JazzTimes is pleased to present the premiere of trumpeter Brian Newman’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” featuring Lady Gaga. This moody version of the Bennie Benjamin/Horace Ott/Sol Marcus classic, first made famous by Nina Simone and the Animals, is available on Newman’s debut album for Verve, Showboat, released Nov. 16.
The players on this track, in addition to Newman and Gaga, are saxophonist Steve Kortyka, pianist Alex Smith, bassist Daniel Foose, and drummer Joe Peri.
Newman’s connection with Lady Gaga goes back to the early 2000s, when both were struggling to establish a music career in New York. A recent transplant to the city from Ohio, Newman was bartending at St. Jerome’s on the Lower East Side; Gaga (then just Stefani Germanotta) was a customer and performer there. The two bonded over their mutual love of jazz, and as the years passed, they stayed in touch. Eventually, Newman nabbed regular residencies for his quartet at the Plaza Hotel and Gramercy Park Hotel. Gaga became a pop superstar and hired her trumpet-playing friend for a number of plum gigs: the Today show, a Radio 1 Festival in the U.K., and most recently, co-production chores on “La Vie en Rose,” featured in the film A Star Is Born.
The most important of these engagements turned out to be Gaga’s 2014 duets album with Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek, on which the two singers were backed by Newman’s quartet. Impressed by the trumpeter’s abilities, Bennett’s son Dae produced his debut album, 2016’s Eyes on the City, and then signed him to Verve.
Besides “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” Showboat also features Newman’s takes on “Pennies from Heaven,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” Tom Waits’ “Jockey Full of Bourbon,” Beck’s “Tropicalia,” and the Newman original “San Pedro.”
For more information on Brian Newman, go here.