Newton, James (Weldon )
- E. Ron Horton
(b Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 1953). American flutist and composer. He is best known for his work as a jazz flutist. His most popular album, African Flower (1985, BN), covers the works of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn and won Album of the Year in the Downbeat International Critics Poll in 1986. Newton has received many Downbeat Awards as Jazz Flutist of the Year (1982–2004) and multiple ASCAP Standards Awards for classical composition. As a high school student he studied with the well-known Los Angeles jazz musician Buddy Collette. While attending California State University at Los Angeles, where he studied classical flute and graduated in 1980, he was also an active jazz performer, playing with Stanley Crouch, David Murray, Lester Bowie, and Cecil Taylor. Newton’s skill and musical openness has allowed him to grow seamlessly into multiple musical spheres. He has led a variety of jazz ensembles under his own name as well as the Luckman Jazz Orchestra, based in California, and has frequently performed in ensembles with such musicians as the pianist Jon Jang, the tenor saxophonist David Murray, and the pianist Anthony Davis. He has also collaborated with musicians as diverse as Chet Baker, Jack DeJohnette, Stanley Turrentine, and Stevie Wonder. As a composer his efforts are just as varied, with classical works including ...