Farnell Newton
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Farnell Newton

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
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Trumpeter/composer/leader/teacher Farnell Newton could not be busier, although he’s trying to be. A professoship at Portland State, playing in multiple bands here and everywhere (he was in the Soul Train Awards Band), working in just about every genre on earth, raising a house full of kids, recording with others and now releasing a new album which reflects all of that. In addition, he runs a music school. Read the OMN story on his school PDX Jazz Project.
Calling him ubiquitous is putting it mildly. Calling him diverse is to diminish his wide openness to every kind of music imaginable. Be it straight ahead jazz, smooth jazz, Latin music, soul, and hip hop (his specialties), he always seems to play the right stuff. - Oregon Music News


If you haven’t heard the name Farnell Newton I’m not surprised because this is a musician that is more concerned with the music then accolades from fame. He is the classic model of strive for perfection and you just might achieve greatness. As professor of Jazz Trumpet at Portland State University coupled with the numerous performers that he plays with on the regular basses. This debut CD is a step in that direction “Class Is Now In Session” is what its title suggests. As you listen to the CD your taken on a very flavorful musical journey were Mr. Newton expressed his love for music, you get a taste of his childhood this presentation is an eclectic blend of soul, pop, funk, Hip hop, and jazz. This CD provides a fresh needed music education that we don’t often get. With songs like “Everything is Clear” featuring a phenomenal pianist Jarrod Lawson “Class Is Now In Session” is a different musical presentation to categorize some CD’s is a musical atrocity, which I cannot perform good music is just good music. I have been following Farnell Newton for about four years now every since I started a jazz podcast called “The Jazz Suite.” From time to time Mr. Newton would either work on a CD or debut a song or two and when he mentioned that he was working on his own CD I became curious about what it would sound like. I must say I was caught of guard in a pleasant way with what was presented. On my steering wheel scale I have to give it 5 out of six steering wheels this CD is divers fun and has it’s own story to tell. - The Jazz Suite


Over the last decade or so there have been an influx of a newer form of Jazz that incorporated elements of hip hop and R&B. Hidden Beach Unwrapped might be one of the more well known entries into this style with their "Unwrapped" series. Other releases include Branford Marsalis' group "Buckshot Lefonque" and their release "Music Evolution", and Brooklyn Funk Essential's "Cool and Steady and Easy".

I've always been a fan of music that combines elements of various genres to create their own style. Whether it's hip hop and rock or whatever, that's always been something I like. And now Farnell Newton's debut release "Class Is Now In Session" is another successful entry into this genre mixing category.

Farnell Newton's debut album, is simply put, good music. A hip cool amalgamation of hip hop, jazz, funk and soul. With several features on here such as singer Toni Hill, and production by Dookie Green, this is a lively foot tapping, head nodding affair.

"Baby Names" is a very smooth entry, and Hill's voice can best be summed up in four words, coincidentally the first four words of her verse, "Candy Apple Sugar Sweet". Her voice is very sweet and sounds perfect accompanying Newton's trumpet. "The Bluest Eyes Revisited" has Newton providing an update to an earlier song of his "The Bluest Eyes, and it's a nice way of sort of crossing the bridge from traditional jazz to the more hip hop influenced jazz as it begins with his original version, only to give in to the scratching of a record and then the new updated version begins playing signaling a new direction.

I've known Newton for awhile, having met him on an internet forum years back. I've followed his career as he became Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Portland State University, and as two of his five children were born, and now with his album. So knowing these things about him, when I first got the review copy and saw the track listing, I kind of smiled. Because several of these songs absolutely came from his life.

Beautiful songs like "Daddy's Little Girls" and "A Child Not Yet Born" no doubt are drawn from his personal experiences, which is what any serious musician does: Draws from life experience. Whether you are John Coltrane, Miles David, Chet Baker or any of the legends, or you're an up and coming musician, the best music is music from the heart. Music that means something to you, so that when you play, and you really get into it, the audience knows. They sense that this is a personal thing. That you're not simply going through the motions.

It's liking hearing Mary J. Blige singing No More Drama. You know the meaning of that song, you know the emotions embedded into the fabric of those lyrics, and how they relate to her life, and so when you see her singing that, and you watch that video and see the tears going down her face, you know it's real. That's not manufactured, that's not faked. You can't fake that real raw emotion. - Searching for Chet Baker


On first listen, you might think that "Sense of Direction," the debut disc from the Farnell Newton Marcus Reynolds Quintet, is a remastered recording from the post-bop 1960s. Trumpeter Newton and pianist-composer Reynolds probably wouldn't mind the comparison.

But while the sound may court earlier generations, it's not derivative, sounding both retro and contemporary. The musicianship is superb, and the original compositions are on par with what's happening at the national level.

