David "Fathead" Newman

Fathead Comes On

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This 1962 David "Fathead" Newman album picks up where 1961's STRAIGHT AHEAD left off. However, this release is slightly less bebop-oriented. Instead, Newman blends together hard bop with his own R&B roots. (He was a key member of Ray Charles's band for many years.)

FATHEAD COMES ON is a very bluesy album, but also contains its share of tricky melodies and ambitious arrangements. Highlights include "Unchain My Heart," which is the funkiest tune on the disc, and "Cellar-Groove," which begins with a clever train rhythm; here the locomotive sound is simulated by the repetitive hi-hat work of Charlie Persip and the boogie-woogie playing of pianist Norris Austin. The disc ends with "Lady Day," a tribute to Billie Holiday, which is, not surprisingly, a somber ballad. Hard-bop records from this era typically lean on the influence of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, but FATHEAD COMES ON is a statement unto itself, and therefore, a very compelling listen.

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