Schawkie Roth, born in Wisconsin in 1943, can be considered one of the pioneers of new age spiritual music. "Schawkie" (meaning "Jacques") is a Swiss nickname given to him by his father. His musical heritage comes from his maternal grandmother, who was an opera singer in Bohemia, and his family tree can be traced back to Czech composer Anton Dvorák. Roth began his musical career at the age of eleven by taking up the alto saxophone. Within a year, he began playing and improvising on the piano, and then added the tenor saxophone to his classical and improvisational studies. His piano playing reflected classical motifs, while his saxophone work eventually found its home in the heritage of modern, lyrical jazz. Music also became an integral expression of his interest in philosophy, religion, psychology, poetry, and painting.
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