In Anton Schwartz’s bio, a key quote explains the saxophonist’s unique musical perspective: “What I require for music to really captivate me is groove and intellect working in tandem. Music that gets into your bones, into your head and into your heart.”
The head and the heart – an interesting, yet apt, interplay that only a musician, and scientist of Schwartz’s pedigree could possess. Much like Winter Fest 2013 artist Vijay Iyer, Schwartz seemed destined for a life in the sciences until his musical soul forced him elsewhere.
Anton’s first CD, When Music Calls (1998), inspired the San Francisco Bay Guardian to report, “Anton Schwartz has everything you want to hear in a modern jazz saxophonist–an appealing, consistent tone, an abundance of ideas fueling both his compositions and his improvisations, and superb taste in musical collaborators.” More recently, he even performed an entire concert of solo saxophone for the 2013 San Francisco Jazz Festival.
“It’s such a fun challenge to get inside another musician’s head, figure out how they understand things, and help build them a ladder that will take them to where they want to go,” Schwartz relayed to Jazz Corner. “Each time I make an album, the writing and the execution get more and more fun for me, as the process of creating and realizing a vision becomes more and more fluid. It’s been a heck of a journey, refining my musical craft over the years – and amazingly rewarding. To be able to help others along their journey too is doubly gratifying.”
Schwartz’s Winter Fest 2014 pairs well with the release of his most recent effort, Flash Mob, which came out on January 28. The album, which features such emerging jazz greats as Taylor Eigsti, Dominick Farinacci, and stalwart band member John Shifflett, has been receiving much critical praise. All About Jazz raved that, “Schwartz and his band are in full stride on this persuasive release, teeming with multicolored mosaics, vigorous soloing spots and strong compositions, radiating in a modern jazz delight that offers residual enjoyment on successive listens.”
In a jazz review for About.com, Michael Verity wrote that “There’s no shortage [of] energy on this record . . . Though this record definitely owes its roots to post-bop, there are a world of other influences to be found here. Future superstar Taylor Eigsti is especially strong, though everyone, Schwartz included, is blowing hard.”
The Anton Schwartz Quintet performs at San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2014 Saturday March 1 at 3pm. Additionally, Taylor Eigsti will be participating in a talk-back inside Hotel De Anza’s Hedley Club at 12pm that same day. For more info on Schwartz and new album, Flash Mob, follow Anton on Twitter, like him on Facebook, or visit antonjazz.com.