Oral Histories

Interview of Rene Bloch

Jazz saxophone player.
Central Avenue Sounds: René Bloch
Central Avenue Sounds Oral History Project
African American History
Biographical Note:
Jazz saxophone player.
Isoardi, Steven L.
Bloch, Rene
Persons Present:
Bloch and Isoardi.
Place Conducted:
Bloch's home in Victorville, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview is located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Steven L. Isoardi, UCLA Oral History Program; B.A., Government, University of San Francisco; M.A., Government, University of San Francisco; M.A., Political Science, UCLA; Ph.D., Political Science, UCLA.Isoardi prepared for the interview by consulting jazz histories, autobiographies, oral histories, relevant jazz periodicals, documentary films, and back issues of the California Eagle and the Los Angeles Sentinel.
Processing of Interview:
Rebecca Stone, oral history assistant, edited the interview. She checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Whenever possible, the proper names of nightclubs were checked against the articles and advertisements in back issues of the California Eagle. Words and phrases by the editor have been bracketed.Block reviewed the transcript. He verified proper names and made minor corrections and additions. Alex Cline, editor, prepared the table of contents, biographical summary, and interview history.Jennifer E. Levine, editorial assistant, assembled the biographical summary and interview history.Derek DeNardo, editorial assistant, compiled the index.
3.75 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
Interviews in this series preserve the spoken memories of individuals, mainly musicians, who were raised near and/or performed on Los Angeles's Central Avenue from the late 1920s to the mid-1950s.
Attends Jefferson High School; takes saxophone lessons from Merle Johnston; joins Johnny Otis's band at the Club Alabam on Central Avenue; jazz musicians who attended Jefferson High; clubs on Central Avenue during the forties; Bardu Ali; recording Johnny Otis's historic version of "Harlem Nocturne"; tours the world with Perez Prado's band; playing in Alma Hightower's swing band; Samuel Browne; Charlie Parker; experiences with Charlie Barnet's and Harry James's bands; playing Latin jazz; becomes assistant to the president of Local 47 of the American Federation of Musicians; corruption in the union; finding a spiritual identity with a messianic Jewish congregation; becomes the rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom, a messianic congregation in Highland, California; plays with Gerald Wilson and Eric Dolphy; the advent of rock music limits employment opportunities for jazz musicians; the significance of Central Avenue and Samuel Browne in Bloch's life.