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Anton Schwartz

“Tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz is a guiding light of both the Bay Area and national jazz scenes.” — SFJAZZ

“Warm and intelligent playing… and a knack for composing memorable melodies” — San Jose Mercury News

“Impressive and virtually impossible to resist.” — Jeff Simon, Buffalo News

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 research in Artificial Intelligence he’d carried out at Harvard and Stanford. Quite a career change. As a musician Anton quickly gained an enthusiastic following as fans responded to what the San Francisco Chronicle 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 (NYC), Jazz Alley (Seattle), Yoshi’s (Oakland & San Francisco), Blues Alley (Washington D.C.) and the Monterey Jazz Festival. He recently performed an hour long concert of solo saxophone for the 2013 San Francisco Jazz Festival. Each of his five CDs has earned sterling reviews and strong airplay, with his recent Radiant Blue hitting number four on the national jazz radio charts. His brand new release, Flash Mob earned a four star DownBeat review and is currently in its seventh week on the jazz radio Top Ten.

“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 Peter Bernstein and Larry Goldings and got a taste of the big time, appearing in concert with 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 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, becoming a central character there for a decade and a half. He relocated to Seattle in 2010, but maintains a strong presence performing and teaching in California.

Praise for Anton’s performances and recordings has been unceasing. SFJAZZ recently described Schwartz as “a masterful jazz artist… a guiding light of both the Bay Area and national jazz scenes.” 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 improvisations, and superb taste in musical collaborators.”

Saxophone legend Illinois Jacquet put things 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 is a longtime faculty member of The California Jazz Conservatory, 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 and a frequent instructor at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and has been Artist in Residence at Harvard University and the Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony.