All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

470

David "Fathead" Newman: Diamondhead

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Diamondhead is the ninth of David "Fathead" Newman's HighNote recordings (not the seventh, as the disc's notes state) and it's a typically enjoyable outing of soulful bop with no surprises but some exceedingly fine playing that holds up well after multiple listens. Pianist Cedar Walton is Newman's trump card here and a real asset to the group's groove. Both these Texas natives go back to Lee Morgan's Sonic Boom (Blue Note, 1968) and the pianist was first featured on Newman's own Resurgence (Muse, 1980). They make for a formidable partnership on this, their third meeting on a Newman disc. Another key ingredient is underrated veteran trombonist Curtis Fuller on four of the more up-tempo numbers. Fuller first recorded with Newman on the under-appreciated Song For The New Man (HighNote, 2003) and has a close partnership with Walton that dates back to their time in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

As always, the best tunes here are the Newman originals. First, there's the acoustic funk of the title track, which reworks Eddie Harris' "Listen Here" groove into a tribute. Everyone really works up a heady bit of steam here, including drummer Yoron Israel who seems to be in the right place at the right time throughout the disc. Newman pays sweet homage to Harris and Walton hasn't sounded this funky since his Prestige days. There's also the spritely "My Full House," a newly-titled version of "Lonesome Head" that Newman debuted on a 1994 Winard Harper album and later performed, also with Curtis Fuller, on Song For The New Man. Finally, there's the delightfully clever "Mama Lou," which hasn't been heard on disc since its inception on Newman's Resurgence, which also featured Walton.

A highlight of any jazz set featuring Walton is one of the pianist's own compositions and, fortunately, the wonderfully playful "Cedar's Blues" is heard here (the composer recorded it with Curtis Fuller on a 1985 Red album of the same name). This is a good old-fashioned bit of foot-tapping, finger-snapping jazz in the Messengers tradition. It's a wonder to hear these veterans in fine fettle, with chops still intact, tackle exciting music like this and stirring the fire so admirably.

Newman also covers some inevitable jazz warhorses ("Skylark," "Star Eyes" and "It's You or No One) and redeems Billy Joel's surprisingly tuneful "New York State of Mind," throwing some tasty song quotes into his solos too. Unfortunately, he limits his tremendously exciting flute playing here only to "Mama Lou" and the first half of "New York." Maybe one day he'll consider doing an all-flute album, even at the risk of alienating those who rightly love the majestic soul of his sax playing.

David "Fathead" Newman has had a remarkably consistent recording career over the last half century (and markedly prolific since signing onto HighNote) and Diamondhead is one of the purest of pleasures in his capacious catalog.


Track Listing: Diamondhead; Can't We Be Friends?; New York State Of Mind; Cedar's Blues; My Full House; Skylark; Star Eyes; Mama-Lou; It's You Or No One.

Personnel: David "Fathead" Newman: tenor sax, alto sax, flute; Curtis Fuller: trombone (1, 4, 5, 9); Cedar Walton: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Yoron Israel: drums.

Title: Diamondhead | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: HighNote Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Blessing

The Blessing

HighNote Records
2010

buy
 

The Blessing

Cristal Records
2009

buy
Diamondhead

Diamondhead

HighNote Records
2009

buy
Diamondhead

Diamondhead

HighNote Records
2008

buy
Introducing David Newman

Introducing David...

Warner Bros.
2008

buy
Life

Life

HighNote Records
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Piano Works CD/LP/Track Review
Piano Works
by John Sharpe
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Throw Tomatoes CD/LP/Track Review
Throw Tomatoes
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Reflections 2 CD/LP/Track Review
Reflections 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "Blood & Bone" CD/LP/Track Review Blood & Bone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 5, 2018
Read "Walk The Walk" CD/LP/Track Review Walk The Walk
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 4, 2018
Read "In Stride" CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Essential Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Essential Blues
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 24, 2017
Read "Tangents" CD/LP/Track Review Tangents
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Another Time: The Hilversum Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 3, 2017