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First of all, let me begin by saying that I'm a very blessed person to be in a radio career, where I've had the luxury of meeting beautiful cats such as David "Fathead" Newman. Newman was born in Corsicana,Texas. I first met him in 1980 at a music store in Dallas (my home at the time). I went there to buy some alto reeds. The store owner told me, "If you wait a few minutes, you'll be able to meet David "Fathead" Newman." He was on his way to the store. I stayed and was able to meet him, however brief. On that day, little did I know that some 2 years later, I landed my own jazz program and ended up interviewing David "Fathead" Newman twice during my radio career. I found David Newman to have been one of the warmest people in jazz. His tenor sound generated that same warmth. Newman was one of the last of the 'Texas Tenors'. His soulful style of playing is not something that one hears in the 'Young Lions' of today. It's truly a style of playing that is not being carried on by any one player. In the mid-90s, during my first radio interview with David, he had reminisced about how his not-so-flattering nickname, "Fathead", got it's birth. He was in his elementary school band and had memorized all the music. He had his sheet music upside down on his music stand and when his band teacher noticed, he exclaimed, "Well, you big fathead!" When David's classmates caught wind of this, the nickname took hold. Newman was portrayed in the inspirational movie Ray, a powerful motion picture that was Ray Charles' honest recollection of his life. Newman's tenor and alto saxophone were an integral part of the music of Ray Charles. Oddly enough, I was able to interview him the very day that Ray Charles had died, as he was in town during our jazz festival. He told me that he owed everything to Ray Charles, as he gave him his first big break in the music business. The jazz world lost David Newman, as he died on January 20, 2009, in Woodstock, New York, after a year long battle with pancreatic cancer. His home in Woodstock was a place he was very fond of. In his long career, Newman recorded many times as a leader. The jazz world gratefully has many recordings of David "Fathead" Newman, so his musical spirit will keep singing. -TP 



On the air since 1982.