Primary Instrument: Organ, Hammond B3
Radam Schwartz was born and raised in the New York City area. In high school he played saxophone and keyboards in pop and soul bands. After high school he became interested in jazz and made piano his main instrument. He attended Long Island University in Brooklyn for a year and started attending jam sessions in Brooklyn. Later he went to Boston to study at Berklee School of Music on a summer scholarship,and after two semesters, stopped attending working in a restaurant,and selling papers on the street, and practicing piano. Finally Radam got a few gigs, rock and jazz including a brief stint in Charlie Mariano's fusion band.
After 3 years he moved back to New York and graduated from Hofstra University. In 1975,he moved to New Jersey to study at Rutgers with Kenny Barron. He was working with Ron Carter at that time and was rarely there, but he started working with a group called the Neo Bop Crisis Committee which had Russell Branca on bass, Michael Ridley on trumpet, Renaldo Joge on trombone, Stan Bielski and Rick Johnson on Saxophones, and Freddie Lopez-Cepero on drums.
Eventually Radam joined tenor saxophonist Jimmy Ford's band, and traveled the East Coast with him. He got to meet all the cats on the Newark jazz scene. This included one of his mentors, Duke Anderson, who was a legend in Newark. He played piano like Art Tatum and organ like Wild Bill Davis and Radam became the pianist in his big band, The New Jersey Contemporary Orchestra. It was in this big band that Radam met Jimmy Anderson, Woody Shaw, Bill Codey, Harold van Pelt, Leslie Ford, Charlie Mason, Al Patterson, Grachun Moncur, Vinnie Burke and many others. After being on the road (including Europe) with Al Hibbler, Radam returned back to New Jersey. He was invited to a jam session by Mickey Tucker. He knew Mickey was a great pianist but did not know that the session was an organ hit. When he got up to play he didn't even know the black keys were pre-sets. A friend, Alan Watson pulled his coat to a few things and eventually helped him purchase a Vicount portable organ. Watson was also learning how to play organ at the time, and both spent hours shedding and talking on the phone. Radam considers him important in his developing into an organist. He also turned him onto his first organ gigs. The first was with Chico Rouse and Tommy Labella at Sir Kyles in Seaside Heights (Jersey shore). They were working in Charles Earland's band at that time and were ready to kill me or hire a bass player. But they worked together eventually for many years. The other gig was at Mr. Wess with Leo Johnson. That night Charlie Mason came in and hired Radam to work at El Cs every Monday which he did for almost 6 months.
After playing organ for 7 to 8 months Radam auditioned for Arthur Prysock's group at Fat Tuesday's in New York. He got the gig and started traveling with his group. After leaving that gig he went back to Jimmy Ford's band but it was now an organ gig, as well as other gigs. He got the house gig at Jones Chateau (organ house in Plainfield ,NJ). At this time he was also a member of the New Brunswick Jazz Collective which included a lot of musicians who are well known such as Steve Nelson, Ralph Peterson, Frank Lacy, Terrence Blanchard, Jerry Weldon and many more. At this time he put out his first record as a co-leader with Leslie Ford, The Connection.
Eventually he started working at the Peppermint Lounge in 1987 with Don Williams and Geary Moore, he also went on the road briefly with Eddie Lockjaw Davis in an organ trio setting. One person who came through was Cecil Brooks III (drummer) who was working with Houston Person at the time. He asked Radam to do Monday nights back at El Cs with Victor Goines (saxophonist). He went on to play many gis with Cecil, playing, composing and arranging many records. When Cecil formed his band Radam was the organist and musical director.
In 1995, Muse records released Organized which was on the jazz charts and is listed in the Hammond Organ Bible as an essential record of all time. Some other recordings of note were released with Radam on the organ, as well as some on the piano. He works together also with Madame Pat Tandy (for over 18 years), David Fathead Newman, Annette St. John, the Brandon Wright-Christian Tamburr Quartet, Joey Morant, Yvette Glover, and many others.
Radam's prolific career has led to many successful recordings. His own Organized(Muse Records) was mentioned in the B3 Bible as one of the essential organ records of all time. He also has been featured on Cecil Brooks III and the CBIII band, For Those Who Love to Groove(Savant Recurds); Our Day Will Come with the Tommy Gryce Trio(Blue Lady Records); The Lenny Roberts Quartet, Keepin' it on the D.L.; Jazz at Crossroads; and Russell Gunn's Mood Swings(Highnote Records). One of his most recent endeavors include the debut recording of the Brooklyn Soul Organization(M&N Records), featuring Radam on organ, Brad Leali on alto sax, Grant Langford on tenor sax, and Jerome Jennings on drums. In 2005 Radam's release on Blue Ark Records, Conspiracy for Positivity, was on the charts for 14 weeks getting as high as #15. It was awarded the #6 soul jazz record of 2006 by the Soul Jazz Spectrum. It featured James Gibbs III, Irwin Hall, Tyshawn Sorey, Ryan Clackner, and James Stewart.
Radam also has been a jazz educator for many years, being musical director at the Jazz Institute of NJ as well an artist in residence at Middlesex County Arts HS and a teacher at Jazz Connections.
Organ, Hammond B3