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I attended his San Diego concert last Tuesday. Small theatre about 200 seats. He is great! Tone, ideas,lots of depth. Little flash or wild stuff. Very unique style. Approachable,warm. Sitting through the tunes I went back and forth between analysis and just grooving on the music.

Here was this old man playing beautifully. Goldfinger,Naima,Wonderful World, A Night in Tunisia and more. A Duke Pearson tune I forget. Newman had a local pickup band-piano,bass,drums. There was some slight stiffness the first 2 numbers and then they settled in and went into high gear.

He talked a bit between songs. Spoke about Ray Charles and others now gone. I could see Newman "thinking" between well placed phrases in his solos. No self conciousness about spaces between sound. Sometimes it seemed he was spaced out and would be caught off guard coming back into the head after a drum or bass solo. But no, there he was right on time or just a tiny fraction behind the beat,relaxed but right there. Hard to explain. I could easily do this if I let myself! Stop soloing like the earth is about to spin into the Sun! Newman made reference to this in an interview before the concert. "Let the music breathe" he said.

Newman played flute on several selections. Most interesting. He played it with gusto, like a tenor sax! I have not heard anyone sound so "ballsy" on flute, he tore into it. What a trip! I'm buying a flute to double on. He also has a BIG sound on alto. On tenor he was more mellow and smokey sounding. The room had very good acoustics.

At one point it struck me as very sad that here was a real deal tenorman without his own band. The tickets were $10 and they shoulda been $50. How much more could be done with the same sidemen at hand on a permanent basis. We always want more,don't we? But the players he had were total pros and what did go down was righteous. So, no sadness,really. An old master pouring it out right in my face. WOW! It was over too soon. It took me a week to really process it and I keep learning things,mostly very subtle, in the recounting. Helluva night.
 

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Fathead does have his own quintet usually. He mostly uses John Menegon on bass, and I think he's using Yoron Israel on drums. He used to use John Hicks on piano I believe, but I don't know who he's been using recently.
 

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Check out Fatheads "I Remember Brother Ray" recording. This guy is a very great player and someone I learn from and enjoy in equal measure.
 

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He is worth infinitely more than $10 a ticket , I love the way he ' lets the music breathe ' and his tone is to die for. Glad to hear he still cuts it like that.
A legend lives.
 
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