Selection: Dahoud (C.Brown)
Phineas Newborn Jr. (piano) Calvin Newborn (guitar) Oscar Pettiford (bass) Kenny Clarke (drums) recorded NYC, May 3-4, 1956
Atlantic 1235, Phineas’s first major recording as leader, though his first outing was three years previously in 1953, on Peacock’s Progressive Jazz 500 recording “How High The Moon” – I imagine a super-rarity on Ebay. (1931–89)
Phineas Newborn Jr: Discography as leader (Source: Wiki)
|1956||Here Is Phineas||Atlantic||Quartet, with Calvin Newborn (g), Oscar Pettiford (b), Kenny Clarke (d). LP 1235, SD 1235|
|1956||Phineas’ Rainbow||RCA||Quartet, with Calvin Newborn (g), George Joyner (b), Philly Joe Jones (d). LPM 1421|
|1957||Phineas Newborn Plays Jamaica||RCA Victor||With orchestra: Ernie Royal (tp), Nick Ferrante (tp), Jimmy Cleveland (tb), Sahib Shihab (as, bars, cl, bcl), Jerome Richardson (ts, fl), Les Spann (g), George Duvivier (b), Osie Johnson (d), Francisco Pozo and Willie Rodriguez (per). LPM 1589|
|1958||Fabulous Phineas||RCA||Quartet, with Calvin Newborn (g), George Joyner (b), Denzil Best (d). LPM 1873|
|1958||We Three||Prestige/New Jazz||With Roy Haynes and Paul Chambers|
|1961||A World of Piano!||Contemporary||Trios, with Paul Chambers (b), Philly Joe Jones (d); Sam Jones (b), Louis Hayes (d). S7600|
|1964||The Newborn Touch||Contemporary||Trio, with Leroy Vinnegar (b), Frank Butler (d). S7615|
|1969||Please Send Me Someone To Love||Contemporary||Trio, with Ray Brown (b), Elvin Jones (d). S 7622|
|1976||Back Home||Contemporary||Trio, with Ray Brown (b), Elvin Jones (d). C 7648|
|1976||Look Out – Phineas is Back!||Pablo||Trio, with Ray Brown (b), Jimmie Smith (d). 2310-801|
Last recording 1976 after an absence of seven years earns the soubriquet “He’s back!” It’s always a giveaway when a record shouts “So and so is Back!” Seems a regular with some players like Howard McGhee – “Maggie’s Back!”, one who has been languishing (ahem) “indoors” in the big house for a few years. In Phineas ‘s case, the number of extended absences – five years here, seven years there, Wiki picks up the story:
Newborn’s later career was intermittent due to ongoing health problems, from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s, (Newborn) faded from view, underappreciated and under-recorded. He made a partial comeback in the late 1970s and early 1980s, although this return apparently failed to benefit his financial situation. He died in 1989 (cancer) ..Newborn’s plight spurred the founding of an association dedicated to helping with the medical bills and other financial needs of retired jazz greats…
Developing a growing fondness for Phineas, I recently picked up the 1969 recording with the unspeakably schmaltzy title: Please send me Someone to Love, an outstanding session with Ray Brown and Elvin Jones on Contemporary Stereo, well worth the price of admission.
I sense labels had a “marketing problem” with Phineas and how to package this troubled but brilliant pianist, first Atlantic, RCA, and finally Contemporary opting for a friendly wholesome romantic persona, in search of the piano-lite boudoir-jazz demographic – no “bad Phineas” in sight. You wouldn’t catch Miles or Mingus smiling to camera like that. As is sometimes the case, you have to see past the person presented on the cover.
Always worth picking up a Phineas, never expensive, overlooked by the warhorse collectors, pack a lot of musical punch for a few pesos. Audio-wise I find these London releases do a creditable job if the original US recording is good, and you can not get a better pedigree than van Gelder.