For all his amazing technical abilities, Phineas is tragically obscure, even within the jazz circle. The jazz books I've read make no mention of Phineas Newborn, Jr, and that is a real shame. Because he is a truly remarkable player, on par and maybe even above Oscar Peterson. And this album showcases Phineas extremely well. I have owned this album for a little more than a year now, and I still play it very often. It is one of my favorite jazz albums that I own.
Every performance on this CD is incredible. Tracks like "Cheryl" and "Oleo" show that Phineas can dazzle you at fast tempos, while performances like "Lush Life" and "For Carl" show that Phineas can play very beautifully. "Lush Life" is one of my favorite tracks on this CD. And for medium swinging gospel-flavored performances, look to his sassy rendition of "Juicy Lucy" (originally by Horace Silver). He also delves into Latin jazz with Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca", which is difficult to make interesting on a piano, but Phineas conquers it. There is a wide variety of styles and tempos to be found here, and Phineas shows that he can master them all.
This is an album that will stick with you. I found it very accessible, very swinging, and very impressive. It is diverse without losing the flow an album must have. I was not sure what to expect when I bought this album. But I'll tell you what to expend: greatness. If you're even just getting interested in jazz, I think this album is essential to any jazz fans collection.