February 02, 1999

Album Review

This single CD has all of the music from two of pianist Phineas Newborn's RCA records, except for leaving "Down Home" off from Fabulous Phineas due to space limitations. The first set is rather unusual since it was the pianist's only album with a medium-size (ten-piece) band. The ten songs are all taken from the Harold Arlen musical Jamaica, a forgotten play that did not generate any hits. Newborn and the musicians (which include trumpeter Ernie Royal, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, the reeds of Jerome Richardson, and Sahib Shihab and two Latin percussionists) play quite well, even if the material is mostly forgettable. The second half of the CD is on a higher level, a quartet date (with guitarist Calvin Newborne, bassist George Joyner, and drummer Denzil Best) that puts the focus on the leader's brilliant piano playing. In fact, these versions of "Cherokee" and "What's New" are unaccompanied piano solos; other highlights include "No Moon at All" and "I'll Remember April." This generous CD is a gap-filler since both of these Phineas Newborn albums have been out of print for quite some time.
Scott Yanow, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Savannah
  2. Little Biscuit
  3. Cocoanut Sweet
  4. Push de Button
  5. Napoleon
  6. Hooray for de Yankee Dollar
  7. For Every Fish
  8. Take It Slow, Joe
  9. Pity the Sunset
  10. Pretty to Walk With
  11. Sweet Lorraine
  12. What's New?
  13. Pamela
  14. 45 Degree Angle
  15. No Moon at All
  16. I'll Remember April
  17. Cherokee