The call came in 1954: Dallas saxophonist DAVID “FATHEAD” NEWMAN was being asked to join a band. On the phone, a young RAY CHARLES , who had befriended Newman on the road years earlier. Newman took the gig. It was work. It also became a career. PURE GENIUS: THE COMPLETE ATLANTIC RECORDINGS (1952–1959) (Rhino) presents every moment from the start of this decade-plus partnership and includes Newman’s long-out-of-print debut, Fathead: Ray Charles Presents David Newman . On those tracks Newman interprets swing and ballads in post-bop fashion (proving himself to be much more than an R&B shouter) as Charles comps beautifully on piano. Elsewhere, you hear Newman on Charles’s early hits and forgotten gems, while gospel and blues combine for the origins of soul. This is an indispensable eight-disc set of some of the finest American music ever made.