sound of the 1920s-40s: "Gershman and his Sasha's Bloc serve as a reminder of the reason we fell in love with jazz in the first place. It makes you feel nostalgic and free."

International Review of Music -
Concert review by James DeFrances
Live Music: Sasha's Bloc at Vibrato Grill Jazz
Bel Air, CA. Last Thursday evening at Herb Alpert's Vibrato Jazz Grill...etc. Sasha's Bloc launched their new album - Heart On Fire - with a send off party in style.
Alex Gershman's jazz super group pulled out the stoppers during the second night of festivities for their release party bash. Complete with limousines, red carpet, photographers, a custom interior set design and an all star cast, this was indeed Mr. Gershman's Opus.
To commemorate the Heart on Fire album release, celebrity guest vocalists Jane Monheit, Alvin Chea, Nora Rothman and Tony Galla joined bandleader and bassist Gershman on stage and each performed a short set.
The 8-piece small group which is Sasha's Bloc sounded nothing short of amazing as they dazzled the capacity level VIP crowd. Songs like "Feels Like Jazz" and "Breakfast" were guest favorites, along with the sweet and melodic duet "Black and Blue." Speaking of the songs, they are Gershman originals. And from my perspective, his writing is right up there with some of the classic songsmiths of the first part of the 20th century.
Alexander Gershman is not a jack of all trades; rather he is a master. He wears many hats and wears them all well: physician, surgeon, philanthropist, bandleader, songwriter and bassist to name a few.
My weather forecasts for the days ahead of Sasha's Bloc look bright and sunny with no cloud cover. The band is a musical tour de force and has definitely turned the right heads. Look for Hearts of Fire, currently available on iTunes music, and experience what I and so many others have already concluded: That Alex Gershman and Sasha's Bloc are on a fast track to making musical history.

AXS - Exclusive Video Premiere
3/10/15 by Allen Foster

Sasha's Bloc is the delectable combo that was formed in 2012 by bassist Alexander Gershman. The band focuses on bringing to life the joyful, optimistic finesse that is characteristic of music from the 20s and 30s. The ensemble performs a vibrant blend of jazz seasoned with dashes of ragtime, blues, swing, dixieland, and numerous other savory flavors. Their latest video is a track from the band's hotly anticipated Heart On Fire album (available March 17) entitled "Breakfast," which was recorded live at NRG Studios in Los Angeles, California. The song was written by Gershman and it features the scintillating sizzle of Grammy-nominated vocalist Jane Monheit.
"Breakfast" evokes a wonderful vocal magic reminiscent of The Andrews Sisters backed by the ambient bouquet of a cornucopia of musical delights that one might experience while taking a stroll through New Orleans. The tight brass is charmed by gently meandering flourishes blossoming from a variety of spotlighted instruments including trumpet, sax, and clarinet. The lightly chugging, ever-evolving groove rotates through a phenomenally wide range of subtle jazz hues defined by guitar, banjo, drums, and the understated dazzle of piano. The vocal smile of the incomparable Monheit brings a silken elegance to the eclectic musical jambalaya as she sashays through a mouthwatering description of a fanciful morning paradise.
Originally hailing from Moscow, jazz aficionado Alexander Gershman began playing in bands in high school. His musical pursuits stayed with him all throughout medical school when he played piano, bass and guitars in a variety of musical settings. Eventually, the visionary assembled his own ensemble and proceeded to record Sasha's Bloc's debut album, Melancholy, which was released in early 2013.
Other notable luminaries involved with Sasha's Bloc include Sergei Chipenko on piano (David Sanborn, Richard Elliot, Dave Koz, etc.), AJ (Adam Jackson) on vocals (Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton, David Foster, etc.), Will Wheaton on vocals (Natalie Cole, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, etc.), Peggi Blu on vocals (Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Bob Dylan, etc.), Brandon Fields on saxophone (Earth Wind & Fire, Elton John, B.B. King, etc.), Mr. McChesney on trombone (heard in "Rocky Balboa," "Space Jam," "The Simpsons," "Family Guy," etc.), Kyle Palmer on trumpet (LeAnn Rimes, Bob Dylan, Tony Bennett, etc.), and Kevin Winard on drums (The Captain & Tennille, David Hallyday, Paul Anka, etc.).