Each tune is a mini-journey in jazz, ebbing and flowing in a tide of chordal and rhythmic activity. It kicks off with "The Two Larrys," a double horn melody with Newton and saxophonist Tim Wilcox sharing an angular melody that flows across the ear with a sense of relaxed adventure. Newton's trumpet is fluid and mellifluous, and the restrained backing by Reynolds, drummer Jason Brown and bassist Ameen Saleem gives the two soloists plenty of room to explore.

The disc travels through a roving jazz waltz, a multi-tempo, upbeat bopper, a slinky-slow swinger and a modal groover, "The Bluest Eyes," which deftly pulls and releases tension. Reynolds is a fine pianist with an ear for avant-garde-leaning melodic sensibilities. His compositions have a sense of exploration.

While the textures and musicianship are at high levels, there is a sense of too much restraint. A touch more zing would bring a greater sense of emotion to the disc.

The album, which recalls such artists as Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver and Wayne Shorter, marks locals Newton and Reynolds as a rising force.

Artist: Farnell Newton Marcus Reynolds Quintet
Grade: B+
Label: Diatic Records - The Oregonian


Regular working bands in jazz are a rarity. Tightly coiled, muscular units that rev and handle with the momentum of a Galaxie 500—that's another thing altogether. Trumpeter Farnell Newton (a veritable hitman for Afincando, Klezmocracy, Liv Warfield, et al.) co-leads this excellent quintet with fleet-fingered pianist Marcus Reynolds, and the result is a joyfully swinging update of the two-horn front line. This group's live performances are off the chain: Expect the same from their newly released debut. TIM DUROCHE. - WIllamette Week


Regular working bands in jazz are a rarity. Tightly coiled, muscular units that rev and handle with the momentum of a Galaxie 500—that's another thing altogether. Trumpeter Farnell Newton (a veritable hitman for Afincando, Klezmocracy, Liv Warfield, et al.) co-leads this excellent quintet with fleet-fingered pianist Marcus Reynolds, and the result is a joyfully swinging update of the two-horn front line. This group's live performances are off the chain: Expect the same from their newly released debut. TIM DUROCHE. - WIllamette Week


Trumpet player Farnell Newton and pianist Marcus Reynolds recently released Sense of Direction, an album of immaculate, classic-sounding jazz originals that turns the clock back decades.

In fact, listening to the album conjures up images of nightclubs populated with men in dapper suits, women dressed to the nines and a cocktail in every hand.

If you’re craving something sophisticated and refined but not stuffy, you’re in good hands with Newton, Reynold and the rest of their quintet. - Portland Tribune


Discography

Farnell Newton • Class Is Now In Session • 2011

Tony Ozier • Beatgalore Vol.1 • 2011

Bootsy Collins • Da Funk Capital of the World • 2011

Iman Williams • Stupid Human Tricks • 2010

Doo Doo Funk • Doo Doo Funk All Stars • 2010

Hidden Beach • Unwrapped Vol. 7 • 2010

Ben Medler Septet • Of this time • 2009

Portland Jazz Orchestra • Good Morning Geek • 2009

Beatclub Mixtape • 2008

Pete Krebs Trio • 2008

Willie Vlautin • A Jockeys Christmas

Thara Memory • Chronicles • 2008

Sirens Echo • 2008

Othello • Alive at the Assembly Line • 2007

Caña Son • 2007

Liv Warfield • Embrace Me • 2006

Stolen Sweets • 2006

Mike Van Liew • Polyglot • 2004

Gordon Lee • FLying Dream • 2004

Libretto • Ill-oet • 2004

Oberlin Jazz Ensemble • 1999

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Bio

Farnell Newton, Composer/Trumpeter, was born on March 21, 1977, in Miami, Florida, where he was exposed to many forms of music, including jazz, salsa, funk, and hip-hop.
Currently, Farnell Newton is performing with the Mike Phillips band. He also recently performed as trumpeter for the 2009, 2010 Soul Train Awards house band, which played with notable artists, such as Erykad Badu, Ledisi, Chaka Khan, Fantasia, Charlie Wilson, Bootsy Collins, Ron Isley, Brian McKnight, Johnny Gill, Raheem Devaughn, Chrisette Michelle, Boyz II Men, R Kelly, and many more.

In conjunction with his work as a performer and producer, Farnell is also developing and maintaining a multicultural, jazz education program in metropolitan Portland. In the summer of 2009, he started the PDX Jazz Project. The PDX Jazz Project is an organization for youth ages 13 to 18, designed to preserve and forward the history of jazz music through performance, education, and community events. In just a short amount of time, the group has recorded a CD and has had several performances and fundraisers for local school foundations in Oregon.