Born: July 16, 1967 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Jazz saxophonist Anton Schwartz has been drawing listeners in with the power, spirit and subtle complexity of his music since he bounded onto the San Francisco jazz scene in 1995. At 27, Anton was answering the call of his long-standing passion for jazz, stepping away from the high-level research in Artificial Intelligence he'd carried out at Harvard and Stanford. Quite a career change. Once in action as a musician, Anton quickly gained an enthusiastic following as music fans responded to what the San Francisco Chronicle recently called his warm, generous tone, impeccably developed solos and infectious performance energy.
In the years since, Anton has won over listeners and critics at high-profile jazz venues across the country, including the Blue Note in New York, Washington D.C.'s Blues Alley and the Monterey Jazz Festival. His frequent appearances at Yoshi's in Oakland draw sellout crowds; one such concert was broadcast nationwide on NPR's JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater in December, 2005. Each of his four CDs has earned sterling reviews and strong airplay, with his most recent Radiant Blue landing Top Five on the national jazz radio charts. While his own writing earns consistently high praise, Anton remains as much at home with the great jazz standards as he is with his own compositions.
What I require for music to really captivate me, Anton says, is groove and intellect working in tandem. Music that gets into your bones, into your head and into your heart. I want to create music that conveys something intriguing— through the rhythm, the structure, the interplay of melody and harmony— and distill that down into something clear and beautiful.
Anton was born in 1967 and raised in New York City. He began playing clarinet at twelve and switched to the saxophone at fourteen. He quickly became enchanted with jazz, and his early development got a jump start when he came under the tutelage of jazz masters Warne Marsh and Eddie Daniels. While in high school, Anton formed a group with future stars Peter Bernstein and Larry Goldings and got a taste of the big time, appearing in concert with both Lionel Hampton and Woody Herman.
In college, however, Anton pursued other passions. He earned a B.A. in Mathematics and Philosophy at Harvard, graduating magna cum laude in 1989. Next came Stanford, where, as a National Science Foundation fellow, Anton performed doctoral research in Artificial Intelligence. But all the while, Anton continued to play music. He held the prestigious first tenor sax chair in the Harvard Jazz Band, after Don Braden and before Joshua Redman. And inevitably, Anton's heart drew him to a full-time jazz career. In '95 he jumped feet first into the San Francisco jazz scene that has remained his home, even as he's traveled the country.
Praise for Anton's performances and recordings has been unceasing. Jazz Improv Magazine called Anton's 2004 Christmas CD, Holiday Time, A superb album, bubbling with a combination of imaginative and sweet sounding playing—enjoyable year round. Of his 2000 release, The Slow Lane, Billboard Magazine wrote, Schwartz savors the implications of each note, allowing the listener to delight in the endless melodies created by his stirring improvisations. 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 improvis ations, and superb taste in musical collaborators.
Perhaps famed saxophonist Illinois Jacquet put things most succinctly when he told Anton, You play the tenor sax like it's meant to be played.
A well-rounded professional, Anton is also in great demand as a teacher. He's a faculty member of the Stanford Jazz Workshop and The Jazzschool, where he has designed courses ranging from The Physics of Musical Sound to Improvising Eighth Note Lines. He is also a clinician at the Brubeck Institute.
It's especially gratifying to me to see so many people reacting so wholeheartedly to my music. Indeed, longtime jazz aficionados and newcomers alike rave about his performances. That ability to capture hearts and minds at all ends of the jazz spectrum has made Anton a force to be reckoned with in the world of modern jazz, now and for years to come.
MORE INFORMATION. A full digital media kit, including high-resolution photo images and review reprints, is available at www.antonjazz.com/pr.
Anton Schwartz's recordings as a leader:
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Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
"Anton is an exceptional player and inspirational teacher, not to mention a lot of fun! He is organized and prepared, and so well versed in so many aspects of jazz performance and education... What more could a student want in a teacher?!"
— Susan Muscarella, Director, The Jazzschool
"Anton is a superb teacher. He listens to my playing and singles out specific areas for me to focus on, which has improved my improvisation dramatically. He is engaging & enthusiastic..."
— Terrigal Burn, pianist
"I've really enjoyed your approach in the weekly workout sessions. Your teaching style strikes me as a rare combination of clarity, curiosity, creativity, and practicality."
— Michael Gold, saxophonist
Anton enjoys sharing his love of the music and the craft of jazz with aspiring musicians, both recreational and professional. He is a faculty member of the Jazzschool and the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and a clinician for the Brubeck Institute. He also teaches privately out of his own studio.
(To learn about Anton's credentials as a musician, visit here.)
Private Lessons Anton teaches lessons out of his studios in SEATTLE, Washington and OAKLAND, California. He works with intermediate and advanced students of diverse instruments who have an interest in some or all of the following:
- • composing & improvizing melodies
- • understanding jazz music theory and putting it to use
- • expressing emotions powerfully through music
- • playing by ear
- • fluency in the many idioms of jazz, plus funk & blues
- • [for saxophonists:] saxophone technique, including sound production, articulation, altissimo, inflections & effects.
- • the physics of musical sound
- • efficient practice methods for a busy lifestyle
Anton particularly loves working with musicians who have studied scales and chords but are frustrated in their efforts to use those devices to make great solos.
Lessons are normally 75 minutes long and cost $90.
Anton Schwartz offers open-ended question-and-answer style masterclasses, and has designed and taught dozens of highly successful, focused workshops on a wide range of topics. He is highly organized, but often does not refer to any notes while lecturing. He enjoys fielding questions and demonstrating concepts on the piano and saxophone. [List of Anton Schwartz's Clinic offerings]