Saturday, January 12, 2008

A World of Piano

The ecstatic swing of the great pianist Phineas Newborn is fully in evidence here. The lp of which I write, A World of Piano, is in fact many worlds. From the beguiling and mercurial interpretation of Strayhorn's Lush Life to the enchanting depth of Cheryl, a blues by Charlie Parker, our ears are delighted and enlivened. The inspired accompaniment of Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones (side A) and Sam Jones and Louis Hayes (side B) creates the necessary affinities for Newborn to reveal the full powers of his intuitive response. The enormous and fecund insights Newborn reveals into these sets of jazz originals are joyous. Among the composers featured are Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, the aforementioned Charlie Parker and Billy Strayhorn, as well as Horace Silver, Dizzy Gillespie and a big beautiful surprise from Leroy Vinnegar, For Carl. Caru, from Roland Alexander closes out the lp. Recorded in 1961 for Lester Koenig's Contemporary record label, Phineas Newborn has offered us an album that defines the meaning of upliftment and inspiration through music. Much more than a jazz record, this is a monument to the beauty and humanity of the African throughout the Americas!

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