Radam Schwartz
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Blues Citizens
Radam Schwartz | Savant Records (2009)


By Woodrow Wilkins Discuss

One of the cool things about the relationship between jazz and blues is that both genres grew from the same emotional roots. At times, the only clear distinction is a subtle change in how notes are played. Is it jazz that sounds like the blues, or is it blues that sounds like jazz? On Hammond organist Radam Schwartz's Blues Citizens, the answer could be either—or both.
Schwartz has decades of experience, having worked with artists including David "Fathead" Newman, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Victor Goines. Here, Schwartz is accompanied by tenor saxophonist Bill Saxton, alto saxophonist Bruce Williams, guitarist Eric Johnson and drummer Cecil Brooks III.

"Dem Philadelphia Organ Blues" is textbook feel-good music. With Brooks' stick handling and Johnson's rhythm guitar, the saxophone duet leads while Schwartz uses the organ both for his share of the rhythm and to cover the bass line. Williams punches in a lively alto solo, with Schwartz and Johnson also enjoying features.

The title song struts along, with organ and cymbals in sync while the saxes deliver a sassy melody. After Williams' solo and a repeat of the melody and chorus, Schwartz shows off, helped largely by Brooks.

The blues are in force on "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance." The organ introduction sounds like a warm-up for a funeral. Saxton's tenor is brooding in the lead, particularly when it reaches its depth. Schwartz, Johnson and Brooks softly underscore, and Johnson also solos.

A true jazz fan also appreciates the blues, and vice-versa. Blues Citizens is an example of what's in store when the genres meet.


Track listing: Dem Philadelphia Organ Blues; Driftin’; Grieve but Be Brief; Blues Citizens; Misty; Pay Up; I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance; Hangin’ With Smooth; Steal Away; Eighth Wonder.
Personnel: Radam Schwartz: Hammond B-3 organ; Bill Saxton: tenor saxophone; Bruce Williams: alto saxophone; Eric Johnson: guitar; Cecil Brooks III: drums; Kice: vocal (6).
Style: Blues
Published: April 02, 2009 - All About Jazz


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Radam Schwartz – Biography

Radam Schwartz, Hammond B3 Organist and Jazz pianist, has built his reputation over the last 30 years playing with such great musicians as Arthur and Red Prysock, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Al Hibler, and Jimmy Ford. He continues to make music history today playing with renowned artists Cecil Brooks III, Russell Malone, and David Fathead Newman and many others.

Radam’s prolific career has led to many successful recordings. His recording, Organized (Muse Records 1995), was mentioned in the B3 Bible as one of the essential organ records of all time. He also has been featured on Cecil Brooks III and the CBIII band, For Those Who Love to Groove (Savant Records); Our Day Will Come (Blue Lady Records) with the Tommy Gryce Trio; The Lenny Roberts Quartet, Keepin’ it on the D.L.; Jazz at Crossroads; and Russell Gunn’s Mood Swings (HighNote Records) and many others.. His most recent endeavors include the debut recording of the Brooklyn Soul Organization (M&N Records), featuring Radam on organ, Brad Leali on alto sax, Grant Langford on tenor sax, and Jerome Jennings on drums. In all. he has been on over 35 recordings.

In 2005, Radam’s recording Conspiracy for Positivity (Blue Ark Records) occupied a spot on the National Jazz Charts for 14 straight weeks, climbing as high as number 15. Magic Tales, the second recording with his group, was released on Arabesque Recordings in 2007,and got as high as #11 on the charts and stayed on the charts also for 14 weeks. Sesac gave Radam an award for being one of the top 5 Jazz Composers of 2007-08 for this album. This month, March 2009, Savant Records released Blues Citizens by Radam and an all-star group of Bruce Williams, Bill Saxton, Eric Johnson and Cecil Brooks III.

Radam has hosted a Jam Session since 1986, beginning at the famous Peppermint Lounge in Orange, New Jersey, and in 1997 when the Mint closed its doors, moving to the Crossroads in Garwood, where you can still find him every Tuesday night. Over the years, famous musicians like Etta Jones, Rhoda Scott, Jimmy McGriff, Roy Ayers, and George Benson have all enjoyed playing at the Jam Sessions. He is a regular at Showmans in Harlem, NY (one of the few remaining organ clubs).

Radam also has been a jazz educator for many years, continuing as music director at the Jazz Institute of New Jersey, artist-in-residence at Middlesex County Arts program, and a teacher at Jazz Connections in Montclair NJ.