Friday, February 24, 2023

Vendredi Gras: David "Fathead" Newman 90


David "Fathead" Newman - Pharaoh's Gold

I have returned with three more big ones for February, before the big redesign where I shift to all bootlegs of Hawai'ian Slack Key guitar artists.... no I am kidding. About the Slack Key guys. There's a big graphic redesign coming though, because 10 years is enough for this page to be this ugly.

For now we'll resume Black History Month postings with this milestone birthday celebration for a dearly departed and highly versatile pillar of the music of our age.

He began as Ray Charles' right hand man at the peak of Ray's powers in the mid 1950s.

The musical director of Ray's band during the heady years of the early 1960s, he went on to join Herbie Mann before settling into a long career on his own and as one of the most in-demand session players in the history of recorded music.

Known as a premier exponent of the soulful-toned tenor sax, like Mann his real weapon was always the flute, and his funky excursions on that instrument helped set the template for that sound.

He died in 2009 of pancreatic cancer, after making 40 albums solo and performing on so many records they may never all be counted.

So today we celebrate the legacy of David "Fathead" Newman, born this day in 1933 and still echoing across the collective soundscape of everything.

Billy Taylor Trio + David "Fathead" Newman
"Billy Taylor's Jazz!"
Terrace Theater
Kennedy Center
Washington, D.C. USA
taped Spring 1998
first aired 4.20.1998

01 Billy Taylor intro
02 Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise
03 interview
04 Cousin Esau
05 interview
06 Under a Woodstock Moon
07 interview
08 Prelude to a Kiss
09 interview
10 Cookin' At the Continental
11 Billy Taylor outro

Total time: 55:57

David "Fathead" Newman - tenor saxophone & flute
Billy Taylor - piano
Chip Jackson - bass
Steve Johns - drums

192/48k webstream from the NPR archives
converted to 16/44 CD audio and tracked -- with volume boosted throughout -- by EN, February 2023
278 MB FLAC/direct link

The Billy Taylor FM broadcast -- swinging as it is -- is really just a beard for the other item I placed in the folder, which is a jam-packed 2CD retrospective of all of Fathead's funkiest and filthiest tracks from his 1970s solo LPs, many of which have never seen the light of day as physical reissues in the digi-age.

I'm gonna finish out February after Fat Friday here with two more tasty treats, including a big super centennial soirée coming up on Monday.

I wouldn't go skinny on Mr. Fathead here though, especially with that compilation I made especially for the occasion lurking in that folder, ready to funk up your weekend as only he could!--J.

2.24.1933 - 1.20.2009