Theatre on San Pedro Square Tickets: $25 advance, $27 door
Tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz has crafted a fine career as a passionate but poised improviser and smart purveyor of well-crafted songs. From the beginning of his career, he has demonstrated a bracing combination of emotional immediacy and abstract intellect, which might stem from his background in mathematics.
Born in New York City and raised in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen (his father was the legendary media theorist and sound archivist Tony Schwartz), Schwartz caught the jazz bug early. His deep love of music was shaped by his teenage studies with the brilliant but oft-overlooked tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, to whom Schwartz dedicated his 1998 debut CD, When Music Calls. Music took a backseat while he studied math and philosophy at Harvard University, though he found time to play in the school’s jazz band, holding down the first tenor saxophone chair after tenorman Don Braden, in a section that included future jazz star Joshua Redman. Schwartz moved to the Bay Area in the 1989 and had nearly completed a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence at Stanford when he decided to forgo the degree and devote himself to music full time.
With his new album, Flash Mob, Schwartz reveals a feistier side that fits his brawny tone to a tee. It’s not that Schwartz’s fifth album for his Antonjazz label substitutes muscle for wit. Presenting a diverse program of original tunes, he’s joined by a superlative cast of cohorts, including Grammy® Award-nominated pianist Taylor Eigsti, rising Bay Area drum star Lorca Hart, and the imperturbably grooving South Bay bassist John Shifflett (who has anchored just about all of Schwartz’s recordings). As usual, Schwartz creates unabashedly appealing music that bristles with intriguing ideas, unbridled energy, and unexpected rhythmic juxtapositions.
Schwartz maintains a strong presence in both Seattle and the Bay Area, mentoring jazz ensembles and private students in both places.
This performance is supported by a generous gift from Jan DeCarli.
Personnel Anton Schwartz, sax Tatum Greenblatt, trumpet John Shifflett, bass Lorca Hart, drums Taylor Eigsti, piano