CELLAR GROOVE
David Fathead Newman & The Tilden Webb Trio

Cellar Live Records © 2013

David Fathead Newman - The Blessing

Recorded December 11th & 12th, 2004 at
Cory Weeds' Cellar Jazz Club, Vancouver, B.C.
by Chris Gestrin

Available February 24, 2014

Featuring

  • David "Fathead" Newman—Tenor, Alto Saxophone & Flute
  • Tilden Webb—Piano
  • Jodi Proznick—Acoustic Bass
  • Jesse Cahill—Drums

Track Listing

Cellar Groove * The Cookie * Lady J * Hard Times * This I Dig of You * Cristo Redentor * Roundabout * A Night In Tunisia * The Gift

Dedication

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."

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The Soulful Mr. Newman
HighNote Records © 2011
3-CD SET

David 'Fathead' Newman - The Soulful Mr. Newman

Available in Stores Fall 2011
Through Head Music

Listen to Clips and Purchase MP3 Album

Track Listing

Disc One

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
6. NAIMA
7. PHAROAH'S GOLD
8. ASIA BEAT
9. GEORGIA ON MY MIND

Disc Two

1. SHAKABU
2. THE BLESSING
3. IT HAD TO BE YOU
4. NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
5. LITTLE SONNY'S TUNE
6. GOLDFINGER
7. AUTUMN IN NEW YORK
8. AS TIME GOES BY
9. KEEP THE SPIRITS SINGING
10. UNCHAIN MY HEART

Disc Three

1. MY FULL HOUSE
2. FREEDOM JAZZ DANCE
3. CHELSEA BRIDGE
4. iNVITATION
5. AMANDLA
6. SKJ
7. DROWN IN MY TEARS
8. SUKI DUKI
9. WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

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David "Fathead" Newman

February 24, 1933 - January 20, 2009

David "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.

David 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.

Charles 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.

In 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.

Newman 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.

David 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.


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David's 2008 Release

Diamondhead

HighNote Records © 2008

David Fathead Newman - Diamondhead

Featuring:

  • David "Fathead" Newman—Tenor, Alto Saxophones & Flute
  • Cedar Walton—Piano
  • Peter Washington—Bass
  • Yoron Israel—Drums
  • Special Guest Curtis Fuller—Trombone

 

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Life

HighNote Records © 2007

Life

Featuring:

  • David "Fathead" Newman—Tenor, Alto Saxophones & Flute
  • Steve Nelson—Vibes
  • David Leonhardt—Piano
  • Peter Bernstein—Guitar
  • John Menegon—Bass
  • Yoron Israel—Drums

The Washington Post

DAVID "FATHEAD" NEWMAN "Life" HighNote

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.

Nowhere 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.

The 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.

-- Mike Joyce

CD Reviews from the May 2007 issue of Jazz Times

DAVID “FATHEAD” NEWMAN
Life (HighNote)

David “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 Hefti’s “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 tracks—“Alfie,” Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday” and John Coltrane’s “Naima” are the others—and Newman puts his sly, cool, bluesy stamp on each. On “Naima,” which rides on an inviting drum groove, he shows that you don’t have to imitate Coltrane to score spiritually on one of his tunes.

Working 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 Newman’s first instrument) bridge bebop and Texas earthiness. Three flute tracks—the title cut, “I Can’t Get Started” and “What a Wonderful World”—radiate 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 Newman’s HighNote albums. Here, Newman employs a vigorous attack, exotic trills, rangy arpeggios, blues-tinged runs and a ripe vibrato to tell his story.

-- Owen Cordle

Listen to an audio clip of David "Fathead" Newman

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Cityscape

HighNote Records © 2007

Order Now

Read JazzWeek's Review

Featuring:

  • David "Fathead" Newman—Tenor, Alto Saxophones & Flute
  • Winston Byrd—Flugelhorn, Trumpet
  • Howard Johnson—Baritone Saxophone
  • Benny Powell—Trombone
  • David Leonhardt—Piano
  • John Menegon—Bass
  • Yoron Israel—Drums


JazzWeek Review of Cityscape

Review from JazzWeek


The 2005 #1 Most Played
Jazz Album Nationwide

I Remember Brother Ray
HighNote Records © 2005


David 'Fathead' Newman - I Remember Brother Ray

Purchase I Remember Brother Ray

Read review from The Washington Post

Read article from The Philadelphia Daily News

Featuring:

  • David Fathead Newman—Tenor Saxophone
  • Steve Nelson—Vibes
  • John Hicks—Piano
  • John Menegon—Bass
  • Winard Harper—Drums

Read CD inserta review by John Murph, regular writer for JazzTimes, Down Beat, JazzWise, VIBE, and The Washington City Paper.



News Articles & Reviews

DAVID "FATHEAD" NEWMAN
"I Remember Brother Ray"

Review By Mike Joyce
The Washington Post

TENOR of the TIMES
"Call him 'Fathead' if you want, but
some call David Newman a pioneer"

The Dallas Morning News

No lean times for Fathead
"At 66, David Newman has a
big sound and plenty of work"

By Al Hunter Jr.
Daily News Staff Writer

'Fathead' plays it all
By David Lonke
Blade Pop Music Writer

Review of Chillin' CD
By Willard Jenkins
Jazz Times

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Copyright 2000-2006 David "Fathead" Newman.  All rights reserved.