Joe Block is a pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader. He began playing classical piano at the age of two before switching to jazz in middle school. While growing up in Philadelphia, a city with a rich jazz and musical tradition, he was fortunate to learn and study from older musicians on the scene and in jazz education programs at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, the Kimmel Center, and Temple University. Joe currently resides in New York City where he attends both the Juilliard School (MM ‘22) and Columbia University (BA ‘21) as part of their highly selective and vigorous dual-degree exchange program. His has studied with Geoff Keezer, Marc Cary, Ted Rosenthal, Bruce Barth, and Frank Kimbrough.
Joe has had the opportunity to work and play with many esteemed musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Leslie Odom, Jr. Ari Hoenig, Eric Alexander, Seamus Blake, Jaleel Shaw, Hannibal Lokumbe, Justin Faulkner, and The Captain Black Big Band. As a bandleader and sideman in New York and Philadelphia he has performed at numerous venues including Dizzy’s, The Django, Birdland, Smalls Jazz Club, Smoke Jazz Club, Bar Next Door, Symphony Space, Alice Tully Hall, Shapeshifter Lab, Cafe Bohemia, Chris’ Jazz Café, South Jazz Parlor, @exuberance, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia Clef Club, Hilbert Circle Theatre (Indianapolis) and the Black Cat (San Francisco). He has also performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Belize Jazz Festival, Montclair Jazz Festival, Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, Next Generation Jazz Festival, and Telluride Jazz Festival. He leads his own quintet and trio, and is the co-leader and founder of the Philadelphia Ambassador Big Band.
In addition to being an instrumentalist, Joe is an avid and experienced composer and arranger (ASCAP). Hailed by Jazz at Lincoln Center as one of “jazz’s most promising young composers”, he has been commissioned to write or arrange music for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (2019, 2020), the Philadelphia Ambassador Big Band, the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, the Wynton Marsalis Septet, and the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, for which he arranged part of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” in 2018.