Tony Newton Historical Biography
“Antonio Newton, super genius, will go down in history as one of the most vital path-forgers of our era” …Music critic Randali of Mean Street Magazine.
Tony Newton, has experience in certain areas that make it almost impossible to play anything else; and that anything else is what I didn’t want to hear anyway. He worked eight years with Motown, so he had to play a certain way. Like Allan Holdsworth, he not only plays long beautiful lines, but at the same time he plays very rhythmically. Some bass players are busy playing the bass as if it’s another guitar. That’s fine with me, except that it wasn’t what I wanted for the band..…Tony Williams
History notes that a fallen apple was the inspiration for Sir Isaac Newton’s Theories of universal gravitation. But legendary fusion master-musician-composer Antonio (Tony) Newton, founder of Los Angeles-based TNT Xtreme funk-rock-fusion orchestra vanguard, — never had much time for apple orchards. Recording studios and concert stages were his classrooms. John Lee Hooker, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Gary Moore and Tony Williams (Miles Davis) were his classmates. Drawing from this wealth of experience and professional relationships, Newton has emerged as a multi-talented composer/producer and musician (vocals, electric bass, and keyboards) and applied his pioneering concepts in harmony theory and composition to successfully integrate a variety of musical genres. Strap yourself in for some heart stopping, spirit moving, mind-bending musical expression.
Profusely creative, high energy, innovative, sensitive yet dynamic would be a few terms that could describe the artistry of music prophet Antonio (Tony) Newton, who stands as one of the most progressive, creative and influential music artists of this contemporary music era! If music was a “box of colored crayons”, Newton has expanded the color palette ten-fold. His rich, expanded sounds, extended chordal developments and harmonics, along with his historic rhythmic vocabulary delivers the listener into a mind opening experience. His concerts additionally feature the “Novaphonic Sound” – Newton’s acclaimed discovery of richly resonant system of Quartal and Quintal harmonics, never previously explored to this depth, both artistically and scientifically recognized body of work as a true evolution in music harmony.
Chances are you’ve heard Newton, a performer on over 25 million selling Gold recordings. Born and raised in Detroit MI., Newton began his career first on piano at age seven, beginning professionally at the tender age of thirteen, playing bass guitar with blues legends John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, Little Walter and other classic artists on the urban blues circuit. This was not without receiving initial recognition as an accomplished saxophone and woodwinds player in various orchestras and ensembles. Newton gained swift acclaim as one of the Midwest’s most prominent bassists through his association with Motown records. Newton was discovered by Motown executive Hank Cosby while playing in Detroit Blues clubs at the age of 16. He was chosen to replace James Jamerson as touring bassist with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles so that Jamerson could concentrate on studio recording exclusively. Within two years Newton became Music Director for Smokey. He also toured with all of the Motown artists such as: Diana Ross and the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Four Tops, Temptations, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Spinners, and others. While at Motown from time to time, playing with the “Funk Brothers” he left his trademark of solid, hard driving, and deftly clever grooves on such timeless hits as “Where Did Our Love Go”, “Baby Love”, “Stop In The Name Of Love”, “Nowhere to Run” on the east coast, and on the west coast, “ABC’, “Never Can Say Goodbye”, “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, and many others. Also a little unknown fact is that Newton and James Jamerson played together as 2 basses simultaneously on the above Motown Hits. Newton was also the bassist for the famed 1965 European Motown Review tour, mentioned in the film, “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” (not Bob Babbit).
