What an apt name The Blessing is for David Newman's final recording before his death ended a long career last January (2009). He played for more than a decade with Ray Charles and alongside Herbie Mann, Aretha Franklin and Roy Ayers, among many others. For this last studio session he was in fine form. A Milt Jackson gem, "SKJ," is the set's opener, Steve Nelson's vibes providing glowing cascades before Newman swings in with a solo as brief in its measured warmth as it is satisfying. Here too and throughout the set Peter Bernstein's guitar is vigorous in a style that is direct as it mixes blues and bebop.
One of the sweetest, funkiest 70s sets from reedman David Fathead Newman – an album that has the saxophonist blowing over some great arrangements from William Eaton – who brings in a full sound that almost gives the album a soundtrack sort of vibe! Newman's tenor, alto, and flute get plenty of solo space throughout – and the richer arrangements by Eaton really bring in a strong set of feeling to the record – a depth that David wouldn't have been able to achieve on his own, and which really seems to influence the level of his solos. Other players are great too – and include Richard Tee on organ, Cornell Dupree on guitar, and Bernard Purdie on drums – and the set includes a number of tracks by Allen Toussaint, including "Yes We Can Can", "Happy Times", and "Freedom For The Stallion". Other titles include "Missy", "You Can't Always Get What You Want", and "Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong".
As a teenager, David Newman played professionally around Dallas and Fort Worth with Charlie Parker's mentor, Buster Smith, and also with Ornette Coleman in a band led by tenor saxophonist Red Connors. In the early '50s, Newman worked locally with such R&B musicians as Lowell Fulson and T-Bone Walker. In 1952, Newman formed his longest-lasting and most important musical association with Ray Charles, who had played piano in Fulson's group. Newman stayed with Charles' band from 1954-1964, while concurrently recording as a leader and a sideman with, among others, his hometown associate, tenor saxophonist James Clay.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. The sessions that resulted in Bigger & Better feature Newman with a string section and studio musicians for forgettable versions of two Beatles songs, a pair of Sam Cooke R&B pieces and a couple of lesser items. David "Fathead" Newman probaly is not the best saxophone player you will ever listen to. But he is a lyrical player and he has such a signature sound that you just got to love him. Like Hank Mobley, David "Fat Head" Newman kinda gets lost in the shuffle when you compare him to Sonny, Trane, Dexter, or even Stanley Turrentine!
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. This recording comes from three live gigs Junior Mance played at one of New York's better jazz watering holes, the room at the top of The Gate, during September 1968. The four cuts on the album were selected from ten tunes actually taped, but which never made it to the final release. If any of the six that ended up on the cutting-room floor came close to these performances, then some awfully good jazz was wasted. Right from the first track, it's clear this is going to be a top-quality and high-energy outing.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Early work from David Fathead Newman – so early, the cover has him listed as "Dave" on the front! The album steps nicely off Newman's early work with Ray Charles – and does plenty to establish him as a leader on his own – putting Newman's bold, soulful tenor right upfront in the mix – and backing him with small combo players who include Marcus Belgrave on trumpet, Norris Austin on piano, and Hank Crawford on a bit of piano! There's a deep undercurrent that's mighty nice – almost a rootsier quality than on other Newman albums – and titles include "Cellar Groove", "Hello There", "Alto Sauce", and "Scufflin'".
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. David Newman's first album as a leader – recorded under the Ray Charles banner, and featuring Ray himself on piano! The set's a really surprising one – as it's much more jazz-based than we'd expect, given the Charles connection – and really steps out with some lively solo work that goes way past the usual Ray Charles groove. The group's a small one – with Newman on alto and tenor, Ray on piano, Bennie Crawford on baritone, and a young Marcus Belgrave on trumpet – and the tunes have a really solid soul jazz approach, one that sounds a heck of a lot more like a late 50s session for Prestige Records than it does for Atlantic!
Reissue with 24-bit digital remastering. Comes with a mini-description. Sweet electric grooving from David Newman – a great little album cut with Roy Ayers on vibes and Pat Rebillot on electric piano – both of whom bring a very different feel to the set than Newman's work of the 60s! The style is warm and tight, but never too smooth – as there's these sharp edges and a slightly sinister undercurrent that you don't really find in some of David's other records of the period. Rhythm is by Ron Carter on bass and Andrew Smith or Roy Brooks on drums – plus added percussion from Armen Halburian, who kicks in a slight Latin essence on some numbers – which adds to the hipness of the grooves. Titles include nice versions of Roy Ayers' tracks "Foxy Brown" and "Sweet Tears", plus the cuts "Brandy", "Song For The New Man", "Baby Rae", and "Let Me Know".
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. A great take on the classic European mode of presenting an American tenorist with local trio backing – a date that has pianist Rein De Graaff providing rhythm for the duo of David Newman and Marchel Ivery! Newman's tenor opens up with a freer, more spontaneous vibe than on some of his more composed albums of a few years before – and he plays some especially nice flute at points, with this biting tone that reminds us just how great he can be on the instrument. Ivery's nice too – really getting the right sort of swing from De Graaff on piano, Koos Serierse on bass, and Erik Ineke on drums – and the players each take solos on most numbers, one track features only Newman, and another only Ivery.