b. 2 February 1958, Glasgow, Scotland. As a child Newton took lessons on piano, clarinet and bassoon, but while studying at the Leeds College of Music he decided to concentrate on piano. After playing in various bands as a semi-pro, he secured his first professional engagement leading a trio at a restaurant in Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1978. Around this time Newton also played in numerous other bands, ranging musically from traditional jazz to funk, from strict-tempo dance bands to classical. In the early 80s he worked extensively in the theatre, especially with Scarborough-based playwright Alan Ayckbourn. Newton then returned to Scotland, and from a base in Edinburgh quickly established himself as a rising star of the jazz world. He played in backing groups for many visiting jazzmen, including Art Farmer, Bud Shank, Shorty Rogers and Nat Adderley. He also recorded with Buddy De Franco. By the late 80s he had settled in London, recording with Alan Barnes, the Jazz Renegades, Martin Taylor, with whom he toured India, and also playing club dates with Andy Cleyndert, Don Weller, Spike Robinson and others.
At the end of the decade he became accompanist and musical director to Carol Kidd, recording with her and making numerous concert appearances. During the 90s, Newton worked to great effect with Clark Tracey and Tina May. An outstanding talent, Newton’s wide-ranging experience has ensured that he is at home in most musical settings. Despite his eclecticism he has developed a distinctive and distinguished personal style.