Phineas Newborn Jr: Here is Phineas (1956) London /Atlantic


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)

Duke Paecock Progressive Jazz 500

Phineas Newborn Jr:  Discography as leader (Source: Wiki)

Year recorded Title Label Notes
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


1353512229_b2753df71ee14ad2a46b91e7b20abcdc[1]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.

cover_557[1]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.


London LKT-K 1507 Decca New Malden. Dependable Decca pressing, originally released in the US  on Atlantic 1235, a van Gelder recording as a bonus., the only one we know of on Atlantic.


Collectors Corner:

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.






9 thoughts on “Phineas Newborn Jr: Here is Phineas (1956) London /Atlantic

      • Phew… Thanks for clearing that up; for a second I thought that the single malts had ruined a braincell or two too many 😛

    • I’m fresh out of superlatives, Dott, but I have some more on order. Fantastic. genius, uniquely talented…
      Strange that Wiki on Phineas should be so light on information. Good old Jazzdisco lists many more titles, though not all meet the criteria of PN as leader, though some certainly seem to. Watch this space, two new acquisitions of Phineas coming soon.

  1. Wiki made an omission: Phineas recorded at least two albums for Roulette. One of them is shown in the article next to where you mention the “marketing problem”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s