This album, recorded in 1958, has been underrated by many including, I fear, a previous Amazon review and the Allmusic review (Allmusic gave it only three stars). Yes, Phineas is simply fabulous here, as he was on many of his recordings and, as noted in the previous Amazon review, the piano solo "Cherokee" is stunning - - one of the best solos Jr. recorded. What sets this disc apart are the musicians Phineas plays with. Calvin Newborn and George Joyner, along with Jr., form a core group of musicians that came up from Memphis to the east coast a few years earlier. Denzil Best, George Shearing's drummer, was added for the date. The result is probably the funkiest set Jr. ever recorded - - as noted in the previous Amazon review, the set is "jazz in the Memphis tradition", and that's what makes this set different from some other Newborn recordings. Calvin Newborn, Jr's brother, really comes out on this recording whereas in previous recordings with his brother he was mainly comping. George Joyner was coming into his own and, on this recording, fit with Jr. and Calvin like a glove. The real surprise is Denzil Best. I can put it no better than Nat Hentoff's liner notes when he writes, "Denzil can be a paragon of subtle, consistent taste, flowing pulsation, and an exact brush work that complements whatever's happening". All you drummers out there, listen up for some first rate brush work! Phineas, of course, is on fire, playing with a group of musicians who were (and in one case was) like brothers. All in all, this CD deserves five stars because it is unique in the Newborn recorded discography. Only "Phineas' Rainbow" comes close purely in terms of group funk.
By the way, this recording is also available on the Contemporary label, along with music from Harold Arlen's musical "Jamaica". I haven't seen it but it looks to be a great value. I've seen some online track listings that are missing a couple of selections from both "Fabulous Phineas" and "Jamaica" so make sure all the tracks from both recordings are there.