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Phineas Newborn Jr.

One of the most technically skilled and brilliant pianists in jazz during his prime, Phineas Newborn remains a bit of a mystery. Plagued by mental and physical problems of unknown origin, Newborn faded from the scene in the mid-'60s, only to re-emerge at irregular intervals throughout his life. Newborn could be compared to Oscar Peterson in that his bop-based style was largely unclassifiable, his technique was phenomenal, and he was very capable of enthralling an audience playing a full song with just his left hand.

He started out working in Memphis R&B bands with his brother, guitarist Calvin Newborn, and recorded with local players including B.B. King in the early '50s. Brief stints with Lionel Hampton and Willis Jackson preceded a period in the military (1952-1954). After moving to New York in 1956, Newborn astounded fans and critics alike. Although he worked briefly with Charles Mingus (1958) and Roy Haynes, Newborn usually performed at the head of a trio or quartet. His early recordings for Atlantic (1956), Victor, Roulette, and Contemporary are quite outstanding. Unfortunately, after the mid-'60s, Newborn's profile dropped sharply, and although there were further recordings for Contemporary (1969), Atlantic (1969), Pablo (1976) and the Japanese Philips (1977) label, and although he still sounded strong when appearing in public, the pianist was in danger of being forgotten by most of the jazz world during his last decade. Spending most of his time in Memphis, he was an inspiration to many younger pianists including James Williams, Harold Mabern, Mulgrew Miller, Donald Brown, and Geoff Keezer, who after Newborn's death would dedicate their work as the Contemporary Piano Ensemble to him. Fortunately, the episode of Jazz Scene USA that features Phineas Newborn in 1962 has been made available on a video by "Shanachie." ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Comments

I wish I had chops like that. Truly amazing
Love Grooveyard !!
A true unsung giant not known to many. His brother was a monster too and not even as well-known as Phineas.
gigotgvl
So long since I've heard so perfecta sound
Harold Mabern used to teach us songs and talk about Phineas non stop, even more than McCoy
love it!
linda59
Fabulous....
german_choco l a t e 5
New to me, but awesome piano. Thanks!
A Gaint,fantas t i c
The man can pay the piano !
jeffery1810
Totally new to me & WAY awesome dbl WOW,,,,thanx much Pandora..js
I've been listening to Gene Harris for several years now and never heard of Phineas Newborn, but now he is a staple in my best pianist list.
joeingoal29
OK, is it just me or would anyone else like to see consistent birthdates/d e a t h d a t e s if (applicable) ? i think it's just a basic biography data point.

Phineas can cook, too!
wgmeadows
sounds a little like the great gene harris....lo v e this guy
Fantasic pianist!! Never heard him before. What a "leff" hand!!
Phineas, here and beyond, this gift is to be adored.
mtnbikingchi k
First time hearing this and I have had a "bill Evans" channel for a long time! this is SWEET!
noelani65
Please play more Phineas. I heard his music in the late 50's and loved it. Many thanks.
Thanks to Pandora for bringing one of the jewels of jazz to the forefront. Stunning talent like that should be enjoyed by generations to come.
tbhampton
Many thanks Pandora! I only new little about P.N. before, and hearing his performances is amazing. His technique is off the hook. Would like a little more musicality in relationship to the finger fireworks. But still - very enjoyable.
THANKS PANDORA! PHENOM!
wow... this man is incredible!!
Same here!
Wow. This is beyond incredible. How had I never heard of Phineas Newborn Jr. before? Thanks Pandora!
simply amazing
wow he goes way back 1958. the sweet stuff
awesome!
I'm lovin' it!
Our kids are missing out on some amazing music and musicians. Schools should be required to have Jazz as part of their curriculum.
amazing talent
scott327
so beautiful, I didn't know...
one of the most gifted artists on this planet
this is my 1st or 2nd time hearing him and would like to hear more
prontyduke
Phineas was one of the best pure pianists. He could flat out play with both hands, the way one would like to be able to balance out their efforts on the instrument. Rembrandt-li k e , all you have to do is look at his work; with Phineas all you have to do is listen,and you know that you are in the presence of greatness.
jpcc88
Can you play a portion of The Newborn Touch 1964, Phineas Newborn Jr. Trio?

Hey Pandora, I wish the biography pages included birth (and death, where relevant) dates.

Thanks.
reform4
Highly underrated.

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