Anton Schwartz (tenor sax)
Peter Bernstein (guitar)
Taylor Eigsti (piano)
John Shifflett (acoustic bass)
Tim Bulkley (drums)
Produced by Bud Spangler and Anton Schwartz.
Recording and Mixing Engineer: Dan Feiszli.
Mastering engineer: Paul Stubblebine.
"Radiant Blue" had a long run on the US jazz radio charts, peaking at number four and earning a JazzWeek cover story.
"Much like Chris Potter, Anton Schwartz is a nice and unassuming guy to talk to, yet both turn into modern day tenor titans as soon as they put the mouthpiece between their lips... There's a lot to like here with sharp arrangements and crisp straight ahead playing that seems to hit all the right notes."
- Tad Hendrickson, JazzWeek Magazine
"... this is a first-class audiophile product."
- John Henry, Audiophile Audition
"Anton Schwartz and his sidemen are deadly serious about their fun... they are all adept at staying in the pocket while stretching it. As for Schwartz, he has a classic clear-throated tenor sound and kicks like a mule. His zeal to communicate is fervent yet sophisticated... Radiant Blue could make an excellent introduction to jazz for someone on the outside looking for a way in."
- Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times Magazine
"This is grade 'A' 'all-killer-no-filler'... The five musicians are virtuosos, endowed with temperance, eschewing gratuity for the greater good of the music... Schwartz' compositions are engaging and sophisticated... these are truly unique musicians of the highest order."
- Jan-Mikael Erakare, Abstract Logix
"Schwartz blows with a warm, fluid tone, and great economy... his decisions all sound right... This ensemble shines.... The music bins are full of bluesy jazz albums; this one brims with optimism and intelligence."
- Ed Kopp, JAZZIZ Magazine
The liner notes from the CD:
THE BLUES IS A FEELING
THE BLUES IS A FORM
The blues is a feeling. The blues is a form.
Two statements about music. You've likely heard the first one at some point, but perhaps not the second. So I'd like to explain a bit.
Music is nothing without feeling, and nowhere is this more true than in blues music. Blues greats such as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and B.B. King have been masters at conveying emotion, and they passed down as their legacy an emotional vocabulary of musical riffs, stylings, phrases and techniques that form the vernacular of blues music.
But no less a part of their legacy is a contribution of a different nature: the blues *form*. In poetry, a sonnet is distinguished by its form — a particular fourteen-line structure. So, too, much of blues music conforms to a particular structure — a distinct sequence of chords twelve measures in length. That structure has come to permeate popular music far beyond the genre of blues. "Rock Around the Clock" is, structurally, a perfect blues. So is the theme from *Batman*. And Charlie Parker's "Now's The Time." But none of these would be called blues music.
So when jazz musicians say, "let's play a blues," what they are proposing is not a song with a certain feeling, but a song with a certain structure.
Radiant Blue is a collection of ten blueses — which is to say, ten songs based on the blues form. To be sure, there are stylistic elements of the blues in many of the songs (check out "Sneaking Suspicion" and "Blues for Now"). But most of the music is not particularly bluesy. The grooves run a wide gamut, from fast straight ahead jazz to New Orleans to Afro-Samba to feel-good South African to angular funk. _Radiant Blue_ is a CD of blueses, but it is not a blues CD any more than The Who's rock opera, *Tommy*, is an opera CD.
If you're familiar with music theory, you'll know that I've taken many liberties with the blues form throughout the CD. But my hope is that, regardless of your musical knowledge, with a few listenings of the CD you will be able to "squint your ears" and make out the shape of a blues, in the same way you might recognize an old friend at a distance by just their silhouette and their walk. For jazz musicians, the blues form is such a friend.
— Anton Schwartz, June, 2006, Oakland.