August 2006

Gala with David “Fathead” Newman
at the Toronto International Dance Festival
August 16, 2006The Fermenting CellarToronto
Jazz, How It Moved Me
by Paul J. Youngman with photo by Roger Humbert
I recently caught a show at the Toronto International Dance Festival featuring legendary jazz great David “Fathead” Newman, Dance And How It Moves You. Along with Newman were dancers extraordinaire Brenda Bufalino (tap dancer) and Esmeralda Enrique (flamenco dancer), as well as contemporary break-dancer Jason York. The show took place August 16, 2006 at the Toronto Distillery in the underground cavern known as the Fermenting Cellar.
Newman was accompanied by Frank Kimbrough (piano), John Menegon (acoustic bass), Mark McLean (drums) and vocalist Teri Roiger. The MC for the evening, Jazz.FM radio personality Jaymz Bee, introduced Mr. David “Fathead” Newman to the stage where he received a warm welcome. Newman took a moment to thank the audience and explain what would be happening, setting the tone for a very laid back time of experimentation and enjoyment of the arts. Then, taking his seat and adjusting his microphone, he began to solo on tenor saxophone, a smooth, clean tone on a beautiful melody, “A Nightingale Sang In Barkley Square”. After a few bars the band joined in, providing great support and very tight playing. The tap dancer Bufalino, strutted her stuff. She is a commanding presence, at one with the music. She danced a story, history, building to a discovery.

The band and dancers performed some great classics. In “This I Dig Of You,” Enrique took her first solo, using Palmas (hand claps) to get the audience into it. Her footwork is very dynamic, very strong. The pianist Kimbrough was totally into it, playing within the syncopated rhythms that Enrique hammered out between Palmas and footwork. Other great tunes performed included, “Take The A Train,” “Ole Devil Moon,” and “Oleo.”

David “Fathead” Newman (2003)
Terry Roiger came on to add her vocals to the show, singing a tune called “String Stockings”. Her scatting to Bufalino’s tapping and Enrique’s clapping was very nice. The song “Hard Times”, a great blues tune, had everybody dancing up a storm in a free for all. Bass player Menegon has a solid style; he can play it melodic, syncopated or hard driving. On this tune he seemed to be pushing the feel along and driving the dancers with a bottom-end pulse that had everybody hopping. John Menegon is the primary reason that the band appeared tonight, he is brother to Toronto International Dance Festival artistic director Michael Menegon.

It was great to see Newman playing flute on a tune by Brown and Roach named “Delilah,” very smooth. He would also delight us with his skilful alto saxophone playing on “Willow Weep For Me.”

McLean, the drummer, settled into a groove, nice accents, followed by silence, wonderfully vivid full-toned drums, cymbals that sounded spectacular — very bright. The rhythm section was grooving, the joy was flowing, a swinging meeting of dance and music. There was not a person in the house who did not find delight in some component of this masterful fusion. It was a night filled with the tradition of jazz tap dancing, the fire and spirit of flamenco dancing with its marvelous syncopation, and the beat of the street, where attitude kicks and break-dancing battles gravity to the sound of David “Fathead” Newman.
We welcome your comments and feedback
Paul J. Youngman
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Roger Humbert
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The Live Music Report

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