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Anton Schwartz takes his "Flash Mob" on the road

Anton Schwartz
Anton Schwartz
Anton Schwartz

The month of March will be a busy one for Anton Schwartz, but don’t expect to hear any complaints from the veteran Bay Area saxophonist.
Schwartz on Saturday kicks off a string of CD release concerts that will take him the length of the state to perform eight shows in nine days. After that, he heads up to the Seattle for a couple more. The sax man is in fine company for all the California dates – Taylor Eigsti (piano), John Shifflett (bass) and Lorca Hart (drums) and Dominick Farinacci (trumpet).
All played on Schwartz’s latest album, the just-out “Flash Mob,” and the concerts are sure to be satisfying affairs. After all, these musicians are still riding the disc’s impressive initial buzz, which has included a four-star review in downbeat (the magazine is scheduled to profile Schwartz) and significant radio airplay. “Flash Mob,” notes, finds the players “in full stride … teeming with multicolored mosaics, vigorous soloing and strong compositions, radiating in a modern jazz delight that offers residual enjoyment on successive listens.”
What strikes me more than anything else is the material’s strength and breadth. Nine of “Flash Mob’s” 11 tracks are Schwartz originals and these compositions pull off the not-as-easy-as-you-think trick of sounding fresh and modern and yet accessible and soulful. Originals like “Pangur Ban” give the players plenty of opportunities to stretch out while hewing closely to theme and harmony. And they truly swing. Standards like “Epistrophy,” while given a distinct reading, seem almost after thoughts in the larger context.
Here’s the rundown on Schwartz and his band’s Northern California CD release shows. They will be joined in Sacramento by pianist Joe Gilman.

March 1: San Jose Jazz Winter Fest, Theatre on San Pedro Square, 3 p.m.; Pacifica Performances, Mildred Owen Concert Hall, 7:30 p.m.
March 2: Sonoma Jazz Society, Sonoma Vintage House
March 4: Oakland, Yoshi's
March 6: Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz
March 9: JB's Lounge, Sacramento

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