Down Beat (p.61) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "THE BLESSING is a very good final album from one of jazz's legends, one whose depth and meaning increase with each listen."
JazzTimes (p.66) - "The happiest is 'Romantic Night,' with its effervescent melody line and lightly skipping cadence. Newman's sparse phrasing here creates eloquent spaces of silence..."
Personnel: David "Fathead" Newman (flute, tenor saxophone); Peter Bernstein (guitar); David Leonhardt (piano); Steve Nelson (vibraphone); John McNegon, John Menegon (bass instrument); Yoron Israel (drums).
Audio Mixer: Rudy Van Gelder.
The late David "Fathead" Newman was one of those rare musicians who could shine in almost any context--his powerful tenor saxophone made its mark in rhythm & blues (he was in Ray Charles's band for many years), rock & roll, blues, and jazz. His final recording session took place mere weeks before his death, and BLESSING is a fine last testament. It's a sturdy set of mainstream bebop with undertones of blues, gospel, and soul, Newman's tenor balancing a steely-hard sound with a breathy, romantic approach (think Ben Webster meets King Curtis). The program is a nice mix of renowned and lesser-known tunes, the band (including vibist Steve Nelson and guitarist Peter Bernstein) savvy and in the pocket.