In the following years, Newton gained swift acclaim as a prominent bassist in the music industry through his fat bass sound, infectious lines, and solid grooves on many hit recordings for Motown, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Warner Bros, CBS, Atlantic and others, continuing in the tradition and inheriting the musical bass torch of his mentor and friend, Motown staff bass legend, the late, great funk brother, James Jamerson. Newton (known as the baby funk brother, being the youngest at 16) went on to establish himself as one of the most versatile musician-composers-producers in his field. He recorded and toured with rock, pop and r & b’s most celebrated figures — Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson (whom he served as bassist and music director,) Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Little Richard and many others. Newton was staff bassist for the talented songwriting-producing team Holland-Dozier-Holland and their Invictus-Hotwax label playing on several hits for artists, Freda Payne, 100 Proof, 8th Day, and others. Tony played on other Detroit recording studio-labels classic hits ie: Stax “The Dramatics, What You See is What You Get”, “Johnny Taylor’s, Part Time Lover”, and more. He also gained recognition as one of the founding fathers of fusion, as bassist-composer-vocalist in the acclaimed jazz-rock fusion group: “The Tony WiIIiams Lifetime” penning the fusion classics, “Snake Oil”, and “Red Alert”, sweeping the globe with their intense, high-energy, complex style, cited historically in the “Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll.” He was also an integral member of British hard rock group “G-Force” with veteran guitarist Gary Moore. The multi-talented Newton fondly remembers these times as “special” when reflecting back as this is when he met and worked with Sharon Arden-Osborne, his then manager, and Ozzie Osborne showing up at some of G-Force’s English concert tour gigs (The Osborne’s beginnings). Newton’s prolific talents include writing and producing classic rock songs and instrumentals. These include, “You Kissed Me Sweetly”, and “I Trust Your Loving”, “Dancing.” Newton, degreed in classical composition and piano from LACC and Mt. St. Mary’s College, of Los Angeles, his formidable keyboard artistry featured in the Novaphonic series music catalog, are used in many film and video soundtracks, i.e.: “The Martin Luther King Awards,” and “Fields of Wrath”, The Cesar Chavez plight of farm workers story. Newton is also a former touring music director, keyboardist, and producer-writer (“Hold On”) for Grammy Award winning vocalist, Thelma Huston. Performing professionally for over 3 legendary decades, from rock, funk, soul, fusion and new age jazz, from soundtracks to a Summit Symphony in seven movements, from inspiring solo piano and keyboard performances to masterly, heart thumping, power packed, high energy bass grooves, like we said earlier, chances are you’ve heard contemporary adult music artist-icon Antonio Tony Newton
Continuing in the commercial rock tradition of his former group, Interscope recording artists “Newton’s Law,” however now using the addition of expanded orchestrations and arrangements, as well as a new level of high-energy intensity, hip-hop rhythms and complex instrumental compositions along with masterful hit crafted songs of romance, love, and personal challenges in life complete this powerful music formula. Being a true creative recluse, in his spare time, Newton, a prolific composer-songwriter of a massive body of musical works including the landmark “NOVAPHONIC SOUND” theory series, an innovative scientific music harmony discovery by Newton, is also an avid computer enthusiast and author-writer of over fifteen books on music, computer tech, philosophy and self-help. Additionally, he lectures, conducts workshops as well as teaches privately and at local schools and community colleges occasionally.
Additionally, Newton’s bass work is featured on Academy Award winning movie soundtracks to include “Breathless” and “An Officer and a Gentleman”. Performing professionally for over 3 legendary decades, from rock, funk, soul, fusion and new age jazz, from soundtracks to a Summit Symphony in seven movements, from inspiring solo piano and keyboard performances to masterly, heart thumping power-packed, high energy bass grooves, like we said earlier, chances are you’ve heard legendary bassist Antonio (Tony) Newton. Tony came full circle returning to his Detroit roots hit making music and legendary musician friends the “Funk Brothers,” getting the call from Jack Ashford touring the world with them for a year and a half.
The Michelangelo of piano and keyboards, he leaves you awestruck with his dense and broad spectrum of sounds. He plays with a profoundly dynamic emotional range and highly innovative, creative expression. His years as a bassist and bass clarinetist have developed Newton’s strong rhythmic fortitude and given him a strong and vibrant approach to deliver dynamic, monster left-hand bass parts on piano. He also studied privately with keyboard scholar Dr. Howard Barr and Olga Leitmekov, who have direct links to historical master classical composer-keyboardists, Donanyi and Chopin. He received an appointment as Dean of Electronic and Commercial Music at the University of Sound Arts and taught MIDI at Los Angeles City College Community Services.
“What I’m trying to do is push aside old thinking patterns and thoughts about music and really put some new thinking and awareness about sound, composition, and presentation, as well as tuning into your own possibilities and reaching toward higher paths. I am a big believer in the human potential movement.”
A master of both music and word, Newton’s lyric content reaches deep philosophical levels of prose and meaning while musically achieving new frontiers of creative compositional expression in sound, form, style and technique. Rock hard and ferociously funky songs like “Love and Money”, “One People One Planet”, a World Peace offering, from “Thunderfunkfusion”, his first album and “STS”, “DR. DANCE”, “YO PEOPLE” his latest blockbusters from the “White Light Collection”, and his epic thirteen minute song. “Follow Your Heart”, along with high-energy impact instrumental compositions such as Newton’s searing rock production-arrangement of classic master composer, Gustav Holst’s “Mars” from his legendary Symphony, “The Planets,” along with powerful Newton originals “Sunset Crusin” and “Hollywood Bop“, finds the “INCOMPARABLE” TONY MAESTRO NEWTON delivering a dynamic and enlightening blend of emotionally charged, heartfelt musical performances providing eclectic music lovers worldwide with a profound and exciting listening experience in recordings or concert “on point” with innovative 21st century music mastery and universal global appeal!
In concert, as a solo performer or in any of his diverse ensembles, Antonio L. Newton explodes with talent and high-energy musical excitement. He stands as on of the most progressive and creative, influential artists of this contemporary music era.
* Music with vision – NA Music Guide,
* Antonio Newton, a monumental master MS Magazine, Los Angeles