Saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart
’s most recent CD, The Art of Dreaming", released in Europe earlier this year, is set to debut in the United States and Canada by Naïve/Naxos on September 25, 2012. The project is called The Art of Dreaming" because of the state of heightened awareness shared when musicians play together, which can be described as ‘”dreaming while awake”.
According to Carlos Castañeda, anthropologist and author, ancient Toltec sorcerers had developed the art of staying aware while dreaming, in order to travel to parallel worlds and have a better understanding of the human potential.
Jacques says: As I was reading Castaneda’s book entitled The Art of Dreaming, I immediately drew a comparison with the musician's quest. Except that instead of staying aware during their dreams, musicians manage to dream while awake, and they share their dreams with other musicians and audiences."
Dreaming while awake has become a musical quest for Jacques. As he says: … this special state of mind has come and gone in jittery fashion, like bubbles that grow and burst."
According to Jacques: My first fluid experience took place with this quartet. I immediately felt as if we were traveling together, gliding through a dream that was one and the same. Since then I set my mind on this journey, the result is an album that reflects this experience. The spirit of collective dreaming has allowed us to rise above the impersonal setting of the recording studio, and play as if we were in front of our audience. It is organic, contrasted and often orgasmic: just as I dreamed it!" The Art of Dreaming is performed by a quartet featuring Schwarz-Bart – Saxophone, Batiste Trotignon – Piano, Thomas Bramerie – Double Bass, and Hans Van Oosterhout – Drums.
Schwarz-Bart (born December 22, 1962 in Les Abymes) is based in New York. His mother is the Guadeloupean novelist Simone Schwarz-Bart, author of The Bridge of Beyond. His father was French Jewish author André Schwarz-Bart. The family traveled widely, living in Senegal, Switzerland, and Goyave, Guadeloupe. Schwarz-Bart is dubbed Brother Jacques" and his music has incorporated rhythm and blues as well as hip hop influences.
At age six, while living in Switzerland, Jacques discovers Jazz music through his best friend’s father’s record collection. Fascinated, he self teaches the guitar by playing along with records. By age 11, he sat in with the players of the local Lausanne scene but soon afterward, his family relocated to Guadeloupe. There, without a jazz scene, he concentrated on his studies instead, most notably at the prestigious School of Government called Sciences Po and eventually landed a job as a Senator’s assistant in Paris. At 24, he appeared poised for a more conventional success, until by chance he tried a friend's tenor saxophone. He practiced between his long hours at the Senate and three years later he abandoned his nascent career in politics to attend Berklee College of Music.
After a grueling practice schedule that spanned four years, he graduated from Berklee and developed a reputation by playing with acknowledged leaders of the Boston jazz scene, such Danilo Perez, Bob Moses, and Giovanni Hidalgo, before leaving for New York City. One week after his arrival, he goes to hear Chucho Valdes, Roy Hargrove, and Randy Brecker perform at Bradley’s jazz club. In a moment of boldness, he pulls out his horn and joins in. A month later, Roy Hargrove calls him to replace David Sanchez in his Latin Jazz band, Crisol. By early 2000, he earns his nickname, Brother Jacques”, from musician D'Angelo, in praise of Schwarz-Bart's musicianship. In addition to Hargrove and D'Angelo, Schwarz-Bart has done session work and performed live with Erykah Badu, Eric Benet, Meshell Ndegeocello, James Hurt, Danilo Perez, Soulive, Ari Hoenig, and David Gilmore, among others. His tune “Forget Regret” was the single on Roy Hargrove’s 2003 album Hard Groove.
Jacques has produced several personal projects. After a straight-ahead jazz CD entitled Immersion, he released The Brother Jacques Project: a mixture of soul and jazz, with layers of Caribbean rhythms, featuring the vocalist Stephanie McKay. With his 2007 album Soné Ka-La, Jacques Schwarz-Bart became one of the first musicians to fully explore the connection between Gwoka and jazz, two musical styles of the African Diaspora.