David Fathead Newman & The Tilden Webb Trio
Cellar Live Records © 2013
Recorded December 11th & 12th, 2004 at
Cory Weeds' Cellar Jazz Club, Vancouver, B.C.
by Chris Gestrin
February 24, 2014
"Fathead" Newman—Tenor, Alto Saxophone &
- Tilden Webb—Piano
- Jodi Proznick—Acoustic Bass
- Jesse Cahill—Drums
* The Cookie * Lady J * Hard Times * This I Dig of You * Cristo Redentor * Roundabout *
A Night In Tunisia * The Gift
As both a musician and man, David Newman expressed exxtreme elegance. His manner was understated. He was an unusually handsome man who carried himself with dignity and grace. He walked through the world with quiet confidence. His spoken voice, like his musical voice, was warm and loving. His tender soul was evident in everything he said and played.
In jazz's hard-edged culture, gentlement are rare. David was the very model of a gentle man. By the time he had reached his late twenties, he had risen to the rank of a musical master, yet never with the slightest hint of self-congratulatory conceit. For all his humility, his storied six-decade career is a model of deep and enduring work.
His mentors spoke readily of his prodigious talent.
"I heard him as more than a sideman," said Lowell Fulson, the great bluesman with whom Newman played in the early fifties. "I heard him as a star in his own right."
The Soulful Mr. Newman
Records © 2011
in Stores Fall 2011
Through Head Music
Listen to Clips and Purchase MP3 Album
1. SONG FOR THE NEW MAN
2. THEM THAT GOT (I AIN'T GOT NOTHING YET)
3. WILLOW WEEP FOR ME
4. UNSPEAKABLE TIMES
5. LONESOME HEAD
7. PHAROAH'S GOLD
8. ASIA BEAT
9. GEORGIA ON MY MIND
2. THE BLESSING
3. IT HAD TO BE YOU
4. NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
5. LITTLE SONNY'S TUNE
7. AUTUMN IN NEW YORK
8. AS TIME GOES BY
9. KEEP THE SPIRITS SINGING
10. UNCHAIN MY HEART
1. MY FULL HOUSE
2. FREEDOM JAZZ DANCE
3. CHELSEA BRIDGE
7. DROWN IN MY TEARS
8. SUKI DUKI
9. WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
24, 1933 - January 20, 2009
"Fathead" Newman, legendary saxophonist/flutist and composer who was
a prominent member of the Ray Charles band in the fifties and the sixties and
a renowned bandleader in his own right thereafter, passed away on January 20,
2009 in upstate New York, succumbing to the pancreatic cancer that he heroically
battled for the past year. He was 75 years old.
Newman was born in Corsicana, Texas on February 24, 1933 and soon moved with his
family to Dallas, where he graduated Lincoln High School, following which he attended
Jarvis Christian College where a studied theology and music on a scholarship while
working in local bands. After two years of college, Newman went on the road full
time with fellow Texan Red Connor's group which featured Ornette Coleman and with
the band of Charlie Parker's mentor Buster Smith, playing dance halls, throughout
the southwest. While on tour he met Ray Charles, who was working as a sideman
with another group. The two bonded, both musically and personally and when Charles
began leading his own band in 1954, he called upon Newman to join the group, beginning
a twelve-year association with the organization, helping to define the Charles
orchestra's sound as its star tenor soloist.
was instrumental in helping Newman set out on a solo career, bringing the saxophonist
to his label, Atlantic Records, leading to his debut album as a leader in 1959,
Fathead: Ray Charles Presents David Newman. The date included Newman's
soulful rendition of Paul Mitchell's classic "Hard Times," with which
he would be identified for the rest of his life. Newman would record numerous
more records as a leader for Atlantic. His versatility on saxes and flutes also
made him a first call session player and his presence contributed to studio dates
by the likes Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Dr. John, Joe Cocker, The Average White
Band and Garland Jeffreys, as well as jazz greats Lee Morgan, Herbie Mann and
fellow Charles alumnus Hank Crawford.
1980, Newman, determined to pursue his own musical identity, recorded several
mainstream jazz albums for the Muse label. Artists such as Cedar Walton, Jimmy
Cobb, Buster Williams, Louis Hayes and other fine NY musicians, helped round out
the rhythm sections. He returned to Atlantic Records in the late eighties to record
several more albums for the label that started out with. One of the recordings
Live at the Village Vanguard, featured Stanley Turrentine and Hank
Crawford. Newman's next recordings were on Herbie Mann's Kokopelli label, a beautiful
CD in tribute to Duke Ellington, titled Mr. Gentle, Mr. Cool and
another that he produced, Under A Woodstock Moon, the title referring
to his move to upstate New York. Newman began a productive relationship with High
Note Records at the close of the 1990s, releasing an impressive series of albums,
including Chillin', Keep the Spirits Singing, Davey
Blue, The Gift, Song for the New Man, I
Remember Brother Ray (a moving tribute to Ray Charles became the #1 Most
Played Jazz Album nationwide), Cityscape, and Life.
