"Merging his early love of bebop with a more lyrical, harmonically freer
idiom reminiscent of Wayne Shorter, Newell has found his voice."
While Jeff Newell delights music lovers with
his distinctive interpretation of American music, he continues to enhance and develop
his sound - a lifetime endeavor for a true professional.
acclaimed sound embellishes Jeff Newell's New-Trad Octet, where he is able to
share his wry sense of humor and distinct saxophone voice on original
compositions as well as on his uniquely contemporary arrangements of historic American music.
Though his formal education is completed, Newell believes his musical
learning never ends. In 1978, armed with a music degree - conferred with
distinction - from the University of Nebraska and with a year of graduate
school under his belt, he moved to Chicago to continue that education
through additional study and playing jazz clubs and festivals. In the summer
of 1994, always eager to expand his musical horizons, Jeff relocated again
to New York City to take advantage of the opportunities only the "Jazz Mecca
of the World" can provide.
Newell spent two years studying with
nationally-acclaimed jazz performer and educator Bunky Green and a year with
well-known teacher and tenor man Joe Daley. In 1989 he received a National
Endowment for the Arts jazz study fellowship to study in New York with
master jazz musician David Leibman.
His on-the-job experience had begun
early as a member of the Neoclassic Jazz Orchestra, touring Europe fresh out
of college. In Chicago, Newell became a constant fixture in that city's jazz
venues and has had the honor of working with many of its best known
musicians. In April of 1993, the Jeff Newell Quartet was awarded second
place in the Cognac Hennessy Jazz Search "Best of Chicago" contest, out of
over 60 entries. Newell has performed on numerous Chicago Jazz Festival
stages (in 1993 and 1995 with his own groups) and has fronted his own band
on the jazz stage of Chicagofest. He has brought his sound to the Newport
Jazz Festival in Madarao, Japan, and has performed at the Mellon Jazz
Festival in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. He also has played the Jazz Oasis at
Milwaukee's Summerfest, and has worked the Clocktower Jazz Festival in
Rockford, the Elkhart Jazz Festival, and many other Midwest jazz events. He
was invited home in 1991 and 1994 to perform as a guest soloist with the
Nebraska Jazz Orchestra.
In time for Mardi Gras 1994, Jeff formed the
New-Trad Octet as a vehicle for his arranging skills and to pursue his
interest in the rich musical history of New Orleans. Conceived to blend the
traditional "second line" New Orleans brass band with a modern rhythm
section and a fresh approach to harmony and improvisation, the New-Trad
Octet was immediately met with critical acclaim. Jeff continues to keep the
octet and his quartet busy in clubs and festivals throughout the country,
while still enjoying the role of sideman with such performers as Kevin
Mahogany and Marshall Vente. Jeff can also he heard in New York City on most Friday evenings at the world Famous Birdland Jazz Club with the Friday Night Big Band.
In addition to giving clinics, master
classes, and adjudicating student jazz festivals, Newell has shared his
musical knowledge as a faculty member at the American Conservatory of Music
and is currently the Coordinator of the Jazz Faculty at the Brooklyn Music School, where he
teaches woodwinds, jazz improvisation, and coaches jazz ensembles.
Jeff also became a part of the music ministry at Brooklyn's New Baptist Temple in 1996, serving as
worship leader and Coordinator of Music and Worship from 2000 to 2005 and is a member of the Christian Jazz Artists Network. All of these activities being
part of his dream "to contribute something to the music - to be an influence
- and to pass it on."
Adding to Newell's credits are the people he has
worked with. He has played on stage or recorded alongside such jazz names as
Ron Carter, Cedar Walton, Phil Woods, Charles Earland, Houston Person, Brian Culbertson, Johnny
Coles, Von Freeman, Ira sullivan, Paul Wertico, Paul Smoker, Bobby Broom,
Fareed Haque, Richie Cole, Don Menza, Terrance Blanchard, Bobby Watson, and Kevin
Jeff Newell selected discography:
Jeff Newell's New-Trad Octet: "Brownstone," Blujazz Records - BJ3352
Jeff Newell: "Jack the Ripper," IGMOD Records - IGM49806-2
Charles Earland: "Whip Appeal," Muse Records - MC5409
Guy Fricano: "The New York Sessions," AFP Records - GF81242
Damon Short: "All of the Above," Southport Records - S-SSD 0028
Andre Caporaso: Pathways," Blue Room Records - BRR005
Jeff endorses Rico saxophone reeds and uses their "Rico Reserve" products.
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