Remembering David "Fathead" Newman

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Published on: January 27th, 2009

photo of David "Fathead" NewmanSaxophone great David "Fathead" Newman passed at the age of 75 on January 20 after battling pancreatic cancer.

He got his start in the mid-1950s with Ray Charles, with whom he remained for over a decade.

photo of David "Fathead" NewmanAfter his own star began to rise in 1958 with the album Fathead: Ray Charles Presents David Newman (Atlantic), he began working with King Curtis and Eddie Harris.

Later on, his recording career led him to record with legends including Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, and Dr. John.

He released many albums featuring his aggressive tenor sax tone right up until 2008's Diamondhead (High Note). 

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Since we are in Louisiana don't overlook Fat Head's work with Percy Mayfield on Ray Charles' Tangerine label. I did a tribute to those sides Tuesday on my New Orleans music show

I also remember his great work with Herbie Mann

Thanks for the memories.

His tone was awesome. I particularly liked the Bluesiana Triangle recording with Art Blakey and Dr. John. How could you ask to play with a better, but yet diverse set of players?

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