The Vinyl Vault features piano virtuoso Phineas Newborn, Jr. and his first album, “Here is Phineas.” Released in 1956 on Atlantic Records, the record immediately placed Newborn in the upper echelon of jazz pianists, alongside Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum and Bud Powell. His technical prowess was stunning and it was on full display on his first album.

Vinyl Vault is sponsored by Vinyl Me, Please

Oscar Pettiford played bass on the date and Kenny Clarke was the drummer. Calvin Newborn on guitar joined in on several tracks and a couple tunes are piano solos.

The critics of the day, the too-many-notes crowd, complained that his fast playing belied a lack of soul or emotional connection to the music. Of course, no one can really explain why fast playing equals no soul or emotion. It’s actually just an inability to understand what was happening or, more charitably, just a preference by these critics for something a little slower and easier for them to follow. Or perhaps it was an opinion based in jealousy where the critics knew that they would never be able to sit down at a piano and play anything remotely like Newborn.

Whatever the validity of the criticism, Newborn’s music survives and it will be on the air this Tuesday, July 20 at 8:30 pm on the Vinyl Vault. Check it out with Geoff Anderson and form your own opinions. Only on KUVO JAZZ the Oasis in the City!

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