Les Block is a native New Yorker who, prior to moving to the Twin Cities, was a pianist and bandleader at New York nightclubs and ballrooms. Since moving to the Twin Cities, he has had extended piano engagements at Charlie’s Café, La Tortue, Ellington’s, Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, Marriott City Center, and various other local venues.
In the mid 1980s, Les formed Les Block and Company, with the goal of keeping the songs of the Golden Age of American popular song alive in the Twin Cities. He directed and produced a series of musical shows dedicated to famous American popular songwriters including George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, and Harry Warren. In this vein, he produced hundredth birthday tributes to Irving Berlin and Cole Porter at Orchestra Hall and produced and directed “Women of Note,” the first show in the country dedicated exclusively to the songs of American women songwriters. His most recent production was “From the Shtetl to Broadway: The Influence of Jewish Music on American Popular Song.”
In a 2010 centennial radio tribute to songwriter Johnny Mercer that Les co-produced, he interviewed such well known celebrities connected to Mercer as Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Barry Manilow, Nancy Wilson, Andy Williams, Margaret Whiting, Dave Frishberg, and Kay Starr. The show can be heard via internet radio here .