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The Slow Lane

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Album Review

A young tenor saxophonist/composer/bandleader from the San Francisco area, Schwartz offers a little bit of everything stylistically within the modern jazz arena on this, his second CD. He reinvents standards, plays some originals, goes into effortless blues or ballads, and fronts a very capable band, especially pianist Paul Nagel. Bassist John Shifflett and drummer Jason Lewis also play their parts well, but the spotlight is Schwartz's, who is not a distinctive stylist, but borrows from the best tenor plates of Hawkins, Rollins, Gordon, Coltrane, and Brecker to present a fluent, literate, pleasant sound, a musical voice in development. Liner note writer Becca Pulliam of NPR likens his stance to that of a young Stanley Turrentine. Schwartz proves to be quite a melodicist on his cool samba "The Curve of the Earth" and its no-time 1:12 tag/reprise. He has command of many tuneful devices; the hip, cool, modal funk of "Don't Ask," the soul ballad reply "Then Again," the slow, desert-caravan procession of "Peace Dollar," and the patient title track gospel-blues in 3/4 time. Reworked standards include a tick-tock, cha cha-flavored take on Benny Golson's "Along Came Betty" and subdued soul-funk take of "Come Rain or Come Shine," Nagel's piano particularly bluesy in its chordal repetition a la Horace Silver. Relatively straight are the reflective, relaxed tone of Billy Strayhorn's classic ballad "Chelsea Bridge," and the torchy-to-pepped-up-and-back line of "Born to Be Blue." Schwartz also interprets Wayne Shorter's "Miyako," admittedly an inspirational starting point for the tenor man years ago, and a piece he has played frequently. An easygoing to more uptempo 6/8 leads to some stimulating tenor sounds even the composer would have to take notice of, for he does not play like this anymore, which is a shame. Thank goodness Schwartz remembers. This is a recording loaded with promise for a budding talent who is on the right path to bringing us some gems of thought in the years ahead. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews


Anton Schwartz keeps you interested, wanting to know what's coming next. It's easy to get transported. Love the references to the earlier musicians. It's amazing to know about his pedigreed scientific background and then hear his ability to swing.


Born: July 16, 1967 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Influenced by Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, and Joe Henderson as well as Dexter Gordon, Anton Schwartz is a melodic tenor saxophonist who has been based in the San Francisco Bay Area since the 1990s. Although identified with the Bay Area, Schwartz is actually a native of New York, where he started playing jazz on the clarinet at 12 before switching to the sax at 14. In high school, he formed a group that included guitarist Peter Bernstein and organist Larry Goldings and sat in with Woody Herman and...
Full Bio
The Slow Lane, Anton Schwartz
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