196

Mike Phineas Newborn, Jr.: The Piano Artistry of Phineas Newborn / Phineas' Rainbow

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count

Phineas, we hardly knew ye...

Whiteville, Tennessee native Phineas Newborn, Jr. swam in a pool of mental and physical challenges most of his professional life. Between the mid-1950s and the mid-'70s, Newborn was to bob to the surface to produce one masterpiece after another. Technically brilliant, Newborn was probably a bit closer to the aesthetic of Bud Powell (both personally and professionally) than Art Tatum, while possessing the depth and breadth of both. That would make him close to Oscar Peterson. Newborn's playing, in general, is uniformly tasteful, devoid of vain flourishes and grandiose displays of his considerable technique.

Koch Jazz has recently released two of Newborn's finest recordings. Here is Phineas was originally released as Atlantic LP 1235, recorded May 3and 4, 1956 and Phineas' Rainbow was originally released as RCA LPM 1421, recorded between October 16th and 22nd, 1956. These two recordings boast all that is good about Newborn and makes a serious case for any piano enthusiast obtaining both discs. Phineas Newborn is notable for recording jazz standards, those songs composed by jazz musicians who found themselves added to the Canon. On Here is Phineas, these would include, Charlie Parker's "Barbados," Bud Powell's "Celia," John Lewis' "Afternoon in Paris," and Clifford Brown's "Dahoud." Phineas' Rainbow offers Harold Land's "Land's end," George Shearing's "She Means Everything to Me," and Chano Pozo's "Tin Tin Deo."

Both recordings are trios with Newborn's brother, Calvin Newborn, joining on electric guitar. Here is Phineas pairs the brothers with Be Bop creators Kenny Clark and Oscar Pettiford. The result is a swinging affair that turns the Be Bop Anthem "All The Things You Are" upside down and then played (arrangement-wise) backwards. Newborn's well-conceived ideas issue forth just short of a torrent, always maintaining the good taste he was renown for. George Joyner and Philly Joe Jones support Phineas' Rainbow. Newborn turns in a spooky "Angel Eyes" and assertive "Land's End." He recasts Pozo's "Tin Tin Deo" as a Caribbean breeze. Totally neglected today, Phineas Newborn in his prime was the Southern answer to Bud Powell. Any of his releases, even the shaky ones, are worth having. Like Bud Powell, Newborn was a loss too early.


Track Listing: The Piano Artistry...: Barbados; All The Things You Are; The More I See You; Ceclia; Dahoud; Newport Blues; I'm Beginning To See The Light; Afternoon In Paris. (Total Time: 37.19). Phineas' Rainbow: Overtime; Angel Eyes; Come To Baby, Do; Stairway To The Stars; Land's End; Clarisse; She; Tin Tin Deo; Autumn In New York; What Is This Thing Called Love. (Total Time: 37.19).

Personnel: The Piano Artistry...: Phineas Newborn, Jr.: Piano; Oscar Pettiford: Bass; Kenny Clarke: Drums; Calvin Newborn: Guitar. Phineas' Rainbow: Phineas Newborn: Piano; George Joyner: Bass; Philly Joe Jones: Drums; Calvin Newborn: Guitar.

Title: The Piano Artistry of Phineas Newborn / Phineas' Rainbow | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: KOCH International Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Right Up On" CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "Happy Juice" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Juice
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 4, 2017
Read "Soulmation" CD/LP/Track Review Soulmation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 28, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.