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  Listen Up! 10/8/03 Listen Up!

Wednesday, Oct. 8

David “Fathead” Newman, “The Gift,” High Note Records. Who’d a thunk a new David “Fathead” Newman record could be this good? The presence of John Hicks on piano and Buster Williams on bass might have been a clue; those guys are guaranteed to elevate any jazz session a couple notches. The real drive of this group, however, seems to come from vibraphonist Bryan Carrott. Yeah, I agree. Who’s he? Only a guy who seems capable of lighting a fire under Newman, to push him just past the complacent smoothness of so many of his records for the last , I don’t know, thirty-plus years. Newman plays flute, soprano, alto, and most deliciously, tenor saxophone. Nothing earth-shattering here, but a solid effort from a very talented veteran.

--Steve Pick

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