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David Fathead Newman

DAVID "FATHEAD" NEWMAN was born in Dallas Feb. 24, 1933. He is one of a handful of big-toned tenor saxophonists considered great "Texas Tenors." A childhood teacher called him "Fathead" for flubbing an arpeggio, but Ray Charles preferred to call him "Brains." Ground-breaking work with Charles in the 50s followed stints with Buster Smith, T-Bone Walker and Lowell Fulson.

In 1958 Fathead recorded the timeless hit "Hard Times," part of a ten year relationship with "Brother Ray." You can hear Bird's sophistication with an R & B groove on that tune. Newman's music blends a rare balance of educated perfection and raw emotion, regardless of which horn he's playing. No musician could better represent R & B, the blues and jazz combined.

In 1990, Fathead received a Grammy nomination. He continues to work with Herbie Mann. He was selected to portray Buster Smith (Charlie Parker's mentor) in Robert Altman's movie, "Kansas City" in 1995. The same year he recorded "Mr. Gentle, Mr. Cool," with Ron Carter on bass. In 1998 he received the "1998 Pioneer Award" from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation.

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Last modified 11 June 2004
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