David "Fathead" Newman was never a jazz purist. The big-toned saxman held jazz and R&B in equally high regard, and he was as comfortable playing hard bop and soul-jazz as he was backing Aretha Franklin or Ray Charles. Newman recorded more than his share of commercial projects in the 1970s; one of the more memorable ones was 1973's The Weapon, which was produced by Joel Dorn and finds the Texan on tenor and alto sax as well as flute. Far from a bop album, this instrumental soul-jazz LP isn't for jazz purists. But from a soul-jazz perspective, The Weapon is generally enjoyable. Unfortunately, Dorn tends to overproduce, and Newman would have been better off without all the excessive string arrangements that William Eaton burdens him with. But even so, Newman really lets loose on the funky "Missy" and gets in some meaty, memorable solos on "Drown in My Own Tears," the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and the Pointer Sisters' "Yes We Can Can." Despite its flaws and imperfections, The Weapon is recommended to those who like their jazz laced with a lot of R&B.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson