David "Fathead" Newman: Hard Times
David 'Fathead' Newman (alto sax)
Fathead: Ray Charles Presents David 'Fathead' Newman (Atlantic 1304)
Bennie Crawford (baritone sax), Edgar Willis (bass), Milt Turner (drums) ..
Composed Paul Mitchell and George V. Johnson, Jr..
Recorded: New York, November 5, 1958
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
By the late 1950s, jazz had become recognized as an art form . . . and was losing its mainstream audience. But you can't blame David "Fathead" Newman for that. His 1959 debut as a leader, released with a little help from Ray Charles, grabbed listeners by the lapels and wouldn't let them go. "Hard Times" was a very popular track, and remained a signature song for Newman for the rest of his career. And you can easily understand why. Newman tempers his jazz with a double dose of R&B, and his very strong outing on alto is supported by Mr. Charles himself at the piano. This type of jazz was able to please the serious fans and delight the casual listener. It still does today.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia
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Tags: 1950 jazz