JazzWeekly - Concert review
By George Harris

Be it with religion, music or politics, there's nothing like the enthusiasm of a convert, and since Russian-born bassist Alex Gershman discovered the joys of jazz, he's been on a mission to spread the good news through his musical review Sasha's Bloc. If you thought last year's series of concerts was something special, you'd be amazed how the standard got kicked up about two notches, as Gershman gave the packed Catalina's club a double dose of The Rat Pack meeting Vaudeville in a two hour two tapping treat. Unlike some political leaders, Gershman is adept at leading from behind; setting the tone by introducing each song and artist, joining with the versatile and swinging rhythm team of Andy Langham/p, Ray Brinker/dr and James Lum/g-banjo and along with the snappy horn team of Brandon Fields/as, Alex Budman/bar-cl, Rob McChesney/tb and Kye Pallmer, and taking you on a musical journey. The band showed their jazz chops on a swinging take of "Perdido" and Fields swooned like Johnny Hodges on a lyrical original "The Duke."
But the emphasis was on singers tonight, and this evening, he opened with the lovely and coquettish Norah Rothman demurely cooing "Take A Chance" before Gershman changed singers as often as characters in a Russian novel, as Jane Monheit popped up on stage for a seductively punchy "Feels Like Jazz" and velvety "Heart of Fire" that highlighted her tender and seductive vibrato. At the drop of a dime, the full band joined in with Sweet Jane for a roaring 20s "Breakfast" complete with accordion. Then, before the dust settled, Tony Galla turned the joint into The Sahara on The Vegas Strip as the band wailed behind him on "Lonely Day In Paris" and then hit the saloon circuit with Langham with a moaning "Playful Blues." Norah then hopped back on stage for Frank meets Garland swaggering "Anything's Possible."
But, like all great Russian novels, the mood here kept shifting with new characters, as Take 6's Alvin Chea delivered up an agonizing "Black and Blue" with the stunningly passionate Glynis LeFlore. Chea then brought down the house with a couple gospel-inflected love songs such as "Angel" which included the supporting vocals of LeFlore along with Khadia Handon and Princess Fortier adding texture and colors. Just when you thought there was nothing left to add to the occasion, Octavia Pace strolled up stage to go back and forth with Monheit on a "Summertime" that made the livin' easy, with just about everyone coming on stage to close out the set like the end of a first act in a Mozart Opera.  Gershman and his Sasha's Bloc serves as a reminder of the reason we fell in love with jazz in the first place. "it makes you feel nostalgic and free. Jazz is Freedom" It makes sense that someone who came from Russia to experience freedom would remind America of its most important export. The packed house took the message better than any political summit, with better rewards.

JazzWeekly - Album review
By George Harris

I caught this band put together by bassist Alex Gershman about a year ago at Catalina's and this past month, and was impressed by how they mixed jazz and vocals into what appeared like a nightclub theatre act. That was the initial vision of what came to be known as the band Sasha's Bloc; to make jazz be entertaining once again. The core team is a nonet consisting of Gershman with Nora Rothman/voc, Brandon Fields-Alex Budman/reeds, Kye Palmer/tp, Bob McChesney/tb, Kevin Winard/dr, Steve Cotterg and Andy Langham as well as a rotating team of vocalists and instrumentalists on an on call cameo basis.
The songs here are all originals, but they have the feel of mid 30s to early 50s-accessible, swinging and with concise solos that have something to say. There some infectious vocal arrangements by Bob Garad, with the moods ranging from pre-WWII American pop a la Sinatra on "Lonely Day In Paris" to an upbeat Dixie-toned brass n sass ditty "Anything is Possible." Monheit is in her element here, in fact she's never sounded either better or more at home. With her patented delivery that sounds like she's singing the closing song to Act One of a musical, she goes cabaret on "Feels Like Jazz" while an accordion and brass accompany her on a delightful Crescent City influenced "Breakfast." But Monheit is not Monhiet without a dreamy ballad, and "Heart of Fire" has her heart on her sleeve like a diva in "Figaro." Some great jungle sounds give a tribute to Ellington on"Duke" and the band hits the mood just right on the languid "Sunday Blues" as Jane takes everyone home for one last round.
The genius of Gershman is that he doesn't make sounds from the early 20th Century sound nostalgic, but actually forward thinking.

Skope Magazine - Rave CD Review:

Celebrity Café - Five Star CD Review

Music Existence - Rave CD Review
Sasha's Bloc is an international ensemble -- an amalgam of varied artists, nationalities and experiences, aiming to deliver a sound that is consistently big, boisterous, full of spirit and rich in everything that makes jazz linger as an American phenomenon. With a performance style that evokes such seminal acts as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Count Basie, Scott Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald and more, the group has set the stage for a bright future.

Watch the EPK, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch'v=o69AnKFlMgY

Purchase links:  http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Fire-feat-Jane-Monheit/dp/B00SJMI9LI


SomethingElseReviews -
Exclusive Track Premiere
2/9/15, by Nick DeRiso

Sasha's Bloc + Jane Monheit, "Feels Like Jazz" (2015): Exclusive Something Else! Stream

Take a pre-war jazz era-inspired journey with this exclusive advance stream from Heart on Fire, the new album from Sasha's Bloc. This West Coast jazz collective, led by songwriting bassist Alex Gershman, is joined by Grammy-nominated guest vocalist Jane Monheit on the darkly intriguing "Feels Like Jazz."
Sasha's Bloc cites signature early jazz voices like Fats Waller, Scott Joplin and Duke Ellington as key influences, and "Feels Like Jazz" certainly makes good on that - but with a fresh perspective for a new age. You'll hear something that harkens back to the cabaret style of jazz favored in the 1920s and '30s, only with a contemplative twist.
See, rather than becoming absorbed in the era's fabled hedonism, our protagonist approaches her club job as a craft. And in that determination, she finds significance. Jane Monheit handles the lyric with canny aplomb, imbuing the song with unexpected depths of meaning - then letting loose a strong-willed scat.
Heart on Fire, featuring 10 other originals ranging from Dixieland to classical gas written or co-written by the Moscow-born Gershman, is due on March 17, 2015. Bob McChesney collaborated on the Frank Sinatra-inflected "Lonely Day in Paris" and "Sunday Blues." Bob Garad was co-writer on "Black and Blue." Jane Monheit's most recent full-length album was 2013's The Heart of the Matter; she's also worked with Abigail Riccards.

