Even after decades in the music business, it's clear that David "Fathead Newman still has many, many notes left to play. Toward that end Life is a handful of chestnuts on which he displays his formidable triple-threat skills on tenor sax, alto sax and flute.
Newman's sultry tenor on "Girl Talk speaks volumes with his smooth and subtle phrasing, blowing masterfully with excellent accompaniment from vibraphonist Steve Nelson and guitarist Peter Bernstein. "Alfie has a simple yet evocative soulfulness and the shift to a waltz tempo in the middle, with solos by Nelson and Bernstein, gives the tune a pleasing new depth. Newman's tenor on "Come Sunday sounds like a blend of Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young and the atmosphere of the rhythm section, featuring pianist David Leonhardt, bassist John Menegon and drummer Yoron Israel, sounds like church services held at last call. And the group's intriguing tempo manipulations gives "Naima a wonderful new personality.
Charlie Parker's influence on generations of musicians is a never ending story. Newman's alto brilliantly recalls Parker's singular tone on "Old Folks and "Autumn In New York, a pair of standards that Bird stamped indelibly with his own harmonic seal. The execution, however, is pure Newman. He picks up the flute for a few tunes as well, playing with a melodic dexterity on the title cut (the album is a tribute to the late pianist John Hicks), "I Can't Get Started and "What A Wonderful World. Newman's intelligence and experience are evident throughout Life, an album which exemplifies a relaxed and timeless excellence.
Track Listing: Girl Talk; Life; Alfie; I Can't Get Started; Old Folks; Autumn in New York; Come Sunday; What a Wonderful World; Naima.
Personnel: David "Fathead" Newman: tenor and alto saxophone, flute; Steve Nelson: vibes; David Leonhardt: piano; Peter Bernstein: guitar; John Menegon: bass; Yoron Israel: drums.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.