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.