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Jacques Schwarz-Bart

Jacques Schwarz-Bart

Jacques Schwarz-Bart
@ Pigeon Island, St. Lucia Jazz Festival
12 May 2007

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Biography

New York based jazz saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart was born in the suburbs of Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe, December 22, 1962. He grew up between Switzerland and Guadeloupe. The son of two award-wining novelists, Schwarz-Bart followed an original and sinuous path that speaks volume about his identity.

At age 4, he was offered a Gwoka drum set and was tutored by Anzala (one of the all time greats along with Velo and Carnot). Anzala would show him how to play the 7 fundamental rhythms -Toumblak, Graj, Lewoz, Kalagya, Padjanbel, Mende, Woulé. At age 6, while living in Switzerland, Schwarz-Bart discovered Jazz music through his best friend’s dad record collection. Fascinated, he taught himself the guitar by playing along with records. At 11 he started gigging with the players of the local Lausanne scene, but soon after, his family relocated to Guadeloupe. There, without a jazz scene, he concentrated on school. Schwarz-Bart would soon find employment at the prestigious School of Government called Sciences Po as a Senator’s assistant in Paris. At 24 he seemed on his way to social success, until the music bug came back with a vengeance when he picked up a friend’s tenor saxophone. He would find the time to practice between his long hours at the senate, and 3 years later, he left his job as a Senator’s assistant to attend Berklee School of Music.

After practising into exhaustion for 4 years, Schwarz-Bart graduated and developed a reputation by playing with the big guns of the Boston scene such Danilo Perez, Bob Moses and Giovani Hidalgo.

Schwarz-Bart moved to New York where a brave impromptu appearance on stage at Bradlee’s Jazz Club with Chucho Valdes, Roy Hargrove and Randy Brecker led him to a permanent position in Roy Hargrove’s Latin Jazz band ‘Crisol’ (replacing David Sanchez). In early 2000, Schwarz-Bart has since progressed to record sessions and concerts. He has been given the nickname ‘Brother Jacques’ by neo-soul star D’angelo, who praised Schwartz-Bart for his contribution to his band. Schwarz-Bart has also worked with the likes of Erykah Badu, Eric Benet, Meshell N’degeocello, John Legend, Mario Canonge, James Hurt, Danilo Perez, Soulive, Ari Hoenig and David Gilmore to name a few.

Jacques Schwarz-Bart has also produced several personal projects such as the album “Immersion” and “The Brother Jacques Project” (a mixture of soul and Jazz, with layers of Caribbean rhythms featuring the voice of Stephanie McKay).

“There is no such thing as one Black Culture, says Schwarz-Bart. There is a multitude of Black Cultures”.

It is within this wide spectrum of musical choices, that Jacques has found what sets him apart from other Jazz musicians: The marriage of Jazz and Gwoka.

Jacques Schwarz-Bart

Jacques Schwarz-Bart

Jacques Schwarz-Bart

Jacques Schwarz-Bart

Hervé Samb & Jacques Schwarz-Bart

Hervé Samb

Hervé Samb

Olivier Juste


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