Take Five With Markus Schwartz
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? I would have to say that I am attempting to create my own unique style of playing Haitian drums and rhythms in a jazz context. I have worked very hard on my setupusing the traditional drums and combining them in a way that I don't think has been done before, as well as my approach to playing them. It's a work in progress, but the highest compliment I have been paid thus far came from a DJ in Haiti with a daily jazz show on the largest radio station in Haiti: Daniel Marcelin from Radio Metropole. The first time we met (after the first Mozayik CD came out) was at a Mozayik show here in NY. Daniel told me at he was able to recognize my drumming style and sound, and that it was unique. I think that's what jazz is supposed to be all about; taking the tradition and somehow adding your own voice to it, hopefully contributing a little tiny something back to the tradition along the way.
Did you know... I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. My birthday is September 23 (Equinox like John Coltrane!). My dog can climb trees.
How do you use the internet to help your career? I recently (finally!) set up a MySpace page which has helped me network with a lot of musicians and fans.
I maintain Mozayik's website and email list, which we constantly update with pictures, music clips and more.
I am working on getting some YouTube videos going next.
CDs you are listening to now: Angels in the Mirror (Ellipsis Arts); Mizik Tradisyonel d'Ayiti (series) (Crowing Rooster); Jacques Schwarz-Bart, Sone Ka La (Universal France); Gregorio "El Goyo" Hernandez, La Rumba es Cubana (Egrem); Coro Folklorico Cubano. En Un Solar Habanero (Egrem).
Desert Island picks: Hopefully i would get stranded with my iPod!
How would you describe the state of jazz today? Jazz ain't dead, but it sure smells funny (Frank Zappa).
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Music programs in public schools.
Make live jazz accessible to all (price-wise).
What is in the near future? 3rd Annual Haitian Jazz Festival is scheduled for November at Lincoln Center in NYC.
I'm currently working on a solo project and hope to also collaborate with many of the talented artists I have been fortunate enough to work with in the past years.
By Day: Print Graphic Design (currently freelancing at an ad agency). Also teaching private drum classes, along with the gigs and studio sessions.