Every so often I spend a little time squirreling around at Amazon and in the iTunes Store looking to see what has been added to their catalogs. Since these digital music services aren't set up like old-fashioned record stores, it's impossible to know what has recently arrived unless you stumble upon a new release in an artist's e-bin. But over the last few weeks, I had a chance to cruise the stores, and I came across five "hidden" downloads that you may not know about. They're all great albums:
1. Tony Fruscella: I'll Be Seeing You. This 1955 album for Atlantic was Tony Fruscella's only release as a leader. The little-known trumpeter was an East Coast sideman with a dry, ripe tone, similar to Chet Baker's, but loaded with many more bebop knots and marbles. Drug and alcohol abuse sidelined Fruscella in the 1960s, and he died in 1969 of liver cirrhosis. For some reason the album is called Tony Fruscella. As you'll hear, Fruscella cooks all the way through, with Allen Eager on tenor sax. You'll find it here.
2. Count Basie: The Jubilee Alternatives. The Jubilee broadcasts were produced in Hollywood during World War II by the Armed Forces Radio Service and featured entertainment exclusively for the military. None of the broadcasts were heard over regular radio networks. The recorded programs were transcribed onto on 16-inch vinylite discs and distributed to various military radio stations worldwide. These Jubilee recordings by Count Basie were made in 1943-44 during the American Federation of Musicians' recording ban. So they provide us with a glimpse of the band at a time when no recording was permitted. Dig the explosive My What a Fry! and the swinging Beaver Junction. You'll find it here.
3. Maria Creuza: Voce Abusou. One of my favorite Brazilian singers is Maria Creuza, who popularized a moody ballad style in the 1970s that was saturated with passion. The Portuguese album title means "You Took Me for Granted," and the download features the singer often backed by strings and electric piano. This album is a reissue of an LP recorded originally in 1971 and 1972 in Buenos Aires. It remains a Creuza classic. I only wish RCA would re-issue her Sessao Nostalgia from 1974. You'll find Voce Abusou here.
4. Milt Jackson: Live at the Museum of Modern Art.
Recorded live in 1965, the album for Limelight featured
on flute, Jackson on vibes, Cedar Walton on piano, Ron Carter on bass Otis
"Candy" Finch on drums. Reader Mike Milner reminded me of the recording some
months back. Moody and Jackson together with the trio were absolutely perfect
together. Dig the fascinating Novamo, a bossa nova original that leans heavily on Thelonious Monk's Bemsha Swing. You'll find it here.
5. Harry Edison: Mr. Swing. This beaut of a session was recorded in 1958 and originally released by Verve as Mr.
Swing and then as The Swinger. The all-star group included "Sweets" Edison on trumpet, Jimmy
Forrest on tenor sax, Jimmy Jones on piano, Freddie Green on guitar, Joe Benjamin on bass and Charlie
Persip on drums. This was Sweets' first New York recording in years following
a long period on the West Coast in studio bands behind Frank
Sinatra and other singers and as a sideman and leader on jazz dates. Dig Forrest on The Stroller. You'll find it here.