BlogCritics - Four-Star CD Review
1/29/15, By Jack Goodstein
Also ran via Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Heart on Fire, set for release in March, is the second album from Sasha's Bloc, a Los Angeles-based nonet formed in 2012 by Russian-born bassist and songwriter Alex Gershman. Steeped in the traditions of jazz from back in the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s, the band is a collective of musicians from a variety of nationalities and perspectives aiming to reinvigorate interest in the rich musical genres that gave rise to modern jazz stylings. Rather than reworking the classics of the past, the band focuses on capturing the classic vibe in original compositions that evoke their spirit. The 11 tunes on the new album are all written by Gershman, either alone or collaboratively in three cases.
If Gershman and company have done nothing else, they have completely captured the sounds of the past (dixieland, swing). Individual tracks sound like they could well have been recorded 70 years ago and remastered for a reissue. Certainly there is nostalgia here, but it is less drippy sentimentalism than it is joyful celebration.
A gaggle of guest artists join the base nonet on individual tracks, most notably GRAMMY-nominated vocalist Jane Monheit, who delivers stunning vocals on the album's title song, and three others-"Feels Like Jazz," "Breakfast," and "Sunday Blues." Patrick Tuzzolino channels Frank Sinatra on the album's opening number "Lonely Day in Paris," and works with a trio-Princess Fortier, Glynis Leflore, and Octavia Pace-cloning the Andrews Sisters and their ilk, on "Angel." Alvin Chia is joined by the ladies with a different sound on Gershman's "Black and Blue" (not to be confused with the great Louis Armstrong tune).
The ladies close the album with jumping harmonies on "Manhattan." Nonet member Nora Rothman does the vocal on "Take a Chance," a song that includes an instrumental shout-out to "Perdido." The sole instrumental on the album, "The Duke," intended as a tribute to Duke Ellington, doesn't quite manage the Ellington sound, but I doubt that was what was intended.
The musical styles of those early decades is too precious to be mummified. More than mere repetition, they deserve a creative legacy. A band like Sasha's Bloc is that legacy.

The Record-Journal, Meriden, CT -
1/14/15, By Jim Paskinski

Additional Review, here - http://markwebermusicblog.com/tag/heart-on-fire/

With their release of ‘Heart On Fire', jazz collective Sasha's Bloc has solidified their growing presence on the U.S. music scene with an original album that hearkens back to the Big Jazz Band sound of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. The group has built a name for itself in recent years via multiple sold out concerts at the key Jazz Clubs in Los Angeles, including Catalina Bar and Grill, Vibrato and Vitello's.  Citing Fats Waller, Scott Joplin and Duke Ellington as primary examples, Gershman comments, "My hope is that the Sasha's Bloc will help bring these great American cultural achievements to modern life and contemporary audiences."

The group's core nonet is comprised of Nora Rothman, vocal; Brandon Fields, saxophone; Alex Budman, saxophone, clarinet; Kye Palmer, trumpet, Bob McChesney, trombone; Kevin Winnard, drums; Steve Cotter, guitar; Andy Langham, piano. Guest artists on the upcoming album include: Jane Monheit, vocal; Alvin Chea, vocal; Patrick Tuzzolino, vocal; Princess Fortier, vocal; Glynis Leflore vocal; Octavia Pace vocal; James Lum, banjo; Jason Fabus, accordion; Marc T. Bolin, Tuba. Gershman plays upright bass and electric bass.

Each track on the album is an Alex Gershman original, written with the goal of evoking this aforementioned, distinctive era in the evolution of jazz. Gershman collaborated Bob McChesney on songs 1 and 10, and with Bob Garad on song 4. Music arrangements are by Elliot Deitch, with vocal arrangements by Bob Garad. The CD was Produced by Joe Diblasi, with Sound by Mauricio Gurrero, and package Design by Yana Bannikova.

From the band's website:
With a big-band sound that recalls the vibe of New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band infused with the Blues, a hint of Gypsy Jazz, contemporary jazz and swing, Sasha's Bloc have been playing to sold-out shows across Southern California for the past two+ years and have developed a loyal following across the country.
Formed in 2012 by bassist Alexander Gershman who hails from Moscow, Sasha's Bloc is an eclectic mix of musicians focused on the revival of the jazz culture of the 1920's and 30's, combined with the adaptation of modern jazz original compositions.

Visit: http://sashasbloc.com

More Information: http:// http://sashasbloc.com

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