From Bob Corritorie
January 22, 2009
- RIP David "Fathead" Newman 2/24/1933-1/20/2009: Legendary Sax Man David "Fathead" Newman passed Tuesday from pancreatic cancer. He was 75. Born in Corsicana, Texas in February 24, 1933, Fathead soon moved to Dallas with his family, where he studied music in high school and college. In his travels as a musician, he met a young yet undiscovered Ray Charles, in what would become a defining relationship in Fathead's life. In I954, Fathead joined the Ray Charles group, starting as a baritone player, but soon becoming the star tenor soloist in the group. His great sounds grace many great Ray Charles records, and his tenure in the band lasted 12 years. 1959 saw the release of the now famous album Ray Charles presents "Fathead" on Atlantic Records, which secured a star status for Fathead for the rest of his life. He went on to record numerous records as a leader for Atlantic as well as High Note, Kokopelli, Warner Brothers, Prestige, Amazing, Timeless, and Muse. In addition to his great work with Ray Charles during Ray's historic Atlantic years, Fathead also recorded with T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Mann, Natalie Cole, and many others. David "Fathead" Newman was equally at home in jazz or blues, and his soul-drenched, full-toned, breathy sax work has helped to define the role of a sax player in a rhythm and blues setting. His music has given the world great joy, and his impact and influence will be timeless. A true legend has left us. To see Fathead performing with Ray Charles in 1963, click here.