Farnell Newton

Feel The Love

Farnell Newton comes at jazz with a wider, more encompassing view than most. The trumpeter best known for creating the social media group Jam of the Week (which now has some 70,000 members), and hosting his jazz radio show on KMHD in Portland, Oregon, has had his heart in jazz throughout his career, even while playing and touring with a range of artists that spans funk bassist Bootsy Collins, soul singer Jill Scott and many others.

Newton blew into New York City from his home in Portland to record Feel The Love with the backing of Art Hirahara on piano, Boris Kozlov on bass and Rudy Royston on drums — a group affectionately known as the house rhythm section for Posi-Tone Records. The album has the feel of post-bop grittiness and experience Newton has earned from years on road and ears that are wide open to the new. Now in his mid-40s, the trumpeter and composer has a firm grip on the music he makes. The 11-song collection on Feel The Love features five of his original tunes, but doesn’t lean on old chestnuts to fill out the scorecard. Instead, Newton selects work by living, working composers on the scene today. His friend and musical co-conspirator Marcus Schultz-Reynolds contributes two beautiful pieces, “Litoral” and “Force Of Gravity.” Hirahara offers his tune “Laws Of Motion” to the mix. The Monkish playfulness of “Lawn Darts” by bassist Peter Brendler delivers an outside-in breath of joy. But the group’s take on John Scofield’s “I’ll Catch You,” with a tight groove and guest appearance by alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, stands out. So does Sean Nowell’s tune “Pale,” with strong appearances by Shaw and trombonist Michael Dease. Newton’s original tunes shine, too. The title track slides in as a driving swinger. “Affectionately Roy” is a strong addition to the canon of new music written in the memory of trumpeter Roy Hargrove. “A Child Not Yet Born” evokes the jazz noir balladry of another time and place. “The Bluest Eyes” honors author Toni Morrison’s book The Bluest Eye. And the closer, “Our Chosen Family,” speaks to the community of musicians the trumpeter has embraced and been embraced by over the years. Newton wears writing and playing like he wears his heart: on his sleeve as an artist of true passion.

On Sale Now
August 2022
Jon Batiste
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