Meet Farnell Newton: Farnell Newton composer/trumpeter was born on March 21, 1977 in Miami, Florida where he was exposed to many forms of music from jazz, salsa, funk and hip-hop.
Teachers and/or influences? My trumpet professors at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Marcus Belgrave, Kenny Davis and Bill Lucas. Dennis Reynolds from the Cleveland Heritage Jazz Orchestra. Thara Memory of Portland, Oregon.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I first picked up my first horn "french horn" in middle school.
Your sound and approach to music: Warmth and roundness.
Your dream band: Dream Band? Farnell Newton, trumpet; Jaleel Shaw, alto; Ameen Saleem, bass; Jason Brown, drums; Giovanni Hidalgo, congas; Danilo Perez, piano.
Favorite venue: Jimmy Mak's in Portland is one of the best jazz clubs venues I have performed at ever. Detroit Jazz Festival is one of the best jazz festivals I have performed at ever.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? Farnell Newton/Marcus Reynolds Sense of Direction. This is my first album featuring original compositions on the Diatic Records label.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? My blend of jazz, Latin, hip-hop and soul. Keeping the music fresh for many different listeners.
How would you describe the state of jazz today? I think it is up and down. There are some good scenes and musicians out there.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Educating the audience. Keeping the music fresh and giving it our personal flavors.
What is in the near future? I have various projects from hip-hop working with bands from Lightheaded, Omega Watts, Lifesavas, Jumbo the Garabageman.
My Cuban band I am apart of, Caña Son (www.myspace.com/canason), are performing and working on a tour, summer 2007. I am writing music now for a new CD releasing in 2007.
By Day: Computer coordinator for Portland Parks & Recreation.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.