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David “Fathead” Newman: Keep the Spirits Singing

Newman’s latest record teams him with the remarkable rhythm section of pianist John Hicks, bassist Steve Novosel and drummer Winard Harper. Added to the mix on three tunes are trombonist Steve Turre and percussionist Steve Kroon.

This lively group gets off to a swinging start on the title track, a Latinish number marred only by Kroon’s incessantly clanging cowbell. Turre has a rich, ripe sound that is well-suited to this dancing piece and he leaves just enough meat on the bone for Newman to chew on during his tenor solo. Besides tenor, Newman also plays flute on two tunes: the very cheery Hicks waltz “Life,” and his own catchy “Cousin Esau,” which is set to what Fathead calls the listen-here beat: “It’s a four-beat rim-shot figure played on the snare drum.”

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