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David Fathead Newman Has Gone

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David Fathead NewmanSaxophonist David “Fathead" Newman, whose blend of jazz and inimitable Lone Star soul made him an integral part of Ray Charles' orchestra and served him through dozens of impressive leader dates, passed away from pancreatic cancer yesterday.

The news came as a surprise to many jazz fans, as Newman had been highly productive in recent years, releasing a CD a year on the HighNote label, and there had been little publicity about his illness.

He was a beloved player (a kind of gateway jazz musician for numerous listeners who discovered him through his recordings with Charles) and by all accounts a man who could have claimed as his own moniker the title of a Duke Ellington song he once recorded: Mr. Gentle, Mr. Cool.

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This story appears courtesy of Night Lights Classic Jazz.
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