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Short Bio

About Zach Brock

Heralded as “the pre-eminent improvising violinist of his generation,” Zach Brock is a violinist and composer whose music draws on the traditions of jazz, classical, world, and popular music. Zach received a Grammy Award in 2017 for his work on Snarky Puppy’s album Culcha Vulcha and Downbeat Magazine named him the 'Rising star Violinist' of 2013.

 His acclaim as a bandleader has grown through appearances at venues such as Carnegie Hall and festivals like “Tudo é Jazz” in Brazil, while his reputation as a sideman has spread through his work with legendary bassist Stanley Clarke, contemporary instrumental super-group Snarky Puppy, and jazz masters Phil Markowitz and Wycliffe Gordon.

Zach has made ten recordings as a leader or co-leader and is the first violinist to record for the venerable Dutch jazz label Criss Cross. Zach has also represented the U.S. Department of State as a Musical Ambassador in the Solomon Islands, has performed as a featured soloist for two Sundance Festival feature film scores, and is currently an “Artist In Residence” at Temple University in Philadelphia.

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Press & Quotes

Stanley Clarke, The Blue Note, NYC
“I called the great French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and I said ‘So, who’s the new cat? Who’s got the stuff? And he said Zach Brock.”

 

Phil Markowitz, Pianist/Composer
“He’s studied the whole lexicon of jazz and classical music and he encompasses it all… He smashes all the previous conceptions of jazz violin.”

Patricia Barber, MacArthur Grant Recipient and Blue Note recording artist
“Zach proves himself as composer, improviser and producer. With a fiercely charismatic presence onstage, Zach is the one on whom to place your bets in jazz. ”

Downbeat Magazine, March 2015
“**** The debut recording by the Phil Markowitz/Zach Brock Quartet satisfies with it’s unclassifiable variety and spot-on playing… this band’s taste is fairly impeccable.”

All About Jazz, January 2015
“**** Brock, a relative newcomer who’s gained a good deal of attention for a pair of leader dates on the Criss Cross imprint, stands tall as one of the notable post-millennial voices in jazz violin… Brock marries the bold with the mannered, bringing a stinging brilliance to the fore during the fiery material and dialing it back a few notches in mellower environs.”

Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
“Violinists always have been marginalized in jazz, notwithstanding the silken beauty of Stephane Grappelli’s work and the historic contributions of Joe Venuti, Eddie South, Ray Nance and others. For this reason, and others, we should give thanks for the deepening contributions of Brock, whose every phrase argues for the instrument’s value in 21st century jazz. Though Brock commands plenty of technique and a vibrantly attractive sound, it’s the substance of his musical ideas that commands the most attention. You can hear as much on every track of “Almost Never Was,” from the sprightly pizzicato passages of his “Common Ground” to the atmospheric effects of Joe Henderson’s “Black Narcissus,” from the soulful utterances of “You’ve Changed” (you’d swear he was playing a viola) to the gorgeous melody line of the title track, a Brock original. The violinist partners effectively with pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland, but it’s Brock’s soaring lyricism that defines this recording.”

Neil Tesser, Chicago Jazz Music Examiner
“There are good reasons the violin plays so large a role in so many of the world’s musical traditions, starting with the vocality of its timbre and the humanness of its inflection, and ranging from its transcendent held notes to the prick of its pizzicato. Many jazz violinists have mastered some of these capabilities, but only a handful have shown a command of them all – let alone the ability to swing convincingly on the instrument. Brock has all that, and more: his solos have direction and spirit, and they open a window to an ordered but creative musical intelligence.

A few other violinists can match Brock’s technique, and in recent years, some of them have attained significant accolades for their improvising – including a couple who can’t solo their way out of a paper bag. Accept no substitutions: Zach Brock is the pre-eminent improvising violinist of his generation.”

Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times
Violinist-composer Zach Brock reveals traces of his main influence, Jean-Luc Ponty, on this daring acoustic trio project featuring Matt Wigton on upright bass and Frederick Kennedy on drums… Brock acquits himself with audacious ingenuity and masterful command of his instrument.”

Michael Jackson, Chicago Sun-Times
“During “Amadeus Had A Dream,” stage lights were dimmed leaving the orchestra members in silhouette and the audience slack-jawed at the marvel of Brock’s Paganini-level mastery.”

Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times
“Add Brock to the small list of players finding ways to bridge the potentially hazardous chasm between the violin and jazz. Recently awarded a Carnegie Hall residency, Brock is an intriguing young artist with a bright future.”

Tad Hendrickson, College Music Journal
“…it all eventually comes back to Brock’s violin – pulling lilting emotions, making the strings pop, and generally giving it his all, the young violinist won’t strictly be a Chicago treasure for long.”

Budd Kopman, All About Jazz
“‘Live At The Jazz Factory’ will make a believer of those holding even the slightest prejudice against the violin that Brock is, indeed, a musician first and a violinist second, and that the Coffee Achievers can take down the house. “

Mary Ellen Hutton , Music in Cincinnati
“Violinist Zach Brock is a musician of prodigious ability and keen artistic insight…You might call him the Joshua Bell of the jazz violin. “

Jeffrey Lee Puckett, The Louisville Courier-Journal
“Violinist Zach Brock is starting to turn heads in the world of jazz, building a reputation as a consummate technician willing to take chances without abandoning musicality…classic American jazz with one eye on the fringes.”

Dick Crockett, “Still Another Jazz Show,” 88.7FM
“Brock’s electric violin work is soaring-intense-remarkable…Jean-Luc Ponty meets Chuck Palahniuk in “Fight Club.” Chemistry is good enough for the long haul, one of many inclusions in a brightening career. ”

bruceandgerri, Create Tucker (Nov 23, 2010)
“Several weeks ago at the Purple Fiddle we heard a fantastic group, Zach Brock and the Magic Number. For the first half of the show we were amazed at the virtuosity, originality, and energy of their jazz. For the second half of the show we watched and listened differently to all of the musicians—Zach on violin, Fred on drums, and Matt on bass. It wasn’t their virtuosity but their musical conversation that engaged us. Not only did they play their instruments as if they were talking to each other, they listened and took ideas from each other. It was obvious that all three of the musicians not only loved their instrument, in a sense they lived it. Player and instrument were one, and each one of them needed the other. And even though we weren’t playing, we were engaged in their conversation; we were living what they were living.”

 

Stage Plots

 Zach Brock Guitar Quartet Stage Plot

Zach Brock Guitar Quartet Stage Plot

 Zach Brock Piano Quartet Stage Plot

Zach Brock Piano Quartet Stage Plot