David "Fathead" Newman, a jazz saxophonist who was a key member of Ray Charles' band for a dozen years and later became a high-profile session player, has died. He was 75.Sad news. Rest in peace, gentle brother.
Newman died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer at a hospital in Kingston, N.Y., according to his wife and manager, Karen Newman.
Newman's saxophone can be heard on many of Charles' landmark hits, including "I Got a Woman," "What'd I Say" and "Lonely Avenue." And it was Charles who helped Newman get his first album as a leader with the 1958 Atlantic Records release "Fathead: Ray Charles Presents David Newman."
Newman was born in Corsicana, Texas, on Feb. 24, 1933, but grew up in Dallas, where he studied first the piano and then the saxophone.
He earned the nickname "Fathead" from his high school band teacher because he stubbornly refused to learn to read music, preferring instead to take it in by ear.
He went off to Jarvis Christian College on a music and theology scholarship but quit school after three years and began playing professionally, mostly jazz and blues, with a number of musicians, including Buster Smith, Lloyd Glenn, Lowell Fulson and T-Bone Walker...