Trumpeter Frankie Newton, whose mellow and thoughtful style sometimes seemed somewhat out of place in the swing era, had a relatively brief but artistically rewarding career. He had stints with Lloyd Scott (1927-1929), Cecil Scott (1929-1930), Chick Webb, Elmer Snowden, Charlie Johnson, and Sam Wooding, and appeared on Bessie Smith's final recording session in 1933. Newton worked with Charlie Barnet's short-lived integrated band in 1936 and with Teddy Hill, before briefly becoming closely associated with bassist John Kirby and his associates. The eventual John Kirby Sextet would have been the logical place for the trumpeter, but a falling out in 1937 ended up with the younger Charlie Shavers getting the spot in the commercially successful group. Newton instead played for Mezz Mezzrow and Lucky Millinder, led a few record dates (including participating in a set for Hugues Panassie), and worked at Cafe Society, accompanying Billie Holiday on several of her records (most notably "Strange Fruit"). As the 1940s progressed, Newton became less interested in music and gradually faded from the scene, painting more than playing, dying a forgotten and under-utilized talent. ~ Scott Yanow
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