David Newman Texas 1933 - New York 2009

David Newman Texas 1933 – New York 2009

Ray Charles needs no introduction. His version of “Unchain My Heart” with the Raelettes is cool and tight where Joe Cocker’s is raucous, sprawling. It makes for a rather different interpretation of the song.


On that 1961 track, the sax player is David (‘Fathead’) Newman. Newman was a jazz player on tenor sax and flute. Beginning in 1954, he spent 12 years with Charles, and then joined the band of jazz flautist Herbie Mann for a 10-year stint.

He was a well-known hard bop jazz player in later years – playing with Stanley Turrentine, and with Cannonball Adderley as producer, for example – but he played very widely. The roll call of those with whom he recorded – Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Queen Latifah, Dr John, Manhattan Transfer – demonstrates that he has nothing to prove. His debut album, recorded in 1958, released in 1960, and introduced by Charles, who also plays piano on the album, is a more R&B-tinged offering.

The intention “was to find some swinging numbers, not too far out, that everybody could understand and enjoy, and still show off the best qualities of each member of the band.” Here is their rendition of Dizzy Gillespie’s Latin dance track Tin Tin Deo, with Marcus Belgrave on trumpet, Bennie Crawford on baritone sax, and Edgar Willis and Milton Turner on bass and drums.

Tin Tin Deo