Trumpeter Farnell Newton is one of the most versatile musicians in the Pacific Northwest, playing straight ahead jazz, smooth jazz, Latin music, soul, hip-hop, funk and more. Newton's latest album, Back To Earth (Posi-Tone 2017), displays his love of jazz and fea- tures his all acoustic band of Portland based all-stars. Newton shows the jazz scene his love of the music with eight originals, a couple tunes by influential composers and one song by drummer Christopher Brown.
Newton was born in Miami, Florida, and moved to Philadelphia in 1992, where he at- tended the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. While in Phil- adelphia, Newton also studied with his uncle, saxophonist/arranger Conny Murray and from his uncle Sunny Murray, who was one of the early avant garde's most inventive and influential drummers.
Newton graduated from the Denver School of the Arts after moving to Denver in 1994 and then moved to Ohio to study at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. At Oberlin, Newton studied music performance with an emphasis in jazz with Wendell Logan and trumpeter Kenny Davis. Newton performed with Aretha Franklin, James Moody, Muhal Richard Abrams, and Hugh Ragin while at Oberlin.
After graduating from Oberlin, Newton moved to Portland, Oregon, where he performed regularly with Billy Hart, Pete Krebs, Willy Vlautin, and Ricardo Lemvo. He got a master's degree in Jazz studies and Performance from Portland State University.
When he is not teaching at PSU's Jazz Department, leading his funk band The Othership Connection, or hosting his own jazz radio show at KMHD, he is touring, recording, and sharing the stage with Skerik, Lettuce, Slightly Stoopid, Karl Denson, Galactic, Nigel Hall, Mike Phillips, the DooDooFunk All-Stars, BET/CENTRIC Soul Train Award All-Star Band, & many more. Newton also hosts the popular Jam Of The Week podcast and runs the cre- ative clothing line Northwest Soul Academy.
In the last few years, Farnell has been touring with three time Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Jill Scott and with the Legendary Rhinestone Rockstar Bassist "Bootsy" Collins. In previous years, Farnell has performed with great musical artists, including Lalah Hathaway, Ron Isley, R. Kelly, Cee Lo Green, Fantasia, Gladys Knight, Charlie Wilson, Chaka Khan, Najee, Will Downing, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind and Fire, and many more.