His latest album Diamondhead was released in 2008.
appeared on many television shows including Saturday Night Live, David Sanborn's
Night Music, David Letterman, and Michael Jackson: Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration.
He appeared in Robert Altman's film Kansas City and did a national tour with the
Kansas City Orchestra for Verve Records. He was portrayed by Bookeem Woodbine
in the feature film Ray, the award-winning movie on the life of
Ray Charles starring Jamie Foxx.
Newman is survived by his loving wife and manager of twenty eight years, Karen
Newman, four sons, seven grandchildren, three great grandchildren, an uncle and
an aunt and a father-in-law who was his best friend, Izzy Goldstein. Memorial
services are to be announced in the near future.
"Fathead" Newman—Tenor, Alto Saxophones & Flute
Guest Curtis Fuller—Trombone
"Fathead" Newman—Tenor, Alto Saxophones & Flute
DAVID "FATHEAD" NEWMAN "Life"
Friday, February 16, 2007; Page WE09
"I TRIED TO CHOOSE compositions that people who listen to my music would be familiar
with," reveals saxophonist-flutist David "Fathead" Newman in the liner notes to
his new standards collection, "Life." That explains the inclusion of such vintage
pop staples as "Autumn in New York," "I Can't Get Started" and "What a Wonderful
World." But Newman's remarks don't begin to address the album's fundamental allure:
It's not the tunes that matter so much; it's the tone, the unquestionably soulful
sound of a seasoned master.
is that more apparent than when Newman is playing tenor, warmly singing through
his horn on "Girl Talk," the album's opener. His alto sax turns on "Autumn in
New York" and "Old Folks" are similarly persuasive and surely will delight many
listeners who first became acquainted with the Texas-born reedman through his
pivotal recordings with Ray Charles. Even when the song choices border on hackneyed,
Newman manages to justify their selection; a lyrical, flute-limned arrangement
of "What a Wonderful World" is a prime example.
most enjoyable performances, however, are inspired by compositions that aren't
so frequently performed, such as the album's title waltz, composed by the late
pianist John Hicks (to whom this recording is dedicated) and John Coltrane's haunting
ballad "Naima." Newman continues to attract younger players drawn to his deeply
rooted sound. The lineup is particularly impressive this time around, with vibraphonist
Steve Nelson, guitarist Peter Bernstein, pianist David Leonhardt, bassist John
Menegon and drummer Yoron Israel providing plenty of color, nuance and drive.
Reviews from the May 2007 issue of Jazz Times
Fathead Newman, known for his gritty, Texas tenor solos with the Ray
Charles band of the 1950s and 60s, is also a compelling, sexy ballad player,
as this album, his eighth for HighNote, reiterates. He begins the album with Neal
Heftis Girl Talk, an insinuating performance with plenty of
room between phrases and the hippest of downward glissandi at the end of certain
notes. This is one of four tenor saxophone tracksAlfie, Duke
Ellingtons Come Sunday and John Coltranes Naima
are the othersand Newman puts his sly, cool, bluesy stamp on each. On Naima,
which rides on an inviting drum groove, he shows that you dont have to imitate
Coltrane to score spiritually on one of his tunes.
with a tasteful, George Shearing Quintet-like rhythm section, Newman benefits
from arrangements and colors that give the album classiness beyond a blowing session.
Vibist Steve Nelson, guitarist Peter Bernstein, pianist David Leonhardt, bassist
John Menegon and drummer Yoron Israel are his well-attuned accompanists. Solos
are short and melodic, but you never get an impression of constraint or malaise
from these players.
Old Folks and Autumn
in New York, a couple of alto performances (alto saxophone was Newmans
first instrument) bridge bebop and Texas earthiness. Three flute tracksthe
title cut, I Cant Get Started and What a Wonderful Worldradiate
the kind of blues feeling that has made him the most soulful flutist in jazz.
The title track, an original waltz, is a tribute to the late John Hicks, the pianist
on five of Newmans HighNote albums. Here, Newman employs a vigorous attack,
exotic trills, rangy arpeggios, blues-tinged runs and a ripe vibrato to tell his
-- Owen Cordle
to an audio clip of David "Fathead" Newman
"Fathead" Newman—Tenor, Alto Saxophones & Flute
2005 #1 Most Played
Jazz Album Nationwide
Remember Brother Ray
I Remember Brother Ray
review from The Washington Post
article from The Philadelphia Daily News
Fathead Newman—Tenor Saxophone
review by John Murph, regular writer for JazzTimes, Down Beat, JazzWise, VIBE,
and The Washington City Paper.
Articles & Reviews
By Mike Joyce
The Washington Post
of the TIMES
him 'Fathead' if you want, but
some call David Newman a pioneer"
The Dallas Morning News
lean times for Fathead
66, David Newman has a
big sound and plenty of work"
Al Hunter Jr.
Daily News Staff
plays it all
By David Lonke
Blade Pop Music Writer
of Chillin' CD