David “Fathead” Newman came to Spirit bringing five decades and more than thirty albums of acclaimed recorded work, ranging from deep soul to hard bop to commercial jazz.
The renowned saxophonist, who got his start in Texas clubs working with Ornette Coleman and Red Connors, moved in a soulful direction in the early ’50s via collaborations with Lowell Fulson and T-Bone Walker. This led to a ten-year stint with Ray Charles during which he established himself as both a leading accompanist and soloist and an accomplished band leader and recording artist in his own right.
David recorded actively through the ’60s and ’70s, turning out a series of sets for Atlantic Records – including the widely hailed ‘House Of David’ and ‘Newmanism’ – that ranged from gritty, hyper-rhythmic pieces to more melodic, orchestrated fare. He also continued to make his mark as a session player, adding his unique sound to classic recordings by such seminal artists as Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, and Dr. John. He remained prolific into the new millennium, releasing eight discs since 2000 spanning bop, soul/jazz, and swing and including tributes to Ray Charles, Herbie Mann, and the city of New York.