Bio/Photo Gallery

Born and raised in St. Louis, Rosalinde Block was classically trained for a career as a concert pianist. Alas, her mother’s dreams flew out the window the minute Rosalinde was old enough to turn on a radio.

KATZ and KXLW, the two AM soul stations in the St. Louis area, were the source of great R&B throughout the week, Cajun and Zydeco on Saturday night, and of course, gospel all day Sunday. St. Louis being one of the gospel hubs of the U.S., Rosalinde and her father would take Sunday drives through the inner city neighborhoods where they could hear music pouring from the many storefront churches. Those memories have since transformed themselves into some of Rosalinde’s most edifying musical moments. Years later she would perform her songs in many of the wonderful gospel churches in the New York area. There she has felt that same bliss—up close and personal.

As a tween, Rosalinde worked in the shipping department at a local record store. Perks from that job included free admission to the “Motortown” Revues at Kiel Auditorium, where she would ultimately work her way backstage to hang out with Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, the Marvelettes and many more of the great Motown artists. During the ‘60s, wonderful music could be heard on a shoe string.

Sometimes the neighborhood movie theatre would bring in live acts; Rosalinde heard James Brown, The Impressions and The Isley Brothers sharing a bill for $2.50. For her 13th birthday, her dad took her to Chicago’s Old Town to hear Marvin Gaye perform at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go. Being the only kid in the audience and visibly the only fan singing along, Marvin shared the mike with Rosalinde and invited her to his dressing room to hang out. Those memories live in a framed autographed napkin which proudly hangs next to Rosalinde’s piano.

Other music that would have a major influence on her songs came from the strong vocal groups—most notably the Beach Boys—the ultimate harmonizers—from where she learned not to ooh and ahh, but rather to “unhh.” These are the musical roots that would shape her career as a songwriter.

Four years at Sarah Lawrence College opened Rosalinde up to a whole new world of music, as she immersed herself in Traffic, Santana and the Grateful Dead. She jokingly signed her autograph as Carole King or Laura Nyro—depending upon how she was wearing her hair that day; as it was, everybody was comparing her to the reigning singer/songwriters. However, her own songwriting took a quantum leap when she eared into Steely Dan. She never wrote a straight chord again.

Rosalinde moved to NYC in 1974. In a matter of weeks, she was picked up by Columbia Records and was recording her demos at the original CBS Studios on 52nd Street with such session greats as Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and Richard Tee. She thought she had hit pay dirt and had no idea that there would be almost 40 years of career-hustling ahead of her.

The early ‘70s found her peddling songs up and down Sixth Avenue and showcasing them in venerated NYC clubs such as The Bottom Line, The Bitter End, The Village Gate and Tramps. She was riding on the caboose of the Brill Building era—when a writer could still walk into an office, sit down at the piano and try out new songs. She spent hours pounding out tunes for Don Kirshner as well as placing material with Warner/Chappell, MCA, Motown-Jobete, CBS/Sony and RCA. Rosalinde also did a lot of jingle work. It was through those sessions that she was recommended to Al Kooper as a back-up singer—her first US tour. Rosalinde later stumbled into the doo-wop revival tour scene playing keyboards for The Impalas of “Sorry, I Ran All The Way Home” fame. The Impalas shared the bill with Tito Puente. It didn’t get better than that.

As the ‘80s brought the advent of the home studio, Rosalinde set herself up with a wall of synthesizers and recorded scores of demos. During this time she also produced and arranged for other artists. She was still performing, however the tides were turning in the industry—genres were changing, and things got a bit rudderless. By the ‘90s, Rosalinde was a mother. Periodically she put bands together for various events and engagements, however her career went somewhat on the back burner as she raised her son as a single parent well into the 2000s. It was at this time that she switched gears and began teaching. Yet continually looking for musical inroads that wouldn’t take her far from her responsibilities at home, she joined the BMI-Lehman Engel Music Theater Workshop. In 2005-2006 she wrote music and lyrics for an off-Broadway show. Songs from that project are now being developed for a film musical. From 2008 through 2011 Rosalinde totally switched gears, singing in the Creflo Dollar World Changers gospel choir. Since then she has been re-working her material. Summer 2012 she created a music video, working with a fresh young rapper.

Over these almost-40 years, not only has Rosalinde worked in clubs, concert halls, and cabarets, but she has also performed on cruise ships and played more piano bars than she would care to count. Her vast repertoire of standards has also been well utilized as she has performed for audiences in hospitals and nursing homes. As a crossover artist, Rosalinde found niches in New York jazz clubs as well as the Jazz Vespers series at St. Peter’s Citicorp Center. She has performed in “Women in Jazz” festivals, the New York Daily News Summer Concert series and “First Night.” On the inspirational end, bringing her songs into local gospel churches with some of the finest choirs in the NY community has been among the high points of her career.

The multi-talented Rosalinde is also an author as well as a commissioned artist/muralist. She has written and illustrated many children’s books and is presently working on a volume of memoir essays.

As a teacher, Rosalinde ran arts/music programs at several inner-city schools. She participated in the Mentors and Protégés program under the auspices of the New York Philharmonic/ Barnes & Noble Young Composer Series; there she drew from her classical training, helping kids create their own compositions. She also created an art program for Phoenix House, where she has volunteered weekly for many years. Rosalinde continues to teach art and piano privately.

The Rosalinde Block Party” is the name she gives to her ever-evolving sound— a lively blend of r&b/pop/jazz and gospel. Bringing in a steady stream of stellar talent to help record and perform her songs, Rosalinde’s music will always remain the seat of her soul.