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Biography

Phineas Newborn, Jr. (born December 14, 1931 in Whiteville, Tennessee-died May 26, 1989 in Memphis, Tennessee) was an American jazz pianist, whose principal influences were Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Bud Powell.

Newborn first played in an R&B band led by his father (Phineas Newborn, Sr.). He moved on to work with Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus, and others. His earliest recordings were with blues harmonica player Big Walter Horton.

In 1956 he began to perform in New York City, recording his first album as a leader that same year. He moved to Los Angeles around 1960 and recorded a sequence of piano trio albums for the Contemporary label. He faded from view from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s due to chronic physical & mental problems.

He made a partial comeback in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This return apparently failed to benefit his financial situation, as he is said to have been buried in a pauper's grave. Despite his setbacks, many of his records, such as The Great Jazz Piano of Phineas Newborn Jr., remain highly regarded. Leonard Feather once said of him, "In his prime, he was one of the three greatest jazz pianists of all time."

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