Frankie Newton

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Frankie Newton (William Frank Newton, January 4, 1906 – March 11, 1954)[1] was an American jazz trumpeter from Emory, Virginia, United States.[2] He played in several New York City bands in the 1920s and 1930s, including those led by Sam Wooding, Chick Webb, Charlie Barnet, Andy Kirk and Charlie "Fess" Johnson.[1] In the 1940s, he played with bands led by Lucky Millinder and Pete Brown.[1] He played in clubs in New York and Boston, with musicians such as pianist Art Tatum, pianist James P. Johnson, drummer Sid Catlett and clarinetist Edmond Hall.[1]

He accompanied Bessie Smith on her final recordings (November 24, 1933), Maxine Sullivan on 'Loch Lomond', and Billie Holiday on her original "Strange Fruit" session in 1939.[1]

Between March 1937 and August 1939, eight recording sessions issued under Newton's name were produced. Three sessions in 1937 were made for Irving Mills's Variety label. In 1939, Newton recorded a six-song session with Victor, a four-song session for Vocalion, two individual one-song sessions for Blue Note, and finally one two-song session for Vocalion—14 records in all.

He also played with Art Tatum on extended versions of "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Oh, Lady Be Good!", recorded in Harlem after hours.[3] These finally came out in 1973 as part of Tatum's album God Is in the House, first on LP and later on CD.[4]

Politically, Newton was known to be a communist.[5] In homage, the communist historian Eric Hobsbawn wrote jazz criticism for the New Statesman under the pen name "Francis Newton".


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1821. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ Jennifer Wagner, "The Search For Frankie Newton", in The Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia Bulletin, Series II, No 39a, 2002
  3. ^ God Is in the House (CD liner notes). Art Tatum. HighNote Records. 1998. HCD 7030.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  4. ^ Ramsey, Doug (January 19, 2015). "Monday Recommendation: Art Tatum". Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  5. ^ Cunniffe, Thomas. "Newton, Frankie". Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2018.