Frankie Newton

Frankie Newton (William Frank Newton, January 4, 1906 March 11, 1954) was a jazz trumpeter from Emory, Virginia.[1] 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. In the 1940s he played with bands led by Lucky Millinder and Pete Brown. 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.

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.

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 "Lady be Good", recorded in Harlem after hours. These finally came out in the 1970s as part of the God is in the House Tatum album, first on LP and later on CD.

Personal life

Politically, Newton was known to be a communist.[2] (In homage, the historian Eric Hobsbawn wrote jazz criticism for the New Statesman under the pen name "Francis Newton".)


  1. Jennifer Wagner, "The Search For Frankie Newton", in The Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia Bulletin, Series II, No 39a, 2002

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