Press / Reviews / Interviews
Stereophile magazine recording of the month
"While the technical info is impressive, and the peerless sound is gloriously unaffected and real, the compelling and exotic blend of music on Equinox is equal to the technology—a balance of art and craft that all recordings, audiophile or not, should aspire to."
The Beat Magazine
Feature article and interview by Brian Dring, in The Other Caribbean column.
"Schwartz shows his stuff on cuts like the opener "Ountò (Spirit of the Drum)" which really captures the varying cadence of the drums at a vodou ceremony, as well as on "Solo Tanbou" (a percussion duet with Ti-Roro) and "Koze Tanbou," yet without losing sight of the supporting role the vodou drums play within the frame of the music. So while this is ostensibly a solo project, Schwartz wisely stands back at times to let his guests help take the music where they may."
Boston Haitian Reporter
Article and interview by Steve Desrosiers.
"Markus Schwarz may not be Haitian by ancestry, but the soul of Ayiti finds voice in his trained fingers."
“METRIC HALO TRANSCENDS ALL PREVIOUS DEFINITIONS OF AUDIOPHILE QUALITY ON EQUINOX. Soundkeeper Recordings is a beautiful amalgamation of old and new. Veteran recording, mixing, and mastering engineer Barry Diament (Bob Marley, Pete Townshend, Led Zeppelin and on and on and on) founded the fledgling record label and expertly handles all of its technical tasks. ...Diament records the artists on Soundkeeper Recordings’ roster in beautiful acoustic spaces using only a pair of microphones...Soundkeeper Recordings’ latest release, Equinox by Markus Schwartz, one of the world’s foremost Haitian percussionists, played Haitian-inspired jazz with Paul Beaudry (acoustic bass), Monvelyno Alexis (electric guitar), and Jean Caze (trumpet and flugelhorn) in an auditorium with stunning acoustics built in 1908. An interesting aside, the label secured the location, which is now part of an assisted living facility, in exchange for a performance by Markus for the facility's residents.”
"...Intent on finding that magic equilibrium between sound and content, Diament, a former Atlantic Records engineer, has hit a new high point for Soundkeeper with his immediate-sounding and musically compelling disc of explorations by drummer Markus Schwartz and his Lakou Brooklyn project..." "...While the technical info is impressive, and the peerless sound is gloriously unaffected and real, the compelling and exotic blend of music on Equinox is equal to the technology–a balance of art and craft that all recordings, audiophile or not, should aspire to."
“Markus Schwartz was born in Copenhagen, grew up in a jazz rich American household, and has spent the last 20 years studying Haitian religious music. On his new Equinox CD Markus Schwartz & Lakou Brooklyn, he leads a quartet with a full battery of Haitian percussion instruments including conch shells. He has also arranged and collaborated on selections which celebrate the work of Haitian philosophers, artists and composers. His knowledge of Haitian culture and expertise in its music make this session invaluable for international music enthusiasts.”
“Percussionist Markus Schwartz came to Miami with a new quartet, (they) embarked on a swinging set of delightful tunes punctuated with dazzling improvised solos. Band leader, Haitian-drums player Markus Schwartz was in great company with a splendid quartet. Few drummers have the aptitude to rise to the level of artistry Markus achieved. This true Afro-Haitian sound will stamp our identity in the jazz world.”
"Like Papa Legba holding a party at the crossroads where the great Haitian Master drummer Ti-Roro meets John Coltrane and they mix it up for a while. Best of all, we get to listen in... a fabulous fusion of Black musical styles blended and melded into a fresh and welcome innovation."
"Percussionist Markus Schwartz delivers another astonished and complex album inspired mostly from his rich experience with the Haitian culture as a whole. "Tanbou Nan Lakou Brooklyn" represents another gem to add to the royal crown of the rich Haitian Musical Experience. The drummer/percussionist ventures down complex avenues and calls on old musician friends and Jazz talents from the New York/international jazz scene to put his ideas into acoustic sounds and expressive colors. Flanked by an impressive cast of highly qualified musicians, Mr. Schwartz, meticulously assembled a collection of past experiences stamped by profound, comprehensive Lakou learning and a clear vision for a multi-form black musical language; an eclectic expression of the Black Diaspora."
“(Review of Mozayik) It's always so inspiring when American-based musicians mine the riches of their exotic heritage, and this five-piece New York band offers a stirring invitation to explore the vast rhythmic riches of its Afro-Haitian roots. While listeners are enjoying what on the surface sounds like an appealing mix of classical, jazz, gospel, and funk influences, the 12 multifaceted tracks also aim to teach lessons about various traditional Haitian folkloric drum rhythms (all stunningly played by Markus Schwartz).”