374

Anton Schwartz: Radiant Blue

Ken Hohman By

Sign in to view read count
Anton Schwartz: Radiant Blue For a guy who has the blues, San Francisco-based tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz sure seems happy. While the ten tracks on Radiant Blue are purported to be based on the twelve-measure blues form (I think there's a couple of sixteens in there), there is barely a blush of sadness to this decidedly upbeat release. But once you're a few measures into "Phantom Dance," you can forget about the overarching theme and just enjoy the ride. This modal opener presents Schwartz's confident tone and the luxury-class support of pianist Taylor Eigsti and guitarist Peter Bernstein. Together with the rhythm section, the soloists conduct a fluid give and take that works, whether they are tackling a straight-ahead tune or a funky groove.

Eigsti's cascading runs are truly exhilarating to hear, as is his precise execution. His quicksilver solo on "Slightly Off Course and his turnbacks on "Marcel Marceau are carried off so effortlessly that it's almost intimidating. Bernstein is brilliant throughout; enough so that one wonders if these compositions would fall apart if his cool tones and sensitive phrasing weren't present. Whether playing in unison with Schwartz or carving off a slice of the blues on "Blues For Now, his guitar gives this group's sound the muscle it requires.

There's no doubt that with running mates like Eigsti and Bernstein, Anton Schwartz's own playing can be overshadowed, particularly on the first listen. But subsequent listenings reveal a smart improviser, a player who imbues his songs with genuine emotion, and a tenor sound not unlike that of Jimmy Heath on his later recordings. Schwartz's finest moment is his carefully calibrated soloing and occasional dives into the lower register throughout "Life & Times, a poignant song with descending chords that captures the passage of time with, dare I say, radiant joy.

I don't think the jazz world needs another cover of Jobim's "Wave, but if you must hear it again, you might as well hear it played well. Otherwise, Radiant Blue is an excellent straight-ahead jazz release featuring young players with talent to spare.


Track Listing: Phantom Dance; Alligator Strut; Wave; Slightly Off Course; Life & Times; Marcel Marceau; Blues For Now; Groundsurge; Hooking Up; Sneaking Suspicion.

Personnel: Anton Schwartz: tenor saxophone; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Taylor Eigsti: piano; John Shifflett: bass; Tim Bulkley: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: AntonJazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Frank Sinatra Frank Sinatra
vocalist
Freddie Hubbard Freddie Hubbard
trumpet
Claudio Roditi Claudio Roditi
trumpet
Hal Galper Hal Galper
piano
Bennie Maupin Bennie Maupin
clarinet
Earl Klugh Earl Klugh
guitar, acoustic
Donny McCaslin Donny McCaslin
saxophone
Stanley Turrentine Stanley Turrentine
sax, tenor
Rez Abbasi Rez Abbasi
guitar
Brian Patneaude Brian Patneaude
sax, tenor

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "OUTgoing" CD/LP/Track Review OUTgoing
by Budd Kopman
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Altadena" CD/LP/Track Review Altadena
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Untitled" CD/LP/Track Review Untitled
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 15, 2016
Read "The Expanding Universe" CD/LP/Track Review The Expanding Universe
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 8, 2016
Read "The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door" CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!