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David “Fathead” Newman: Diamondhead

At 75, Texan tenor/alto saxophonist and flutist David “Fathead” Newman is still kicking muscular licks and humorous asides like a kid hanging with the likes of those he played with throughout his formative years, Lowell Fulson and Ray Charles. Some of the tension and earthy grit may be gone, replaced by a grooving warmth. But the soul of a hard-bop head and R&B honker lingers long through this, Newman’s most cosmopolitan-sounding effort. That last statement’s a mouthful, what with Newman’s busy 21st century already crowded with seven strongly elegant albums before Diamondhead, including the ardent emotional I Remember Brother Ray.

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