Farnell Newton, Composer/Trumpeter, was born on March 21, 1977, in Miami, Florida, where he was exposed to many forms of music, including jazz, salsa, funk, and hip-hop. Moving to Philadelphia in 1992, he attended the High School of Creative and Performing Arts (C.A.P.A.) and gained more exposure to and experience with the music he truly loves — jazz. While in Philadelphia, Farnell also learned a lot from his uncles, saxophonist/arranger Conny Murray, and Sunny Murray, “the father of avant-garde drumming.”
Re-locating to Denver in 1994, Farnell graduated from the Denver School of the Arts and then moved to Ohio to study at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. At Oberlin, Farnell studied Music Performance with an emphasis in jazz with Wendell Logan and trumpeter Kenny Davis. Farnell Performed with many musicians, including Aretha Franklin, James Moody, Marvin Santiago, and Muhal Richard Abrams, during his time at Oberlin.
After graduating from Oberlin, Farnell moved to Portland, Oregon, where he has performed regularly with musicians such as Mel Brown, Thara Memory, Bobby Torres, Johnny Polanco, Ricardo Lemvo, and Darrell Grant, to name a few. In 2006, Farnell released his first album, ”Sense of Direction,” co-led by pianist Marcus Reynolds on Diatic Records. From 2007-2009, he served as Graduate Assistant of Music Performance at Portland State University (P.S.U.) under the direction of Charles Gray and Darrell Grant, and in 2009, he finished his Master’s Degree of Music in Jazz Studies and was hired at P.S.U. as Professor of Jazz Trumpet.
In conjunction with his work as a performer and producer, Farnell is also developing and maintaining a multicultural, jazz education program in metropolitan Portland. In the summer of 2009, he started the PDX Jazz Project. The PDX Jazz Project is an organization for youth ages 13 to 18, designed to preserve and forward the history of jazz music through performance, education, and community events. In just a short amount of time, the group has recorded a CD and has had several performances and fundraisers for local school foundations in Oregon.
Currently, Farnell Newton is performing with Liv Warfield, Mike Phillips band and touring Internationally with 3 time grammy winning singer/songwriter Jill Scott and Legendary Rhinestone Rock Star Bootsy Collins. He also recently performed as trumpeter for the 2009-11 Soul Train Awards house band, which played with notable artists, such as Erykad Badu, Ledisi, Chaka Khan, Fantasia, Charlie Wilson, Bootsy Collins, Ginuwine, Brian McKnight, Johnny Gill, Raheem Devaughn, Chrisette Michelle, Boyz II Men, Melanie Fiona, and Ryan Leslie and many more.