Frankie Newton

Frankie Newton, trumpet, was born in Emory, Virginia on January 4, 1906 and died in New York on March 11, 1954. Frankie Newton, a fine and soulful trumpet soloist, was a recording artist from the early thirties and forties. He played on Bessie Smith’s last recording session in 1933, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” session, and Maxine Sullivan’s 1937 hit, “Loch Lomond”. He was also a member of Blue Note’s Port of Harlem Jazzmen and played an important role in the creation of the John Kirby Sextet. He was later recorded with Mary Lou Williams, James P. Johnson and others. His combination of chronic illnesses, a short temper, and a passion for Communist principles may have prevented him from achieving the recording and performing opportunities that his talent would have allowed. Newton was an intellectual who had many interests. These included philosophy, literature, and the visual arts. He could swing as well or worse than any of his contemporaries. However, he preferred to be muted. Newton was also the first to learn the flugelhorn. Unfortunately, no recordings exist of Newton playing the smaller, more mellow horn. George Wein, a jazz impresario, was one of Newton’s closest friends. His autobiography Myself Among Other contains valuable information about the trumpeter. Jennifer Wagner’s monograph The Search For Frankie Newton contains important biographical information. The Jasmine (UK), double CD, The Story of a Forgotten Jazz Trumpeter, is a great introduction to Newton’s music. The set also includes Newton’s masterpiece “The Blues My Baby Gave To Me”. From

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