Quite a career change. Once in action as a musician, Anton quickly gained an enthusiastic following, as music fans responded to what the San Francisco Chronicle recently 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 in New York, Washington D.C.ís Blues Alley and the Monterey Jazz Festival. His fre quent appearances at Yoshiís in Oakland draw sellout crowds, and each of his four CDs has earned sterling reviews and strong airplay, with his most recent Radiant Blue landing Top Five on the national jazz radio charts. While his own writing earns consistently high praise, Anton remains as much at home with the great jazz standards as he is with his own compositions.
“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 future stars Peter Bernstein and Larry Goldings and got a taste of the big time, appearing in concert with both 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, Antonís heart drew him to a full-time jazz career. In í95 he jumped feet first into the San Francisco jazz scene that has remained his home, even as heís traveled the country. Praise for Antonís performances and recordings has been unceasing. Jazz Improv Magazine called Anton’s 2004 CD, Holiday Time, A superb album, bubbling with a combination of imaginative and sweet sounding playing.
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, Schwartz has everything you want to hear in a modern jazz saxophonistóan appealing, consistent tone, an abundance of ideas fueling both his compositions and his improvisations, and superb taste in musical collaborators.
Perhaps famed saxophonist Illinois Jacquet put things most 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. Heís a faculty member of the Stanford Jazz Workshop and The Jazzschool, 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. “It’s especially gratifying to me to see so many people reacting so wholeheartedly to my music,” says Anton. Indeed, longtime jazz aficionados and newcomers alike rave about his performances. This ability to capture hearts and minds at all ends of the jazz spectrum has made Anton a force to be reckoned with in the world of modern jazz.