born on 27/4/1933 in Memphis, TN, United States
died on 1/12/2018 in Jacksonville, FL, United States
He was the brother of pianist Phineas Newborn Jr. (1931–89), with whom he recorded between 1953 and 1958. They also formed an R&B band, with their father Phineas Newborn Sr. on drums and Tuff Green on bass. The group also included Willie Mitchell and Ben Branch.
The group was the house band at the Plantation Inn Club in West Memphis, Arkansas, from 1947 until 1951. The group recorded as B. B. King's band on his first recordings in 1949, and also the Sun Records sessions in 1950.
Newborn gave guitar lessons to Howlin' Wolf and was friends with Elvis Presley, who frequented his gig at the Plantation Inn Club two nights a week. Presley also used to eat at the Newborns' house and browse their music store for gospel records.
The group left West Memphis in 1951 to tour with Jackie Brenston as the "Delta Cats" in support of the record "Rocket 88". It was considered by many to be the first rock and roll record ever recorded, and was the first Billboard number one record for Chess Records.
Following this he played with Earl Hines starting in 1959. In the early 1960s, he toured with Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Forrest, Wild Bill Davis, Al Grey, and Freddie Roach, along with fellow Memphis jazz luminaries including Booker Little, George Coleman. Frank Strozier, and Louis Smith. Newborn also worked with Ray Charles, Count Basie, Hank Crawford and David "Fathead" Newman. Since the 1970s Newborn had remained mostly in Memphis, Tennessee, where he played regularly in local clubs well into the 1990s. His 1980 album Centerpiece hit No. 35 on the U.S. Billboard jazz albums chart, but much of his earlier material was not reissued on CD until 2005. He lived most recently in Jacksonville, Florida, and continued to perform throughout Northeast Florida until his death.
According to family members, Calvin Newborn died in Jacksonville on December 1, 2018, aged 85.
- 1993 From the Hip (Rooster Blues)
- 1998 UpCity (Omnifarious, reissue 2005)
- 2005 New Born (Yellow Dog)
- 2011 Clazz (Classical Jazz) (Omnifarious) with Kenny Levine
With Phineas Newborn, Jr.
- Here Is Phineas (Atlantic, 1956)
- Phineas' Rainbow (RCA Victor, 1957)
- Fabulous Phineas (RCA Victor, 1958)
With Hank Crawford
- Centerpiece (Empire, 1978)
- Midnight Ramble (Milestone, 1982)
With Jimmy Forrest
- Sit Down and Relax with Jimmy Forrest (Prestige, 1961)
- Soul Street (New Jazz, 1962)
- Midnight Lady Called the Blues (1986)
With Freddie Roach
- All That's Good (Blue Note, 1964)
- 1958 Booker Little 4 & Max Roach, Booker Little
- 1960 Earl's Pearls, Earl Hines
- 1962 One More Time, Wild Bill Davis
- 1963 Having a Ball, Al Grey
- 1965 Secrets of the Sun, Sun Ra
- 1966 At His Best, Lou Donaldson
- 1980 Little Healthy Thing, Billy "The Kid" Emerson
- 1982 How Blue Can You Get, Linda Hopkins
- 1988 Mouth Harp Maestro, Big Walter Horton
- 1989 Live at the Metropole Cafe, Lionel Hampton
- 1990 Strange Kind of Feelin, Jerry McCain
- 1992 Pictures and Paintings, Charlie Rich
- 1999 A Tribute to Nat King Cole, James Austin
- 2000 Who I Am, Charlie Wood
- 2005 Al Grey and Dave Burns Sessions, Bobby Hutcherson
- 2006 1951–1954, Ike Turner
- 2006 Blues d'Azur, B.B. King
- 2006 Cool Cool Blues: The Classic Sides 1951–1954, Sonny Boy Williamson II
- 2007 The Mistreater, Jackie Brenston
- Reinartz, Joe (December 2, 2018). "Jazz Figure Calvin Newborn Dies". CelebrityAccess. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
- Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 247. ISBN 978-0313344237.