Jacques Schwarz-Bart was born in Guadeloupe. His parents are both widely acclaimed writers. His father André won the Goncourt award and his mother wrote several jewels of Caribbean literature. After graduating from the French School of Government (Sciences Po Paris), Jacques has been working for the French Senate. He was seemingly destined to a career as a statesman. But another path had been shaping up in the same time: a path of music and mysticism. Jacques discovered African mysticism through Gwoka Music. The ceremonies called Lewoz took place at night in the darkness of the country side in sugar cane fields, where rhythms and chants emote a spiritual call.
He is a leading pioneer in the creation of two surging new styles: Gwoka Jazz, and Voodoo jazz, reuniting jazz music with its Afro-Caribbean and spiritual origins. Jacques’ impressionistic writing, powerful tone, and wide-ranging language – both lyrical and angular – have fueled a growing presence on the world stage.
After playing alongside such luminaries as Roy Hargrove, Danilo Perez, Ari Hoenig, Meshell N’Degéocello, D’angelo or Chucho Valdés, Jacques finally decides to follow his own vision as a band leader. He then leaves Roy Hargrove’s band in 2005 and finalizes his Gwoka Jazz Project, gathering some faithful and talented musicians such as Sonny Troupé, Olivier Juste, Reggie Washington or Milan Milanovic. Jacques and his Gwoka Project recorded two albums for Universal, "Soné Ka" La and "Abyss", which have built his current career as an internationally acclaimed jazz band leader. In 2010, he releases "Rise Above", which revives his long lasting collaboration with singer – and spouse – Stephanie McKay and blends NY urban mood and Caribbean feelings.
His 2020 release "Sone Ka La 2/Odyssey", revisits his Guadeloupean roots and confirms his nickname as the “saxophone colossus of the Caribbeans”.
In November of 2021 JSB recorded the Harlem Suite, sponsored by Live Arts Boston, in a gorgeous set of compositions reflecting his journey as a jazz player coming from the minuscule Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe, to the highest peaks of the legendary New York scene. This new album "The Harlem Suite" was released on the Ropeadope label in March 2023 and features such luminaries as Terri Lyne Carrington, Marcus Gilmore, Sullivan Fortner, Victor Gould, Matt Penman.
THE HARLEM SUITE
Jacques Schwarz-Bart - saxophone
Gregory Privat - piano
Reggie Washington - bass
Arnaud Dolmen - drums
2023 - 2024