Feb 112014

Anton Schwartz

Flash Mob (Antonjazz , http://antonjazz.com)

According to dictionary.com, the first definition of “flash mob” is “a group of people mobilized by social media to meet in a public place for the purpose of doing an unusual or entertaining activity of short duration.” On his new release of that name, saxophonist/composer Anton Schwartz has assembled a topnotch crew of musicians, namely pianist Taylor Eigsti, trumpet and flugelhorn player Dominick Farinacci, bassist John Shifflett, and drummer Lorca Hart, for “entertaining activity of 67-minute duration.” If I had to use just one word to characterize this album, it would be “urgent;”whether the musicians are playing full speed ahead, or at a more leisurely pace, there is a sense of in-the-moment interaction which sometimes does not get captured on studio recordings such as this. Opening with the title track, one of nine Schwartz originals,” the album embraces the classic sounds of the golden era of hard bop jazz, updating it with more contemporary approaches. Two covers, Kenny Dorham’s “La Mesha” and Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy,” demonstrate how the musicians can adapt the canon for modern purposes, with Dorham’s ballad interpreted with warmth and sincerity (featuring Farinacci), while Monk’s classic is given a second-line New Orleans spin. Schwartz co-produced this album with the recently departed drummer, producer and jazz advocate Bud Spangler, who is aptly quoted in the press release: “[Schwartz’s] catchy compositions . . . grab you and stay with you. He works really hard, and he’s swinging his butt off.” To that, I will simply say “Amen.”

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