Saturday, January 31, 2009

David "Fathead" Newman (1933-2009): His Early Days In Music

David “Fathead” Newman (1933-2009): Zijn vroegste jaren (Nederlands) David “Fathead” Newman (1933-2009): De laatste twintig jaren. (Nederlands) David “Fathead” Newman (1933-2009): His early days in music. (English) David “Fathead” Newman (1933-2009): The last decades of his career. (English)

A (selective) David "Fathead" Newman discography

Hank Crawford R.I.P.

David “Fathead” Newman (1933-2009): His Early Days In Music.
Hans Koert
Last week we got the sad news that David Newman, better known as David Fathead, Newman, passed away on the age of 75 years. He was one of my favourite tenor saxophone player I heard in concert, for the first time, eleven years ago at the Porgy en Bess Jazz Club in Terneuzen ( in the southwest part of The Netherlands) and love to commemorate him in this two-part blog. The first part is dedicated to his early career; the second part to the last two decades.

David "Fathead" Newman. (Porgy en Bess, Terneuzen - The Netherlands), February 1998) (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
David “Fathead” Newman was born in Corsicana, Texas in February 1933, but he was raised in Dallas. There he went to Lincoln High School. It was around that time that he got his nickname Fathead, which means in American slang that you are a stupid person. He got that name from his music teacher because he played in the school band at a rehearsal with his sheet music upside down on the music stand.
He went to the Jarvis Christian College to study theology and music. He finished his study to become a full time professional jazz player in the band of Buster Smith, nicknamed The Professor, followed by the band of Red Connors. With these bands the played at dance gigs and one-nighters all all-round the south eastern states of the US He also played in Rhythm & Blues bands, which were very popular in those days, like Lowell Fulson and T-Bone Walker. Ray Charles and his Orchestra in 1960. Fathead Newman is, almost hidden, behind the second Raelett from the left.
He learned Ray Charles while playing in those bands and when Ray started his own band, David was asked to join; first on baritone saxophone, later on the tenor sax. So he did and he played in the Ray Charles band for a decade being his main saxophone player. It must have been with this band ( incl. The Raeletts) that David visited The Netherlands for the very first time (I didn't found the complete line-up). On the 11th of May 1963 this band performed in the Houtrusthallen in The Hague and the RAI in Amsterdam. Three month later they’re back again, now for a concert at the Kurhaus in Scheveningen ( near The Hague). Ray Charles at the RAI concert in Amsterdam. ( 11th of May, 1963) ( photo courtesy Nico Van Der Stam)
Love to share with you a 1963 fragment of that band, which shows David in a short solo, near the end of the tune Just A Little Lovin'.

In November 1958 he makes the first recordings under his own name, titled Fathead on the Atlantic label; a lot of recordings will follow. In my collection I do have the 1967 Blue Note Sonic Boom in which David Fathead Newman plays the tenor saxophone in the Lee Morgan Quintet and another album with the Hank Crawford Orchestra, with David on saxophone, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Dr. John on piano and Houston Person on tenor saxophone.

Hank Crawford and Fathead Newman Hank Crawford was in the Ray Charles band too that visited the Netherlands. David made a lot of great recordings with Hank Crawford, who even joined him in his first Atlantic recording Fathead mentioned above. I played myself their 1985 Roadhouse Symphony album, which was made in honour of the 1950s Ray Charles recordings with some groovy tracks like the title tune Roadhouse Symphony or Tragick Magick. (to be continued)
Hans Koert -

The second part is titled: David “Fathead” Newman (1933-2009): The Last Decades Of His Career.

Hank Crawford (1934-2009)

In this first part I talked about Fathead Newman's cooperation with Hank Crawford. Yesterday I learned, that Bennie Ross Crawford, Jr., Hank for friends, passed away two days earlier, Thursday the 29th of January 2009, aged 75 years too, a few days after his close friend and colleague Fathead Newman.

(as I found in my collection).

You can find a more extensive and complete discography on David Fathead Newman’s own site.

freddie green/king of rhythm session ( = 1 track: as ray charles orchestra)(1959)
les tresors du city jazz 1956/CD 64 (= 1 track as ray charles orchestra) (1956)
lee morgan/sonic boom ( 1967)
rein de graaff/confirmation (1996)
hank crawford/roadhouse symphony (1985)
james clay/cookin' at the continental (1991)
roy hargrove/the vibe (1992)
kansas city band/ a robert altman film ( 1995)
kansas city band/ kc after dark (1995)

roy hargrove/family (1995)
david fathead newman-marchel ivery-rein de graaff trio/blue greens & beans (1990)
david "fathead"newman/mr. gentle mr. cool (1994)
david fathead newman/cityscape (2005)
rh factor/distractions (2005)

Keep swinging

Hans Koert

Some sites you should have seen before leaving this page:
David "Fathead" Newman site Boss Tenors (Concert Fathead Newman en Houston Person) Now's The Time Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Keep Swinging News letter Keep Swinging Contributions

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Anonymous ADAM B MALEC said...

Bless u David!!! I hope to have as many adventures in life as you and Ray Charles.

with love,Adam Malec

4:13 AM  

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