Joe´s Music Rack
Part of

Way Down Blues

Joe Newman

Joe Newman - Way Down Blues Joe Newman - Way Down Blues
33MNewman J1

Honey Dew...HD 6612...[1977]...33 1/3 LP...Stereo

Side 1
1) Comin´ Home Baby - Tucker/Dorough...10:25
2) Tangerine - Schertzinger/Mercer...10:07

Side 2
1) Way Down Blues - Newman...7:32
2) I´ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face - Lerner/Loewe...10:44

HoneyDewHD-6612a label Joe Newman - Way Down Blues HoneyDewHD-6612b label Joe Newman - Way Down Blues


Joe Newman

Way Down Blues

Way Down Blues Where does one begin to talk about a superb musician who has become a personal friend?
Do you start with his musicianship, his myriad accomplishments, his experience, his influence on others? Or do you tell about how he helps young people start on a career in music and journalism?

The decision is made all the easier when he comes up with a collection of tunes such as are on this album. Each one deserves a complete discussion.

Joe was born in New Orleans under the same sky as Louis Armstrong, an early hero and influence. He was discovered by Lionel Hampton while in college. Joe played with the Hampton band from 1941-43 then joined the Count Basie swing machine later that year staying until 1947. Rejoining Basie, Newman stayed with the great 1950´s band until 1961 recording some of his best solos (available on Clef, later Verve, and Roulette Records).

He is president of Jazz Interactions, that organization of musicians and fans dedicated to the promulgation of the art, He has taught fledgling, neophyte and professional musicians both the ways of their instruments, the music and the business of the music. Newman is also a stalwart of the studios and has appeared in too many Broadway show orchestras to mention here. He is, in effect, a consummate musician whose playing is always perfect and often inspired.

His small group work sparkles with his vivacity and he picks his sidemen with care. The current combo is no exception, particularly Ross Tompkins. Now living in Los Angeles, playing in the Tonight Show band, Tompkins is a more than competant soloist. His backing for the many musicians he has played with has garnered for him an outstanding reputation in that area.

The choice of material in this album includes the hit, Comin´ Home Baby. Written by bassist, now radio station executive, Ben Tucker, it made a hero out of Herbie Mann when the latter recorded it in the 1960´s, Tucker was Mann´s bassist at the time, The tune was recorded a second time with a lyric by Bob Dorough and sung by Mel Torme. It has become a jazz standard.

The Newman treatment is more up tempo´ and less "funky" than originally intended. Funky, in the ´60´s, meant earthy, not electric. With Joe´s touch it sounds like hit material all over again.

Tangerine shows Newman and Tompkins getting the most out of standard material, The tune was made famous by Helen O´Connell when she sang it with the Jimmy Dorsey band of the ´40´s.

The contrast on Side B is striking. It opens with the title track, an easy swinger very much in the manner of what jazz is all about, the blues. Everyone gets a crack at solo space, most notably bassist Russell George who walks through five choruses with ease and dexterity, after Russ has his say. The tempo doubles as Joe shows us some intricate valve and tongue technique. Tompkins picks up a cue and echoes a phrase into the quiltwork of the piece near its conclusion.

The "My Fair Lady" smash, I´ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face, has some of Newman´s finest ballad artistry, It is here one can discern his musical ancestry. For a minute we hear shades of Louis and Bobby Hackett, but it is all Joe creating his own mood.

Russ´s spot is particularly interesting in that he utilizes single note runs interspersed with block chords, thereby altering the colors of the solo.

Each time I hear this particular track I find myself applauding a record machine. I trust you will too.

arnold jay smith

* Joe Newman - Trumpet * Ross Tompkins - Piano * Russell George - Bass * Ron Lundberg - Drums *

Album design and Cover photo: Bob Muller
Album coordinator: Arnold Jay Smith

Marketing Agent: Olde World Records - a Division of Galaxy Communications, Inc.
75 East 55 Street, New York City, N.Y. 10022
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