Phineas Newborn, Jr.: Lush Life
Phineas Newborn, Jr. (piano)
A World of Piano (Contemporary 9031 74637–2)
Composed by Billy Strayhorn.
Recorded: Los Angeles, October 16, 1961
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
A lengthy quote from the second movement of Ravel's deeply impressionistic "Sonatine" ushers in a somewhat Tatum-esque rendering of the Strayhorn classic. Newborn has the technical ability to do it: speed, touch, and ideas at such speed too. But here he spares his gifts and focuses on depth and feeling. He stays close to a melody that has so much beauty it can keep the rangiest improvisers within its borders. So Newborn never strays far and mainly varies the pace from chorus to chorus, embellishing with limitless inspiration. Obviously a wise choice, given the fine result.
Reviewer: Thierry QuÃ©num